- Several members of Congress have said they’ll return or donate campaign contributions from Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’ leadership committee in the wake of allegations of bribery, fraud and extortion recently brought against the senator.
- Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Mikie Sherill and Lisa Blunt Rochester, as well as Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Jon Tester, Jacky Rosen, John Fetterman and Bob Casey are among the Democratic lawmakers who have said they’ll disperse the funds received last cycle or for their 2024 campaigns.
- The disbursements come after numerous elected officials in Menendez’ home state of New Jersey, along with a long list of members in the House and Senate, have called for the senator to resign from office.
Several House and Senate members have said they’ll return or donate campaign contributions from Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’ political action committee (PAC) following an indictment against him and his wife last week and calls for the senator’s resignation.
Menendez was indicted on Sept. 22 over allegations of bribery, fraud and extortion related to lavish gifts — which included cash, gold bars and a luxury car — he allegedly received in return for political favors in the upper chamber. New Millennium PAC, sponsored by the New Jersey senator, gave thousands in campaign contributions to various Democrats in the House and Senate last cycle and for the 2024 election, and some told the Daily Caller News Foundation that they plan on doing away with the funds in the wake of the allegations.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey received $5,000 from the PAC during the 2022 cycle, according to Open Secrets, and a spokesperson told the DCNF she will return funds. Rep. Mikie Sherill of New Jersey will donate the $5,000 contribution she received to charity, according to the New Jersey Globe, which a spokesperson pointed the DCNF toward upon request for comment. (RELATED: Cascade Of Senate Democrats Call On Bob Menendez To Resign)
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester’s 2024 Senate bid received $2,500 from the PAC this year, and a spokesperson for the congresswoman told the DCNF that her campaign is “in the process of returning the donation.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut will donate the $10,000 contribution he received to “an appropriate charity,” he told CT Insider, which a spokesperson pointed the DCNF toward.
The PAC gave $10,000 in campaign donations to Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who’s up for reelection, over the last year, which will be donated to a veteran’s charity, a spokesperson confirmed to the DCNF. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada’s reelection campaign received $10,000 from the PAC this year, which will be donated to charity, according to her campaign.
Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania received a $5,000 donation from the PAC for his 2022 campaign, and he is planning on returning the funds via cash envelopes, according to CNBC. A spokesperson for Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania told The Messenger he will donate the $10,000 contribution he received this year from the PAC.
The PAC also donated $5,000 to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who hasn’t decided whether he’ll seek another term in 2024, and $10,000 to Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine’s reelection campaign this year. Casey did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment, and Manchin did not address the funds he received.
“In the United States, we honor the rule of law and everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” Manchin told the DCNF in a statement. “Until there is a verdict, this is an issue between the people of New Jersey and Senator Bob Menendez.”
Last cycle, the Menendez-tied PAC gave $10,000 to New Jersey Reps. Rob Menendez, the senator’s son, Josh Gottheimer and Donald M Payne Jr., according to Open Secrets. Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mark Kelly of Arizona, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Alex Padilla of California, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Ron Wyden of Oregon also received $10,000 from the PAC.
The PAC also gave $5,000 to New Jersey Reps. Don Norcross, Frank Pallone Jr. and Bill Pascrell Jr., and to Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, according to Open Secrets. New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat also received $2,000 from the PAC.
These members who received campaign funds from the PAC last cycle did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
Numerous Democratic elected officials in New Jersey have called for Menendez to resign, including Sherrill, Gottheimer, Gov. Phil Murphy, Sen. Cory Booker, state Democratic Party Chairman LeRoy Jones, General Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, former Rep. Tom Malinowski and Rep. Andy Kim, who has since announced a primary challenge to the senator in 2024. Reps. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, Nancy Pelosi of California and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York have also called for his resignation.
A long list of Senate Democrats have also called for the senator to step aside. Along with Fetterman, Tester, Casey and Rosen, Sens. 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 have asked Menendez to leave the upper chamber.
Menendez has since rejected calls for his ouster and continues to deny the allegations against him.
“Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty,” Menendez previously said in a statement. “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.”
Neither Menendez nor New Millennium immediately responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to list Richard Blumenthal as a senator.
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