Politics
Sen. Robert Menendez talks with reporters outside the Senate Chamber after voting for the cloture vote on the Tax Compromise bill in the U.S. Capitol December 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) Sen. Robert Menendez talks with reporters outside the Senate Chamber after voting for the cloture vote on the Tax Compromise bill in the U.S. Capitol December 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)  

Report: Menendez took unreported 2008 Dominican Republic trip on donor’s jet

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David Martosko
Executive Editor

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez took an unreported trip to the Dominican Republic on a plane belonging to Dr. Salomon Melgen in 2008, sources told Fox News on Tuesday, raising new concerns about whether the senator has offered a complete accounting of his travel with the wealthy donor.

Menendez has acknowledged taking three Dominican getaways on Melgen’s private jet, all in 2010. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee paid Melgen for one of those trips. Menendez reimbursed him $58,500 for the other two out of his personal funds in January 2013, more than two years after the trips.

“Senator Menendez has traveled on Dr. Melgen’s plane on three occasions, all of which have been paid for and reported appropriately,” the senator’s spokesman said in late January.

That statement may be technically true, since Melgen owned a different aircraft before he bought his current Challenger 600 plane in 2009. Menendez has not acknowledged traveling on any other planes belonging to Melgen. (RELATED: Court documents show Menendez donor leased oceanfront condo for alleged prostitute)

The 2008 trip, Fox’s sources said, allegedly involved the invitation-only Sugar Open charity golf tournament at Casa de Campo, a luxurious Dominican resort where Melgen has a home.

Menendez has stayed there on numerous occasions, including at least one other trip that he has not acknowledged publicly.

The Daily Caller reported on Monday that Menendez gave a media interview with a Dominican newspaper in August 2006 while staying at Melgen’s Casa de Campo house. (RELATED: Menendez visited donor’s Dominican resort home in 2006)

It’s unclear whether Menendez enjoyed the use of Melgen’s aircraft for that trip, or if he flew on a commercial airline.

But the Fox News report quotes a source who said it was “ridiculous” to suggest Menendez’s only trips on Melgen’s private jet were the three 2010 getaways that hvae been paid for.

“That’s ridiculous, I heard him say that he only flew with him three times — I saw him — I absolutely guarantee the senator flew to the tournament in 2008 on the doctor’s plane,” the source said.

Sugar baron Alfy Fanjul reportedly hosted a lavish party for 500 guests after the golf tournament, where vintage Dom Perignon was served from the afternoon until 1 a.m.

But Fox News’ source said neither Menendez nor Melgen attended the bash.

“They had their own party back at the doctor’s house and I guess that party was better,” the source said.

A Dominican government official told The Daily Caller in November that the two have hosted a series of alcohol-fueled sex parties at Melgen’s home there. Whistle-blower reports that surfaced in January suggest that those parties involved at least two underage prostitutes. (RELATED: Anonymous prostitute’s handwritten account recalls sex with Menendez “when I was 16 years old”)

Menendez has flatly denied engaging in any sexual behavior with call girls.

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