- Senator Bob Menendez indicted on charges of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt and accepting bribes in exchange for using his position to benefit the Egyptian government.
- New indictment includes charges against Menendez, his wife, and a New Jersey businessperson, with claims of accepting various items in exchange for assistance.
- Prosecutors argue Menendez’s actions make him akin to a foreign lobbyist, highlighting the sensitivity of foreign lobbying during the Trump administration.
- Sen. Bob Menendez, once top Senate foreign policy chairman, accused of acting as foreign agent (businessinsider.com)
Federal prosecutors have accused Senator Bob Menendez of acting as a foreign agent for Egypt. They have indicted him on charges that he should have registered as a foreign lobbyist. Menendez, who was the top Senate Democrat for foreign policy during the time of the allegations, is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for using his position to benefit the Egyptian government.
The new indictment includes the charge of Menendez acting as an unregistered foreign agent, along with other counts against him, his wife, and a businessperson from New Jersey. Prosecutors claim that the Menendezes accepted various items, ranging from gold bars and a luxury car to a recliner, in exchange for their assistance.
During the period in question, Menendez served as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He continued to lead the committee after Democrats regained control of the Senate in 2021, but eventually stepped down from his position due to his legal battle.
The new indictment includes a redacted photograph showing Menendez, his then-girlfriend, and the businessperson accused of facilitating the bribes meeting in Menendez’s Senate office in 2018. Unnamed Egyptian officials also attended the meeting, during which prosecutors claim that they discussed “foreign military financing to Egypt.” The meeting was arranged by Menendez’s girlfriend and future wife.
According to the indictment, Menendez later texted non-public information about the number and nationality of personnel at the US Embassy in Cairo to his girlfriend, without informing his staff. Prosecutors also highlight a meeting a year later, where Menendez, his girlfriend, the businessperson, and an unnamed Egyptian official convened at a restaurant in Washington, DC. During this meeting, they allegedly discussed the opposition the US Department of Agriculture had to the businessperson’s attempt to monopolize US food exports to Egypt as compliant with halal standards. Prosecutors claim that Menendez then used his influence to pressure the USDA to leave the businessperson alone.
Prosecutors argue that Menendez’s actions, including providing sensitive US government information, make him akin to a foreign lobbyist, despite his status as a lawmaker. They also note that Menendez had previously called for the Justice Department to investigate another lawmaker for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Although the former lawmaker is not named in the indictment, it is likely referring to Menendez’s efforts to have the department investigate former Republican Representative David Rivera regarding his work for Venezuela’s state oil company.
The accusations against Menendez come at a time when foreign lobbying has received increased attention, particularly during the Trump administration, which saw multiple officials facing allegations of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.