Put on your shocked faces: Since my bipartisan call last week for Democratic women to join the Ladies Against Senator Sleaze-Bob movement, not a single Democratic woman in Washington has signed up. Here’s the thing. The brewing scandal involving N.J. Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is not just a “sex scandal.” It’s a crony corruption scandal of sordid, soap operatic proportions.
Maybe if Menendez were a contestant on “The Bachelor,” he’d finally command more widespread female attention. For their part, the Democratic women on Capitol Hill seem as uninterested in the alleged exploitation of underage prostitutes as they are in cozy donor deals, tax evasion and Medicare fraud.
Shady Menendez campaign contributor and BFF Salomon Melgen is the high-flying eye doctor at the center of the senior senator’s ills. Melgen is owner of the Casa de Campo resort home where he and Menendez reportedly engaged in sexual romps with a bevy of Dominican escorts, including at least one minor girl. In his latest statement on the matter Monday, Menendez repeated his blanket denials of any wrongdoing, recycled his attack on conservative media reporting the story and labeled accounts of the alleged island sex parties “smears.”
While his lips keep denying, his actions smack of lying. Last week, he sheepishly disclosed that he had just reimbursed Melgen in January of this year for nearly $60,000 in expenses tied to two of three private jet trips to the Dominican Republic in 2010 — which he had never admitted taking before. Senate rules require prior approval of such private jet travel and luxury lodging. Senate rules also require financial disclosure of such gifts after approval.