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Wiley Rein’s Walker Discusses Sen. Menendez Probe

The Philadelphia Inquirer
February 5, 2013

Robert L. Walker, an attorney in Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, commented in a February 3, 2013 Philadelphia Inquirer article about the fallout from a brewing scandal involving the newly-elected chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is facing scrutiny after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided the home and office of one his close friends and donors. Menendez has admitted he did not report two flights he took in 2010 on South Florida eye surgeon Salomon Melgen’s private plane and that he only recently reimbursed the doctor $58,500 for the flights.  The FBI is currently investigating other potential improprieties between Menendez and Melgen.

Mr. Walker, former chief counsel and staff director for the Senate and House ethics committees, said Menendez’s failure to report the trip to the Dominican Republican  could be “a blip” if the senator simply forgot to file the paperwork. But if Menendez purposefully hid the flights, Walker said it could lead to felony charges. 

“If the facts show that there was some reason for Sen. Menendez to not want anyone to know about this trip, this is a much more serious story,” Mr. Walker said.