Politics

Menendez meets with Afghan leader, discusses government corruption

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David Martosko
Executive Editor

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez met with Agfhan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday, in a discussion that Karzai’s office said included talks about a “fight against corruption.”

Karzai’s website includes a summary of the meeting, headlined, “Fight against Corruption Requires Earnest and Sincere Cooperation of the International Community, Particularly of the United States.”

“President Karzai said that Afghanistan needs earnest and sincere cooperation of the international community, particularly of the United States in its fight against corruption,” according to the summary.

“The President called awarding of contracts to relatives and affiliates of Afghan senior officials, a major source of corruption, underscoring that the United States should avoid it.”

Menendez himself faces multiple investigations into his behavior, both inside and outside his Senate office.

The Senate Ethics Committee is examining Menendez’s admitted intervention with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on behalf of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida resident who donated heavily to his campaigns.

The committee is also looking into why Menendez took three years to reimburse Melgen for two trips the pair took in 2010 to the Dominican Republic on Melgen’s private jet.

Menendez wrote Melgen a $58,500 check in January 2013 for those trips, after what his office said was a lengthy oversight. (RELATED: Court documents show Menendez donor leased oceanfront condo for alleged prostitute)

Spokeswoman Tricia Enright did not immediately respond Tuesday to a question from The Daily Caller about whether Menendez’s check to Melgen has been cashed or deposited.

The FBI is running a parallel investigation of Menendez over allegations, first reported in November by TheDC, that he had sex with prostitutes while visiting the Dominican Republic.

Later allegations in January, also first reported by TheDC, include testimonials from two women who said they were 16 years old when their sexual contact with the senator began in the Caribbean island nation.

Menendez has denied the prostitution-related allegations. (RELATED: Anonymous prostitute’s shocking handwritten account recalls sex with Bob Menendez “when I was 16 years old”)

Enright did not immediately respond to a question about whether it’s appropriate for Menendez to discuss government corruption with a foreign leader while he’s under a cloud of suspicion himself.

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