Drew Sheneman From Downtown on Bob Menendez Accusations

There are a lot of allegations swirling around Bob Menendez these days regarding a donor, airplane rides and prostitutes. The only problem is that the person who made the accusations appears to be as real as Manti Teo’s girlfriend, and the evidence of any wrongdoing other than late reporting of plane rides is … absent like a 404.

The problem is that the recent FBI raid of the donor’s offices — which no one but the fibbies knows the intent of — made this a story and a few semi-reputable outlets covered it, then reputable outlets covered it, then the semi-reputable outlets use the reputable outlets as proof it’s a real story!

That’s how Donald Rumsfeld and Judith Miller got us into war in Iraq.  Which was based on falsehoods in an echo chamber.

Drew Sheneman hits it right on with this cartoon from the Star Ledger, noting that it’s hard for Menendez to defend himself when there is no accuser or, really, a significant accusation.

This has become a staple of the right wing media as typified by The Daily Caller that “broke” this story months ago.  Throw mud at the wall, find something to connect it with, echo it on other right wing sites, and once it’s picked up in the real media go to town as if you hadn’t created the scandal out of whole cloth.

And the establishment media falls for it every time.

Comments (13)

  1. 12mileseastofTrenton

    were publicized.  That’s not in dispute.

    This is not the first time he’s engaged in ethically questionable conduct.  To me, he’s another Bob Torricelli, and we shouldn’t minimize that just because the underage prostitute allegation may be false.

  2. ken bank

    By his own admission he didn’t pay the $58,000 for the trips until more than two years later and then only after Middlesex GOP Chair Sam Thompson filed a complaint, which makes it even more embarrasing. That’s no allegation, that’s a fact.

    Now the New York Times (hardly a rightwing trash site) is reporting “Playboy Bob” pressured US officials to put the squeeze on the Dominican government to honor a $500 million contract they had with a company owned by his campaign donor and alleged “procurer”. Menendez admits the story is true but calls it “constituent advocacy”. So with regard to the most serious allegations Menendez has already confessed. Now it just remains to be seen what kind of reprimand he gets from the Ethics Committee.

    As to the sex, I assume he’s guilty and have no problem with it since prostitution is legal, he’s not married, and he and his friend are as much entitled to the pleasures of female companionship as anyone else. Even if they were underage it worldn’t surprise or shock me since there are probably lots of underage prostitutes who work in the Dominacan Republic with forged licenses and birth certificates. It’s not that hard to get a false birth certificate in the DR, ask any Little League coach with Dominican kids on his team.

  3. mmgth

    The front page headline in the Sunday’s Phila. Inquirer is “Can Menendez weather storm or is there more?”.Their article continues on page 16 more or less saying the story being spread on right wing media is unsubstantiated…maybe. This is exactly the point the diarist is making.  

  4. mmgth

    I still say let this story play out before the pile on.

  5. vmars (Post author)

    an ethical violation,not a major legal one.  He’d get a slap on the wrist, and it’s certainly no worth a resignation.

    A legislator pushing for things to support a donor is not unusual, and could likely nail every member of Congress.

    And your calling him Playboy Bob and assuming the prostitution is true shows a pretty significant bias.

  6. ken bank

    Remember the Keating 5, four Democrats and John McCain? Similar allegations were raised at that time involving constituent advocacy in exchange for donations. The end result was a formal reprimand for Alan Cranston and a slap on the wrist to the others.

    I’m not suggesting Menendez be reprimanded, but he has already confessed to advocating on behalf of his friend and we also know that he received generous campaign donations, as well as gifts from that same person which were not reported or reimbursed for more than two years and only after they became known to the public.

    I agree there is still more to investigate and there is no question the Senate Ethics Committee has its work cut out for them. What needs to be determined is if there is any quid pro quo between the donations and gifts (does that include the girls?), and Menendez advocating for his pal. Depending on the strength of that connection will determine what form of sanction, if any, the Ethics Committee will impose.

    The bottom line is this story, editorial cartoons aside, is not going away and will likely drag on for many months and be a constant distraction to New Jersey Democrats who otherwise should be focusing their attention and energies on electing Barbara Buono our next Governor.

  7. ken bank

    I have nothing against “Playboy Bob”, just a little TIC humor. Like I said, I don’t have a problem if he did indulge in some local entertainment while he was there on vacation, he’s single and not attached to anybody so what’s the big deal even if it is true? However, it does present fodder for late night comedians and shows like SNL which, btw, did a funny sketch last week poking fun at Joe Biden called “Biden Bash”. I’d be surprised if they don’t come up with something on their week-end update sketch, or even a separate sketch, whether they call it “Playboy Bob” or something else.

    BTW, does anybody recall a sketch SNL did 25 years ago with Jon Lovitz doing a sketch poking fun at Michael Dukakis called “Dukakis After Dark”, a parody of the popular late Saturday night 60’s show featuring Playbor owner Hugh Hefner entertaining guests at his Chicago Penthouse. Somehow, everytime I read something about Bob Menendez, I can’t help thinking about that sketch.

    Even if Bob Menendez was my oldest, closest, dearest friend I still wouldn’t be able to resist cracking jokes about it. Of course, being a public figure it comes with the territory, and I’m sure he realizes it.

    The serious part, as far as I’m concerned, is the damage this does to Barbara Buono and the NJ Democratic Party. They need this distraction like Newark needs more gun dealers.  

  8. ken bank

    To be fair I should state that I do favor legal prostitution, which tends to make me biased in favor of Bob Menendez. I do wish these politicians, whether its Eliot Spitzer or all the others that have taken advantage and indulged themselves, would stop being hypocrites and stand up for working women. It always amazes me that progressives who favor civil liberties and personal freedom, who say we need freedom of choice when it comes to back alley abortions, but stick their heads in the sand when it comes to back alley prostitution where women are terrorized by their pimps and forced to work in the most horrendous conditions.

    It does bother me that working girls in the world’s oldest profession are treated better in the Dominican Republic than they are in this country. I assume in the DR, and other countries where prostitution is legal including Europe and Asia where prostitution is licensed, taxed and regulated, girls are medically checked on a regular basis and have affordable health care available to them.

    It would be nice if all those politicians who have taken advantage of the oldest profession would come forward and at least consider the possibility of legalization. If we can legalize drugs and alcohol and sodomy, why not prostitution?  

  9. mmgth

    Should I presume you’re being facetious?

  10. ken bank

    Why should I be facetious about legalizing prostitution? It’s already legal in parts of Nevada, many European countries, Asia as well as Latin America. It is licensed, taxed, and regulated, for the safety of the girls as well as patrons.

    The problem is the hypocrisy of politicians like Eliot Spitzer, Bob Menendez (allegedly), and I can assure you numerous others whose names can be found on the black book of practically every high class madame in Washington. You think Spitzer was the only high profile politician one availing himself of female companionship in exchange for cash (or credit card nowadays)? And he was a state AG who probably put girls in jail for doing the very thing he was paying them for.

    No I am not being facetious about legalizing prostitution. Menendez did nothing wrong,  morally or legally, as far as I am concerned if he did have sex with a prostitute in the DR, OK?  

  11. ken bank

    Forget about the prostitution, alright? It’s a nonissue except for gossip rags and teabaggers. Naturally the media will play it up, substantiated or unsubstantiated, just like they did the ARod allegations which have yet to be proven.

    My only point is Menendez has already admitted his mistakes as far as not reporting the $58,000, and it remains for the Ethics Committee to decide what his punishment should be if any. It is the media’s job to report this information (yes, it is substantiated and Menendez has admitted to it) whether you like it or not. And it is fortunate Menendez reimbursed the $58,000 or there would have been tax consequences as well, which I’m surprised the media and Teapublicans haven’t played up more than they have.

    My guess is that as long as nothing else comes out Menendez will survive ala Charlie Rangel with nothing more than a mild repremand. At least let’s hope so.

  12. 12mileseastofTrenton

    Elected officials get a lot of leeway with that, but there is a line.  Nor is this the first time Menendez has been involved with this.

    I agree he’ll probably end up with just a reprimand.  Unless something more comes out.

  13. mmgth

    Hypocrisy of politicans? Tell me something I don’t already know.

    Politicans taking free trips on a plane and having to pay the cost of the fare if caught? Tell me something I don’t already know.

    (I’m paraphrasing the head of Monmouth U. polling institute’s  characterizing likely reaction of most N.J. respondents to being polled.

    As prostitution is a degrading violation of human rights and also exploits a women often victimized in childhood of sexual abuse, legalizing it is out of the question.


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