Politics

ABC, FBI, Menendez camp tight-lipped about senator’s brewing underage prostitution scandal

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David Martosko
Executive Editor

Enright also hasn’t responded to questions about whether Sen. Menendez denies he took trips to the Dominican Republic on a private aircraft belonging to Melgen, and failed to seek approval from the Senate Ethics committee before accepting gifts of free travel.

Similarly, ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider has met questions with radio silence.

TheDC asked Schneider Saturday morning if investigative producer Rhonda Schwartz ever suspected reports from her Dominican source weren’t genuine, if she was pressured by the network to drop the story, if she ever got confirmation from the FBI that an investigation was underway, and if she ever traveled to the Dominican Republic to investigate.

Schwartz, who was tipped off about Menendez in May 2012 but never produced a story on the scandal for ABC, has previously referred questions to Schneider. “I’m not going to say anything. I’m not confirming anything,” she told TheDC last week.

Her ABC colleague Martha Raddatz, guest hosting “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” conducted a six-minute interview with Menendez on Sunday morning. Raddatz asked him about immigration policy; about outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony related ot the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya; about former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s chances of being confirmed as secretary of defense; and about a likely 2014 U.S. Senate showdown in New Jersey between Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Newark Mayor Corey Booker.

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Similarly, on the Sunday following his Nov. 6  re-election, Menendez appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Host Candy Crowley failed to ask him about the prostitution scandal that had erupted just ten days earlier.

Instead, Crowley questioned Menendez about former CIA Director David Petraeus’ affair with journalist Paula Broadwell.

Menendez, who is expected to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee after Sen. John Kerry becomes Secretary of State, may feel his first international pressure on the job from London’s Daily Mail newspaper, which published its own account of the 59-year-old senator’s brewing scandal on Friday.

As with TheDC, Special Agent Chavez declined to comment to the British news outlet.

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