US senator denies claims of sex tourism amid FBI raids
ReutersMIAMI -- New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat and incoming chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, denied on Wednesday allegations that he engaged in sex with prostitutes during free trips to the Dominican Republic provided by a political donor.
February 1, 2013, 2:33 pm TWN
The denial from Menendez, 59, who was re-elected to a second term last year, came as FBI agents searched the offices of a prominent South Florida eye doctor who is the donor linked to his alleged unpaid trips.
The FBI did not explain the motive for the raid on the offices of Dr. Salomon Melgen, 58, saying only that it was “conducting law enforcement activity” in the vicinity of the medical-office complex where Melgen's West Palm Beach eye clinic is located.
Melgen's name has been linked in recent months to unsubstantiated reports, first published on the conservative Daily Caller website, that he provided Menendez with free trips aboard his private plane to the Dominican Republic where Menendez allegedly engaged in sex with underage prostitutes.
“Dr. Melgen has been a friend and political supporter of Senator Menendez for many years,” Menendez's press office said in a emailed statement.
“Senator Menendez has traveled on Dr. Melgen's plane on three occasions, all of which have been paid for and reported appropriately. Any allegations of engaging with prostitutes are manufactured by a politically-motivated right-wing blog and are false.”