Politics

              FILE In this Oct. 6, 2011 file photo, Senate Banking Committee member, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. listens to testimony by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Menendez employed as an unpaid intern in his Senate office an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender who has now been arrested by immigration authorities, The Associated Press has learned. The Homeland Security Department instructed federal agents to wait weeks and not to arrest him until after Election Day, a U.S. official involved in the case told the AP. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
              FILE In this Oct. 6, 2011 file photo, Senate Banking Committee member, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. listens to testimony by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Menendez employed as an unpaid intern in his Senate office an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender who has now been arrested by immigration authorities, The Associated Press has learned. The Homeland Security Department instructed federal agents to wait weeks and not to arrest him until after Election Day, a U.S. official involved in the case told the AP. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)   

Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes

Photo of David Martosko
David Martosko
Executive Editor

That scandal broke within days of when a person using the name “Peter Williams” first contacted CREW about Sen. Menendez. He was an American citizen, he said, with both direct and second-hand knowledge of what Menendez and Melgen were doing — and with whom.

Melgen has donated at least $14,700 directly to Menendez’s various political campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. The Washington Free Beacon reported on Nov. 1 that Melgen “has contributed at least $700,000 to Majority PAC, a Super PAC dedicated to Democrat candidates for Senate and founded by a former aide to Sen. Harry Reid.”

He also appears to have supplemented those donations by allowing Menendez to travel, free of charge, on his private jet during numerous trips between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

The online documents published Thursday on a makeshift WordPress blog include texts of emails, screen-capture images of emails displayed on a Yahoo! account, names of Menendez’s purported prostitutes, and three locations where his pay-for-play trysts are supposed to have taken place.

One, the luxurious Casa de Campo resort, is adjacent to a private airfield Melgen used at least eight times in 2012, according to flight records for his Canadair CL-600 Challenger aircraft that TheDC obtained through FlightAware by tracking the tail number of the aircraft. One of those trips occurred during Easter weekend, when the women interviewed for TheDC’s Nov. 1 story both said they were paid to have sex with Menendez.

Another location is described in the documents as a “private yacht docked at Casa de Campo’s Marina.” (RELATED: Dominican government official says Menendez a frequent guest at “sex, hookers and drinking” parties)

A spokeswoman for Sen. Menendez did not reply to emails and phone messages seeking comment about how many times has he visited the Dominican Republic since taking office; whether he has ever paid for the services of underage prostitutes; whether his use of Melgen’s private jet was related to his campaign or to his official Senate duties; whether his campaign reported travel perks and other in-kind gifts from Melgen in Federal Election Commission reports; whether he is aware of an FBI investigation into his activities; and whether the Senate Ethics committee has contacted him about his trips to the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican source of the documents that are the subject of this article emailed them to TheDC from an Internet address in Mexico. It is unclear whether this is the same person who first tipped off CREW’s Levine about Sen. Menendez, and appears to have communicated later with Schwartz at ABC News, and with the FBI.

The tipster attempted to lodge a complaint with the Senate Ethics committee in the same April 9, 2012 email he sent Levine, but he misspelled the name of the committee’s deputy staff director, Annette Gillis, in her email address. The email did reach Levine, but there is no evidence the committee was informed. Committee staff director John Sassman would not speak on the record when TheDC reached him Thursday evening.

Multiple FBI sources also declined to confirm on the record that Sen. Menendez is under investigation, including Miami-based Special Agents Regino Chavez and Michael Leverock.

“The FBI has no comment … I have nothing further to add,” said Leverock, who coordinates media for the FBI’s Miami Field Office.

Chavez is the agent who appears to have communicated repeatedly with the “Peter Williams” source, whose emails form the bulk of the dossier that went online Thursday.

Another FBI source, speaking on background, would not deny the report — telling TheDC only that the FBI typically would not publicly confirm an investigation that focused on a sitting U.S. senator.