- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

An embattled Sen. Robert Menendez claimed his failure to reimburse taxpayers for $60,000 worth of flights to the Dominican Republic was simple oversight.

In a CNN interview, the New Jersey Democrat said he paid for the flights on board the private plane of his friend and campaign donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, “when it came to my attention” that he ought to, Roll Call reported.

“It unfortunately fell through the cracks,” Mr. Menendez said, in the Roll Call report. “I personally paid for them in order to meet my obligations. … When it came to may attention, I did what was right.”

The trips came to light after a New Jersey Republican complained to the Senate Ethics Committee, Roll Call reported. Mr. Menendez faces spotlight because Federal Bureau of Investigations agents raided Mr. Melgen’s Florida offices last week, and various media have questioned whether the senator used his congressional office to grant business favors to Mr. Melgen. Mr. Menendez is also fighting off allegations he engaged in sex with prostitutes during trips with Mr. Melgen — a charge his office has denounced as “smears,” Roll Call reports.