Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez becomes emotional as he speaks to reporters in front of the courthouse in Newark, N.J., Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. The federal bribery trial of Menendez ended in a mistrial Thursday when the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked on all charges against the New Jersey politician and a wealthy donor. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Sen. Bob Menendez’s corruption trial resulted in a jury-deadlocked mistrial. In the wake of the result, Democrats and big business are getting back to backing him– specifically, a bunch of Hispanic Democrats and US Telecom.
Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Albio Sires (D-N.J.) and Filemon Vela (D-Texas) will headline a fundraiser tonight for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), whose federal corruption trial ended in a mistrial last month with the jury deadlocked. The hosts include four former Menendez chiefs of staff who are now on K Street – Danny O’Brien of General Electric, Ivan Zapien of Hogan Lovells, Karissa Willhite of Ogilvy Government Relations and Michael Hutton – as well as Christina Haley of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Manny Ortiz of VantageKnight . The fundraiser will be held at USTelecom’s offices. It’ll take $1,000 to get in the door (or $2,500 for PACs at the “host” level and $5,000 at the “chairman” level).
Menendez, while generally regarded as tarnished goods on the right, remains very influential, holding key positions on both the Senate Banking and Senate Finance Committees.
As such, major US industries– especially those traditionally perceived as more “Republican-leaning,” like the telecom industry– are still keen to curry influence with him.
Menendez is also one of Congress’ most high-profile Hispanic lawmakers.
Minority Democratic lawmakers have something of a reputation for sticking hard and fast by fellow minority Democrats; the Congressional Black Caucus was notably slow to come around to the idea of now-former Rep. John Conyers resigning in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.
Fundraisers like this one, however, provide a near-perfect example of the kind of “swampy” behavior that turns much of the electorate off the Democratic Party, and big business’ involvement in the political and policymaking process.
It remains to be seen whether any official Republican Party organizations make an issue of the fundraiser, or Menendez apparently being back in favor with his own party despite very damaging allegations.