The Feds are investigating Sen. Bob Menedez (D-NY) for the third time in three decades, but that's not stopping the popular politician from running for another term in the Senate.
Both Menendez and his wife are under investigation for connections to a company that secured an exclusive contract to certify meat exports to Egypt despite inexperience in the field.
Subpoenas have been issued to several New Jersey politicians looking for correspondence between Menendez, the owner of the New Jersey-based company, and a powerful waterfront developer who owns its offices.
Menendez insists he has done nothing wrong and that he's the target of overzealous prosecutors who don't think a working-class Latino kid can make it without corruption.
“He’s the ultimate survivor in politics,” said Hudson County Republican Chair Jose Arango, who’s known Menendez for decades.
According to Politico, investigators are not saying exactly what they think the senator has done wrong.
Menendez said he doesn't know the investigation's scope, but has set up a legal defense fund in case he needs it.
Democrats don't want to risk his safe Democrat seat if voters are finally becoming disgruntled, but he's powerful enough that they don't want to try pushing him out either.
Menendez has been adamant about running for re-election in 2024, making it a situation reminiscent of that of President Joe Biden where the party thinks he's the best hope to get elected despite flaws that could cripple him.
Sure, Menendez has challengers, but one of them has already dropped out to run for a House seat instead and the other, Kyle Jasey, doesn't seem to be gaining much traction.
Menendez spokesperson Jennifer Morrill said the senator “is not distracted by politically-motivated smear campaigns” and pointed to his legislative priorities such as legislation to lower prescription drug prices, expanding veterans’ health care and making housing more affordable as his current focus.
He has nearly $8 million for his reelection, she said, pointing to the strong donations as "a clear sign that people know the senator is an effective leader who is getting things done on their behalf and that he fights for the people of New Jersey.”
Menendez has already beaten federal corruption charges once before, in 2017 after a years-long investigation of a suspected bribery scheme that eventually came to nothing but a hung jury.
Voters stuck with him then, and they are likely to do so now as well.