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Politics

Bob Menendez, Taste of Hawaii
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Photo credit: Senate Democrats / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

In addition to his legal problems, the senator’s political career is also on life support. 

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Embattled Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who was indicted last month for his role in a bribery scheme, is facing a new charge. This time, he is accused of acting as a foreign agent of Egypt. 

Prosecutors filed a superseding incitement in the case on Thursday. It alleges that Menendez, together with his wife and a New Jersey businessman, took actions on behalf of Egypt’s government from 2018 to 2022.

The document charges that the three defendants “willfully and knowingly combined, conspired, confederated, and agreed together and with each other to have a public official, to wit, ROBERT MENENDEZ, act as an agent of a foreign principal.” 

Federal law requires any person acting on behalf of the government of another country to register as a foreign agent, or, in the official parlance, as an “agent of a foreign principal.” However, Menendez and his co-conspirators were not registered as foreign agents. 

In the lawmaker’s case, this would have been illegal anyway because, as a member of Congress, he is prohibited from acting as a foreign agent. 

As part of this work on behalf of Egypt, prosecutors allege that Menendez “provided sensitive US government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt.” 

For example, he sought information from the State Department regarding the people serving at the US embassy in Cairo. 

“Although this information was not classified, it was deemed highly sensitive because it could pose significant operational security concerns if disclosed to a foreign government or if made public,” the indictment states. 

Menendez then passed on that information to his then-girlfriend. 

In addition to his legal problems, the senator’s political career is also on life support. 

He already had to give up the chairmanship of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

In addition, the majority of his Democratic colleagues have called on him to resign in light of the charges, to which the senator has pleaded not guilty. 

Part of their consideration is likely to draw a distinction between the GOP. 

While hardly any Republicans have condemned Donald Trump for being indicted four times, let alone called on him to drop his presidential bid in light of the seriousness of the many charges he faces, Democrats want to demonstrate that they are different.

Therefore, Menendez cannot expect much help from any of his colleagues. 

Not only that, if, as he has indicated, he will seek reelection, the senator will have a tough primary fight on his hands. 

Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) has already announced that he will challenge Menendez, and early polling indicates that he will be a heavy favorite in the race. 

In a head-to-head matchup, he leads the incumbent by 39 points and Menendez does not even attract double digit support. 

It should be noted that this is not the first time the senator has faced legal trouble. He previously faced corruption charges that were eventually dropped when a jury failed to reach a verdict in the case. 

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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