Senator Bob Menendez, the Democrat from New Jersey, was indicted on bombshell bribery allegations, but Democrats aren’t ready to call for his resignation.
Menendez’s wife was also charged in the indictment which was made public over the weekend.
The charges include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. The indictment also states the couple took bribes including “cash, gold bars, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle and other items of value.”
In return, the senator allegedly used his influence to enrich three businessmen from his state and also worked to benefit the Egyptian government.
While executing a search warrant in the couple’s home in New Jersey, federal agents reportedly found almost $500,000 in cash, “much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe.”
Despite the goods, Menendez said prosecutors on the case have “misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office.”
He also criticized the few congressional Democrats who called for him to resign, saying they were “rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat.”
Democrat Senators Waffle on a Resignation
While Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania called for Menendez to resign, no others have risen to that level of criticism.
Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate and want to avoid losing members at all cost.
Three Democrats who appeared on Sunday talk shows lambasted Menendez’s alleged actions, but refused to call for his resignation.
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) called the indictment “devastating”.
“No senators should be trading on their position in order to enrich themselves. It is hard for me to believe that Sen. Menendez can be effective in his job given these allegations, but I think I want to get back and talk to my colleagues on the Foreign Relations Committee before I recommend a path forward for Sen. Menendez,” Murphy said on MSNBC’s “Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.”
Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that while the charges are “serious and shocking”, whether or not to resign is a choice Menendez would have to make for himself.
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said the same.
“In terms of resignation, that’s a decision to be made by Sen. Menendez and the people of New Jersey.”