Report: Sen. Bob Menendez subject of new federal investigation
Updated 7:57 a.m. ET: (CNN)Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), a potential target of a new federal investigation, has been questioned by federal authorities for more than three hours, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
The New Jersey senator has been accused of accepting about $84,000 in improper expenses, the person told CNN. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case.
After an intense meeting with the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and FBI agents, Menendez has been released, the person said.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, has been accused of accepting more than $84,000 in improper travel expenses, including for private flights, personal trips and meals, the New Jersey Department of the Attorney General filed Monday.
In a letter to the Senate, Menendez asked for a delay in a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his activities and a review of his travel expenses by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice. In the letter, Menendez expressed concern over the investigation, saying that FBI and Justice Department officials had recently told him “they would like me to appear in federal court.”
Menendez asked for a delay in the investigation. But in Monday’s letter, he said an inspector general should review his travel expenses and he should be interviewed by the FBI.
CNN has reached out to Menendez’s office for comment.
In the letter sent to the Senate Ethics Committee Monday, Menendez said he is concerned about a criminal investigation being launched because the “administrative review” of his expenses was “a complete sham.”
“Specifically, the inquiry conducted by the Office of the Inspector General failed to follow the proper administrative procedures and to establish any authority for a criminal investigation.”
The New Jersey senator added that his travel expenses included personal and political trips, private flights, meals and accommodations, including a $7,200 per night hotel stay, and was paid for by his wife’s firm, Global Ethics Strategies.
“In the words of former New Jersey Attorney General John Kean, I am