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Scope of Sen. Menendez probe widens

- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2013

The investigation into New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and his ties to political donor Salomon Melgen ratcheted Friday, as media reports dissected financial transactions between the two that could be seen as crossing congressional ethics lines.

Roll Call cites a New York Times report for raising details of a 10-year financial relationship between the congressman and the Florida eye doctor that raises brows: Mr. Melgen reportedly bought a controlling stake in a port security company in the Caribbean two years ago. During that time frame, Roll Call cites, Mr. Menendez pushed the U.S. into taking a contract with the company worth $500 million.

In an email, Daniel Stein — a former federal prosecutor who led the Public Corruption Unit as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York — said the investigation will now narrow on those ties.

"News reports suggest that the authorities have identified evidence of benefits flowing to the senator," Mr. Stein said, in his email. "The challenge for investigators now will be to show whether any of those benefits were provided in exchange for an official act."

Federal authorities raided Mr. Melgen's medical offices in Florida earlier this week, various media reported.

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