Top Democrats from New Jersey have started to press Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to resign after he was indicted on Friday on corruption charges stemming from alleged bribes that he took in exchange for taking actions as an elected official.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) said that the allegations in the indictment were “deeply disturbing” because they “implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system.”
“The alleged facts are so serious that they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state,” he said. “Therefore, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
Menendez stepped down from his powerful role as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because he was required to do so, according to Senate Democrat bylaws, which state that “any member who serves in a leadership position in the Conference who is charged with a felony shall cease to exercise the powers and duties of his or her leadership position.”
Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) also called for Menendez to resign, saying that the allegations were “serious and alarming.”
“It doesn’t matter what your job title is or your politics – no one in America is above the law,” he said. “The people of New Jersey absolutely need to know the truth of what happened, and I hope the judicial system works thoroughly and quickly to bring this truth to light. In the meantime, I don’t have confidence that the Senator has the ability to properly focus on our state and its people while addressing such a significant legal matter. He should step down.”
Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) both also called for Menendez to resign from his senate seat.
Wow, senior NJ Dems Pallone and Pascrell calling on Menendez to resign: pic.twitter.com/2nvTjW2uSt
— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) September 22, 2023
Former Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) also called on Menendez to resign, writing: “As a moral matter, how can we ask Americans to vote against an indicted Trump, but for an indicted Democratic Senator, especially with evidence this damning?”
“I believe Senator Menendez should resign,” he said. “When I was in Congress, I got several tough-on-Egypt provisions into House-passed defense bills, which were then stripped in the Senate. I still don’t know why. But the idea that the chairman of the SFRC may then have been in a corrupt relationship with Egypt is horrifying.”
When I was in Congress, I got several tough-on-Egypt provisions into House-passed defense bills, which were then stripped in the Senate.
I still don't know why. But the idea that the chairman of the SFRC may then have been in a corrupt relationship with Egypt is horrifying.
— Tom Malinowski (@Malinowski) September 22, 2023
The indictment says that Menendez and his wife had a corrupt relationship with New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, who allegedly gave the senator bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the DOJ, the bribes were intended to protect the businessmen and to benefit Egypt.
Menendez faces charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.
“Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” the indictment said. Federal authorities reportedly found gold bars and cash stuffed throughout the senator’s home that they traced back to the businessmen Menendez allegedly worked with.
“Over $480,000 in cash — much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe — was discovered in the home,” the indictment said. Photos included in the indictment included pictures of gold bars and hundred dollars bills that had been stuffed in clothing.