Sen. Robert Menendez is facing a federal grand jury probe amid continuing questions over his relationship with friend and donor Salomon Melgen, insiders tell the Washington Post. Interviews and records show the New Jersey Democrat pushed the Dominican government to follow through on a port security contract with Melgen; Menendez's office has also said the senator stepped in when the government claimed Melgen, an opthalmologist, had overbilled officials.
The FBI has been discussing the matter with Dominican and US sources, insiders say, and the grand jury has released subpoenas for documents related to Melgen's finances. Agents have also been reviewing claims that Melgen organized Dominican Republic prostitutes for Menendez, claims that lawyers for both men deny. "I welcome any review, because I believe, at the end of the day, that my actions have been appropriate," Menendez says. "Everything that gave rise to this was a smear campaign based on slanders that drove the original story."