- (Photo: REUTERS/Gary Cameron)
Senator Bob Menendez has denied hiring underage prostitutes during trips made to the Dominican Republic which were funded by an eye doctor being investigated for Medicaid fraud.
New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez denied any wrongdoing on Wednesday, stating that he did not spend time with prostitutes during his trip abroad to the Dominican Republic. The FBI launched an investigation into the connection between Menendez and Dr. Salomon Melgen last year after a tipster suggested that Melgen had flown Menendez to the Caribbean country.
During the trip, the tipster claimed that both men had hired underage prostitutes, according to The Miami Herald. Earlier this month Menendez sent a $58,500 check to Melgen's office to refund him for the cost of the two flights the pair had made.
"Any allegations of engaging with prostitutes are manufactured by a politically motivated right-wing blog and are false," Menendez's office said in a statement Wednesday.
The FBI raided Melgen's office on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning during a separate investigation in which Melgen faces potential Medicaid fraud. Financial documents obtained from the search, however, may also be used to make a connection between Menendez, Melgen and the prostitution claims.
Menendez has admitted to taking one business related trip to the Dominican which was funded by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and two personal trips in 2010 for which he wrote a check in private earlier this year.
"The senator paid for the two trips out of his personal account and no reporting requirements apply," Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright told the Associated Press.
The tipster providing the details to the FBI has since become more elusive regarding the case, frustrating officials, according to The Herald.
In December, an unpaid intern who worked for Menendez was arrested. The man was discovered to be an illegal immigrant and a registered sex offender.