Senator Menendez indicted on bribery charges, needs to resign

Menendez speaking at the Bayonne Presser announcing new Dry Dock upgrades. (Photo via menendez.senate.gov/)
Menendez speaking at the Bayonne Presser announcing new Dry Dock upgrades. (Photo via menendez.senate.gov/)

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez has officially stated that he will not resign after allegations of bribery have been placed on his desk.

Information on the 2022 raid of Menendez’s New Jersey home was released on Sept. 22, 2023, stating that the senator had  payments made toward his mortgage, a Mercedes-Benz, compensation for jobs that were never completed, $100,000 worth of gold bars and another $550,000 in cash hidden around his home and in a safety deposit box.

Menendez claims that this money is from his personal bank account and that his time in Cuba made him fearful of a communist government returning, which is why he kept the items hidden in clothes and safes. In a press conference on Monday Sept. 25, Menendez stated that the cash was for emergencies but did not comment on the other items. 

This is not the first time Menendez has been accused of bribery. In 2017, the senator went to trial over paid trips and undocumented donations to his campaign by friend Salomon Melgen. Menendez stated that these gifts were from a friend and not bribes, and the case ended in a mistrial. He was re-elected to the Senate the following year.  

The most notable aspect of today’s situation is the accusation that the money came in bribes from Egyptian officials and businessmen. Egypt receives 1.4 billion dollars in aid from the U.S. government, the second largest of any country in the world. With many U.S. citizens recently expressing outrage over the human rights violations in Egypt, it is likely Egypt will lose some of that funding in the upcoming years. 

Menendez was the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before stepping down on Friday, Sept. 22. This is the only committee in the Senate which designates treaties for the president to consider, trains allies and oversees the funding of foreign aid programs, which means Menendez held direct control over the amount of funding Egypt received.

He has the right to defend himself in a court of law, but he does not have the right to continue as a senator considering these charges.

— Ted Manner

By giving the senator a few hundred thousand dollars in bribes, Egypt can guarantee billions in future funding from the U.S. 

Del Val junior, Julius Hendricks, expressed his frustrations over the situation.

“Bribery is bribery, and it makes me even angrier knowing that he is from New Jersey,” said Hendricks. “This is not what we stand for, and I feel very, very upset.”

Both Republican and Democratic government officials have urged Menendez to resign from his position, but the senator holds onto the claim that the justice system has misunderstood the situation.

Delaware Valley Regional High School’s AP Government teacher, Ted Manner, disagrees with the senator.

He has to step down from that position [Chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee] and he also needs to resign,” said Manner. “He has the right to defend himself in a court of law, but he does not have the right to continue as a senator considering these charges.”

Manner compared today’s situation to the 2002 investigation of Robert Torricelli, who took his name off the Senate election ballot after it was revealed he had taken improper campaign gifts during his first run in 1996. The recent indictments of politicians has created new behavior within politics.

These were different times back then,” said Manner. “There was such a thing as shame. If you were caught, you dealt with the consequences and resigned, but that was two decades ago, and now with this current environment there really is no such thing.”

This indictment brings to light a power struggle between Republicans and Democrats. With the left’s constant accusations of corruption by the right, the decisions made within this trial will affect their credibility as a party. If the Democrats do not hold their own people accountable, the future statements made by left-sided lawmakers become futile.

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However, Democrats could use this situation to their advantage. If the party comes together against one of its own, it will likely reflect positively, showing that they take these allegations seriously despite personal bias.

Kyle Tinnes, a history teacher at Del Val and self-proclaimed monarchist, views the situation differently. He believes this is a prime example of where our government lacks.

It is a symptom of the corruption that impacts all democracies, and why democracy itself is a terrible idea,” said Tinnes.

There is the possibility that the Senate could vote Menendez out with a two-thirds super-majority. While one would assume this is likely, right-sided law makers have stated that they view Menendez as a threat to the Democratic Party. Keeping the senator in his position until the 2024 election period could increase the likelihood of a Republican being elected.

New Jersey is known to be a more Democratic state, but the difference between the two parties is only around one million voters, and voters have previously elected Republican governors, senators and house representatives.

If Menendez makes it past the primaries in 2024 and faces a Republican opponent, it is highly possible that he will lose. With the current 51-49 split in the Senate, this seat could determine GOP dominance in Washington.

With the evidence brought to light by the raid on Menendez’s home, his history of bribery and his stepping down as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it is clear that Menendez has done something wrong. New Jersey cannot have someone with these characteristics representing the state, and Menendez needs to step down.

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Gianna Roberts
Gianna Roberts, Editor-in-chief
Gianna is a sophomore at Del Val and this is her second year working on "The Delphi," now as the Managing Editor. In her free time, Gianna enjoys reading, listening to music, especially Taylor Swift, and watching TV shows. She also loves spending time with her friends and family.
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