Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey — who was indicted last week for alleged bribery, fraud and extortion — signed onto a letter Monday warning of “corruption” in the political system.
Menendez pleaded not guilty Wednesday over charges related to allegedly receiving lavish gifts, such as cash, gold bars and a luxury vehicle, in return for political sway in the upper chamber. Despite numerous calls from Democrats to resign, and his decision to temporarily step down from chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez joined his colleagues in voicing concern over how dark money could threaten democracy and asked for more “transparency.”
“The prevalence of dark money in our political system is a corrupting force undermining faith in our democratic institutions,” the letter reads. “Removing the appropriations rider is a step towards increasing transparency and providing guidance on the boundaries of political activities for nonprofit organizations. In the meantime, the Treasury Department and the IRS must use its audit and enforcement powers to deter bad actors from engaging in impermissible political activity.”
Democratic Sen. Shelton Whitehouse of Rhode Island authored the letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Daniel Werfel seeking clarification on nonprofits engaging in “political or election-related activity.” (RELATED: Cascade Of Senate Democrats Call On Bob Menendez To Resign)
This is wild.
Despite obvious corruption and countless colleagues calling on him to resign, @SenWhitehouse still had Bob Menendez sign a letter Monday warning about the “corrupting force” of dark money “undermining faith in our democratic institutions.”https://t.co/TXIjTbCV7R pic.twitter.com/rdk4gnF7NI
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) September 27, 2023
A long list of Democratic elected officials from Menendez’ home state have called on the senator to resign, including Gov. Phil Murphy, Sen. Cory Booker, state Democratic Party Chairman LeRoy Jones, General Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, former Rep. Tom Malinowski, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, Rep. Josh Gottheimer and Rep. Andy Kim, who has since announced a 2024 challenge to the senator.
Numerous Democratic senators have also asked Menendez to step aside, like Sens. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Jon Tester of Montana, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Peter Welch of Vermont, Mark Kelly of Arizona and Michael Bennet of Colorado.
“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty,” Menendez said in response to calls for his ouster. “I intend to continue to fight for the people of New Jersey with the same success I’ve had for the past five decades. This is the same record of success these very same leaders have lauded all along. It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere.”
Menendez did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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