Democrat Senator Menendez Indicted On Bribery, Fraud Charges

Justice Department Indicts Sen. Robert Menendez On Corruption Charges – Wall Street Journal

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The Justice Department indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) on corruption charges Wednesday, bringing the first criminal charges against a sitting U.S. senator since the botched prosecution of Alaska’s Ted Stevens seven years ago.

Mr. Menendez, 61 years old, has said he plans to fight any charges, which are the culmination of a two-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the relationship between the senator and Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.

A federal grand jury in Newark handed down a five count indictment, charging Mr. Menendez with crimes including conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services fraud.

Dr. Melgen is already under investigation for possibly overbilling Medicare. The FBI has also probed whether Mr. Menendez used his position to try to help Dr. Melgen with his legal troubles and whether the senator sought to improperly aid Dr. Melgen’s business interests in a Dominican Republic port security company. Dr. Melgen’s lawyer has previously said the doctor acted appropriately at all times.

The probe began with an anonymous accusation about Mr. Menendez’s personal conduct while traveling with Dr. Melgen in the Dominican Republic in 2013. Investigators could never substantiate those claims, but the probe evolved into a far-reaching examination of the relationship between Dr. Melgen and the senator – a long friendship that included gifts, hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations, and travel together, according to people familiar with the case.

Shortly after the FBI investigation began, Mr. Menendez repaid Dr. Melgen $58,500 for two private flights to the Dominican Republic that the senator hadn’t listed on financial disclosure forms, Menendez aides have said. Aides called the initial failure to list the flights an oversight.

As news of potentially pending charges spread in recent weeks, Mr. Menendez has acknowledged receiving gifts from the doctor but said they were the result of a close friendship, not corruption, and pledged he wouldn’t back down. Mr. Menendez has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees over the last year, according to public filings.

A prolonged legal battle between the senator and the Justice Department could have broader political and foreign-policy repercussions at a time when Senate Democrats need every vote they can get to confirm Obama administration nominees and muster support for the White House’s foreign-policy moves.

The case is already testing the limits of the Justice Department’s ability to investigate members of Congress. Much lawmaker activity is protected by a constitutional provision that makes them immune from prosecution and civil suits when they are involved in “legislative activity.”

Lawyers in the case have already been sparring on the issue. Prosecutors sought to compel two Menendez staffers who claimed such privilege to testify before a grand jury about actions allegedly taken on behalf of Dr. Melgen, according to a sealed appellate court document that was briefly posted on a public website last month.

Prosecutors’ last attempt to charge a sitting senator – Mr. Stevens – went badly awry, casting a dark cloud over the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, which is also pursuing charges against Mr. Menendez. The Justice Department won a 2008 conviction against Mr. Stevens on charges he made false statements on government paperwork, allowing him to conceal tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts, including free home renovations. Just a week after that verdict, Mr. Stevens narrowly lost his re-election bid.

The next year prosecutors reversed course and asked for a judge to vacate the conviction, based on an internal review which found key information had been withheld from the defense. Mr. Stevens died a year later in a plane crash.

Since then, the Public Integrity Section has been overhauled and brought a number of high-profile cases. It oversaw the successful prosecution of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife on corruption charges. Last year, Rep. Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.), pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion and said he would resign. Still, the constitutional protections for Congress weren’t at play in those cases.

The charges come at the same time as Mr. Menendez, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is playing a key role in some major foreign-policy issues. He has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s overtures to Iran and Cuba and has urged it to get more aggressive in combating Russia’s moves in Ukraine.

Senate Democrats have no hard-and-fast rules requiring a lawmaker to step down from committee assignments or leadership positions when facing legal troubles.

If he declines to step down, Democrats would have to decide whether to force his ouster, Senate aides said. Democratic aides said such a decision would be unlikely to occur until members return to Washington from recess in two weeks, though any public statements from rank-and-file lawmakers could be a harbinger of how the caucus might vote.

Charges against Mr. Menendez would also put Senate Democrats and the White House in an awkward position on the nomination of Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder. Ms. Lynch is facing a tight vote to win confirmation and, should Mr. Menendez choose not to vote to confirm the woman who could oversee his prosecution, the White House would have to find another Republican to back Ms. Lynch or she risks being denied confirmation.

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*VIDEO* Pajamas Media: Trifecta – Scott Ott Leaves PJTV For Job With MSNBC


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*AUDIO* Mark Levin Explains Religious Freedom Laws


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Arkansas Legislature Passes Religious Freedom Bill Similar To Indiana’s, Waits For Leftists’ Heads To Explode

Arkansas Joins Indiana With Religious Freedom Bill – Truth Revolt

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On Tuesday, Arkansas legislators, ignoring the deafening cry from LGBT supporters against Indiana’s religious freedom law, finished approving their own version of a similar bill. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has already indicated that he would sign the bill once it was sent to him, and with the 67-21 vote approving the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the Arkansas House, Hutchinson will get his chance. The Arkansas Senate already has approved the bill.

Hutchinson told KARK that the bill represents an effort to balance religious freedom and equal protection of the law, saying bluntly, “This bill tries to do that, and it’s not that complicated.”

The hue and cry over the religious freedom bill in Indiana prompted the governors of New York, Connecticut and Washington to curtail some government travel to Indiana. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy blustered, “They knew what they were doing. They were going to make it legal to refuse to serve gay men and women. Somebody has to call them on it.” Resorting to typical Democrat name calling, he said of Indiana Governor Mike Pence on MSNBC, “When you see a bigot, you have to call him on it.”

The Arkansas bill states: “The Arkansas Constitution recognizes the free exercise of religion; Laws neutral toward religion have the same potential to burden religious exercise as laws purposely intended to interfere with religious exercise; Governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification.”

The bill justified its necessity, asserting:

In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), the United States Supreme Court held that the protections of religious exercise afforded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, only applied to religious exercise burdened by federal law or agencies and provided no protection from burdens on religious exercise from state or local law or governments; to provide the same level of protection from burdens on religious exercise from state or local governments, a state must enact an equivalent to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, that was passed by Congress.

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Leave it to Melissa Harris-Perry………..

To say something this stupid

Harris-Perry then paused and asked, “Is is possible that our lack of national, common sense gun control laws leads to a situation where it is more dangerous to be a police officer and so police officers begin acting in ways that they expect everyone to be armed?”

In other words, instead of adopting the gun control measures pushed and rejected on the federal level in 2013, we are now seeing a push to repeal gun control and expand concealed carry and could it be that these things make police feel that their lives are in danger?

Good grief, that is painful. If there was any truth to her assertion, we would be reading stories about confrontations between law enforcement and CHL holders. Most police support CHL holders rights. Harris Perry misses the obvious

What Harris-Perry failed to note is that Chicago and New York City–two of the prime focuses of the DOJ report–are not cities with a high rate of concealed carry permits. Moreover, New York City is in a state where the SAFE Act mandates the very gun control measures rejected on the federal level in 2013. But gun control does not impact criminals and criminals are the ones who endanger the lives of police officers.

Police are not getting into shootouts with the father who takes his son out to dinner on the way to a Boy Scout meeting, nor are they in a shootout with the mom who keeps a Glock 42 in her purse to protect her daughter en route to dance class. Rather, they are getting into shootouts with criminals and suspected criminals who do not even read, much less follow, the gun control laws of a given state.

Sad isn’t it?Harris-Perry is so married to the narrative that she cannot see the obvious. Police have a dangerous job, and it is not the law-abiding they shoot, it is criminals, violent criminals who leave the police no choice. These criminals laugh at gun control, and likely at fools like Harris-Perry who bend over backwards to excuse their behavior.

Your Self-Defense Story of the Day

Wrong store, wrong weapon

The owner of Discount Tobacco & Beer in La Vergne, TN had closed up his store as usual Monday night.  While taking the trash out around 10:35pm, he says a man came from behind the store and asked if they were still open.

When he said the store was closed, the man immediately pulled a box cutter and cut the owner’s neck. The store owner, who has a concealed carry permit, drew his gun and shot the attacker and would-be robber.

The suspect ran from the scene and was found dead a short distance away by a K9 Unit, said Kathy Tyson, a La Vergne Police Department Spokesperson. The suspect’s name is not being released pending notification of his family and the store owner was treated on the scene.

This man’s ability to defend himself would have been severely limited if the Cult of Gun Control ever had their say. Disarming this store owner would have served no purpose but to benefit the armed thug that targeted him