The Menendez Machine In Action
According to the Jersey Journal article, Menendez claimed he was told by the Ellen Weintraub, Democratic Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the House, that the deal did not violate conflict-of-interest laws. However, the Jersey Journal article makes it very clear that the Menendez story could not be confirmed with the Ethics Committee or with Weintraub.
Folks actually reading the article will also learn the rental deal was viewed as suspicious back in 1996 and that Menendez claimed back then “he did not realize his building would be housing a federally funded agency until after the deal was done”. According to the article the original lease was for three years, yet as we now know Menendez continued renting his property to the agency for another six years.
Now, ten years later Menendez claims he received “verbal approval” for the rental deal from Mark Davis, a former Ethics Committee counsel, who as it was first pointed out, is deceased and later discovered to have left the House Ethics Committee before Menendez entered into his deal with the agency.
On September 9, 2006 Menendez said:
"But having said that, if I ever thought even with an ethical approval that this would become the distraction it has become in this campaign, I certainly would have thought about it twice and would not have ultimately pursued it," he said.Obviously, Menendez has been caught in another fib. The Jersey Journal article makes clearMenendez was well aware of a possible conflict of interest as far back as 1996 and yet he continued the deal beyond the original term of the lease until he sold his property in 2003.
As we predicted yesterday, Herb Jackson cites the Blue Jersey blog post today in an article for the Record. It’s fascinating to watch the political machine in action.