The Price of Power: Senator Menendez’s Bribery Scheme

Politics is one of the most rigorous and scandalous topics currently, and it’s known that corruption is prevalent throughout the political process. While many expect and hope that politicians will do right by the citizens who elected them, many often turn down the dark path of corruption and greed to line their pockets rather than fulfilling the promises that got them elected. One example is Senator Bob Menendez’s investigation for bribery worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. In this article, we will explore who Bob Menendez is, his corruption, and the next steps in his indictment.

Bob Menedez was born to two Cuban immigrants on January 1, 1954, in New York, New York. He graduated from Saint Peter’s University with a major in political science in 1976. While in college and after graduating, Menendez served on the Union City Board of Education (1974-1978). His final step in education was receiving a JD (Juris Doctorate) from Rutgers University in 1979. In 1982, he ran for mayor of Union City and was not elected, but in 1986, he was and stayed mayor until 1992. He then served in the New Jersey General Assembly (established laws and budgets for the state). However, Menendez was still unsatisfied with his political outreach at the time, and, in 1992, he ran for a seat in the US House of Representatives and became the representative for New Jersey’s 13th district. After being in the House for more than ten years, Jon Corzine, who originally served as the senator for the Senate and then became governor of NJ in 2006, appointed Menendez to fill his vacant seat in the House. Menendez is considered to be a Democrat but aligns himself with a variety of political stances. For example, he would vote conservatively on foreign policy but liberally on environmental and domestic issues. We will go into his history of corruption and what occurred in this specific case now.

Many may believe this was a one-time occurrence, but this is Menendez’s second time being investigated and indicted on corruption-related charges. In 2015, he was indicted on federal corruption charges as he ‘failed’ to report many gifts from a political donor Menendez vouched for in various government agencies. While Menendez denied ever doing any wrongdoings and continued to serve in the Senate. Even his trial ended in a mistrial two months after it started, in September 2017. While no retrial was deemed necessary, the Senate Ethics Committee disapproved and reprimanded Menendez, making him repay the price for all gifts he had not already repaid. Throughout this time, his political reputation diminished, but it did not prevent him from continuing to serve in the Senate for his third 6-year term in 2018. In the present day, Menendez faces legal charges again when he and his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, were indicted on bribery charges. These charges alleged that Menendez and his wife received hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cash, gold bars, high-value cars, and other valuables from three men in New Jersey also under investigation. Allegedly, these businessmen gave Menendez and his wife these items in exchange for using Menendez as a senator for a power play and to help the Egyptian government by allegedly giving away government secrets. While Menendez has claimed innocence and is anticipating exoneration, many believe he will not be as lucky this time. He also has no plans to retire if he is acquitted, even though many want him to.

It has been seen in many Supreme Court cases that the Supreme Court has aligned with the quid pro quo version of corruption and often sides with the official charged with bribery/fraud. It is harder to convict public officials of fraud, as they have to prove the official took action, not just setting up meetings with officials. It makes it harder because most officials do not leave trails or make obvious illegal ‘official’ actions. So, while it may seem like Menendez will get off easy, the prosecution has hinted that they have more than ‘setting up meetings,’ such as persuading the appointment of the New Jersey Attorney General or providing governmental secrets to Egypt. Although Menendez is not in jail for bribery/corruption, he has already resigned as chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

In conclusion, corrupt politicians have gotten off scot-free one too many times. Those who are supposed to be vouching for us citizens and building a better country instead take bribes in exchange for money to line their own pockets. As citizens, we should select individuals who will improve our country and fulfill our wishes as our representatives. However, as representatives, it is in their hands to fulfill those promises and ensure a better future for our nation. As long as these corrupt individuals remain in power, our country will continue to have power races and spiral into the political dissent we are already beginning to witness.

Works Cited

“How Can the Senate Address Sen. Menendez’s Indictment?” YouTube, YouTube, 26 Sept. 2023,

McNamee, Gregory Lewis. “Bob Menendez.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 18 Oct. 2023,

YouTube, YouTube, 22 Sept. 2023, Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.

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