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Menendez used Senate loophole to keep his ‘Cuban’ cash stash secret from taxpayers

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Sen. Bob Menendez exploited an ethics loophole to amass the practically $500,000 in money which federal brokers discovered stuffed in jacket pockets, envelopes and a secure after they raided his residence final 12 months, The Put up has realized.

The embattled New Jersey Democrat, who was indicted on bribery costs final week, stated Monday that he had withdrawn the money from his financial savings accounts all through his 30-year profession, first within the Home then the Senate.

Disclosure guidelines require senators to file annual kinds that record liabilities, interest-bearing belongings and items price greater than $100. However they don’t have to record money they maintain — though they may in the event that they wished to.

That signifies that if Menendez — as he claims — made private financial institution withdrawals and piled up the money at residence, he didn’t have to inform voters about it, though he may have. Years of his ethics disclosures reviewed by The Put up by no means talked about a money pile.

Menendez made the jaw-dropping declare Monday that he hoarded the huge quantities of money as a result of his dad and mom have been Cuban.

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez advised reporters that just about $500,000 in money present in a federal raid on his residence was cash he had quietly withdrawn from his financial savings accounts over the past 30 years. He refused to take questions.
KEVIN C DOWNS

Federal brokers discovered greater than $480,000 in money stuffed into envelopes, pockets and a secure in Menendez’s New Jersey residence. The senator claimed that it was money he had withdrawn over 30 years from the financial institution.
AP

“For 30 years I’ve withdrawn 1000’s of {dollars} in money from my private financial savings account which I’ve saved for emergencies and due to the historical past of my household going through confiscation in Cuba,” Menendez stated at a press convention in his hometown of Union Metropolis.

“Now this will appear old school, however these have been monies drawn from my private financial savings account based mostly on the earnings that I’ve lawfully derived over these 30 years.”

Menendez, 69, was born in New York to impoverished Cuban immigrants Mario and Evangelina Menendez in 1954.

The senator says his mom Evangelina (prime row) and father Mario escaped Cuba’s Batista regime in 1953, six years earlier than Fidel Castro’s Communists seized personal property. Menendez was born in New York after they arrived within the US.
Senator Bob Menendez/Fb

Cuba’s Fulgencio Batista was a corrupt right-of-center strongman who was deposed from his rule of Cuba in 1959, when Communists began confiscating personal property.
Common Photos Group through Getty Photos

He has advised with delight how his dad and mom left Cuba in 1953 — which was six years earlier than Fidel Castro got here to energy and started confiscating private property on the Communist island — for a greater life.

Amongst those that ridiculed his declare have been fellow Democratic senator John Fetterman (PA) who tweeted: “We’ve an additional flashlight for our residence emergencies.”

Menendez’s press convention set off a sequence of prime Democrats together with Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi and fellow New Jersey senator Cory Booker telling him to resign.

The extraordinary loophole permitting lawmakers to secretly maintain piles of money was used earlier than, when federal authorities discovered $90,000 in money in then-Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson’ freezer.

Though Jefferson was convicted of bribery in 2009, a Home ethics committee quietly shelved an investigation into whether or not he had declared the money on his disclosure kinds.

A decide threw out the conviction in 2017 and Jefferson was launched from jail, part-way by means of his 13-year sentence.

Federal brokers discovered $90,000 in money in former Louisiana Democratic Congressman William Jefferson’s freezer throughout a raid on his residence in 2005. A Home ethics investigation into the money was quietly shelved.
FBI

Former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson was free of jail after a decide threw out his 2009 conviction on bribery in 20017.
Getty Photos

In Menendez’s case federal prosecutors stated within the indictment towards him that a number of the money they seized from his Englewood Cliffs residence was in envelopes bearing the DNA and fingerprints of his co-accused political benefactor Fred Daibes, a New Jersey businessman.

Menendez’s protection will now have to provide 30 years of financial institution data to indicate money withdrawals including as much as the greater than $480,000 — the exact quantity has not been disclosed — the FBI discovered, and which prosecutors allege have been bribes.

“The issue for Menendez is that there are fingerprints on the envelopes, and prosecutors can verify the serial quantity on the payments to search out out after they have been issued,” stated a marketing campaign finance knowledgeable who didn’t wish to be recognized.

Prosecutors included photos of how they discovered money, a few of it piles of $20 payments, inside jackets belonging to the senator.
US District Courtroom

Menendez claimed that he had been withdrawing money from his financial savings account and rising his pile for 30 years. He joined the Home in 1992 and is seen right here in 1998.
CQ-Roll Name, Inc through Getty Photos

“If he was withdrawing money through the years there needs to be a paper path from the banks concerned.”

The indictment towards Menendez is the second. He was indicted in a bribery scandal in 2015, however after a hung jury in his first trial, federal prosecutors in New Jersey deserted plans for a retrial early in 2018.

Menendez’s disclosures of his belongings have proven the identical sample for years, detailing between $100,001-$250,000 in financial institution deposits on the Senate Federal Credit score Union, and as much as $50,000 deposited at M&T financial institution in Hoboken, NJ.

Nevertheless in March 2022, he made a major change in that sample, by declaring that his spouse Nadine Arslanian Menendez had “private property” of as much as $250,000 in gold bars, which have been offered in 4 separate transactions between April and June, 2022, in response to federal filings.

Additionally seized with the money have been gold bars. Menendez provided no touch upon them when he spoke Monday.
U.S. Attorneyâs Workplace

How Pennsylvania Democrat john Fetterman, the primary senator to inform Menendez to go, piled on the stress by mocking his claims anout the money pile.
@johnFetterman/Twitter

The gold was first listed on the senator’s monetary disclosures in an amended submitting for the 12 months 2020 — when he married Nadine Arslanian. That report was despatched to the senate ethics workplace in March, 2022.

Throughout his Monday press assertion, Menendez didn’t touch upon the gold bars, price greater than $150,000 that federal brokers seized in the course of the raid on his residence in June, 2022.

Abbe Lowell, a Washington DC legal professional representing Mendez, didn’t return a request for remark Tuesday.

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