The indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on 14 corruption counts makes for fascinating reading. Overall, the DOJ alleges that Menendez accepted expensive gifts from the wealthy Dr. Salomon Melgen in exchange for intervening on behalf of the doctor's business interests with government officials.
But more specifically, DOJ alleges that Melgen asked Menendez for help securing visas for three girlfriends (all of whom were models), that Melgen used credit card points to book an expensive Paris hotel for Menendez, and that Melgen twice gave huge donations to super PACs that were earmarked for New Jersey's Senate race shortly before Menendez tried to help his business.
Menendez has maintained his innocence, but here are the most eye-catching accusations from the indictment:
1) Melgen's gifts to Menendez included flights, vacations in the Caribbean and Paris, and expensive meals — none of which Menendez disclosed, prosecutors say.
2) Between 2007 and 2008, Menendez allegedly helped secure student or tourist visas for three different foreign girlfriends of Melgen — all of whom were models.
3) Menendez allegedly asked Melgen to book a Paris hotel for him with credit card points, for a value of $4,934.10.
4) Menendez played hardball to try help Melgen's business in a meeting with a State Department official, including threatening to make the official testify at a hearing on it. (The official concluded it was a "bluff")
5) Menendez allegedly tried to stop US Customs from donating security equipment to the Dominican Republic, because it would threaten Melgen's bottom line.
6) Menendez met with then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over a billing dispute Melgen was having with Medicare. Sebelius wasn't buying what he was selling, and the meeting was later described as "lively."
7) Twice, Melgen gave big checks to super PACs earmarked to help Menendez's campaign, shortly before Menendez intervened to try to help his business.