U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) issued the following statement on the investigation by the Southern District of New York:
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave. Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.
“The excesses of these prosecutors is apparent. They have misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office. On top of that, not content with making false claims against me, they have attacked my wife for the longstanding friendships she had before she and I even met.
“Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. Senator and serve with honor and distinction. Even worse, they see me as an obstacle in the way of their broader political goals.
“I have been falsely accused before because I refused to back down to the powers that be and the people of New Jersey were able to see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize I was innocent. I have worked every day to repay their trust by fighting to create jobs, strengthen public safety, update infrastructure, and reduce costs for New Jersey families. I have also stood steadfast against dictators around the globe – whether they be in Iran, Cuba, Turkey, or elsewhere – fighting against the forces of appeasement and standing with those who stand for freedom and democracy. I remain focused on continuing this important work and will not be distracted by baseless allegations.
“They wrote these charges as they wanted; the facts are not as presented. Prosecutors did that the last time and look what a trial demonstrates. People should remember that before accepting the prosecutor’s version.
“To my supporters, friends and the community at large, I ask that you recall the other times the prosecutors got it wrong and that you reserve judgement. I am confident that this matter will be successfully resolved once all of the facts are presented and my fellow New Jerseyans will see this for what it is.”
Incidentally, pre indictment, according to Patrick Murray of the Monmouth Polling Institute:
“Menendez receives a negative 35% approve and 44% disapprove rating from all New Jersey adults and a 36% approve and 45% disapprove rating from registered voters. This marks a reversal from last year (44% approve and 39% disapprove among voters in April 2022). Menendez has seen his ratings decline among all partisan groups over the past year. While fellow Democrats still give the senator a net positive rating, his approval number has dropped 8 points to 58% and his disapproval number has increased 7 points to 23%. Menendez has a 29% approve and 45% disapprove rating among independents and a 14% approve and 74% disapprove rating among Republicans, both of which are more negative than his ratings from these groups last year.
“A majority of New Jerseyans (57%) have heard about Menendez being under a current federal investigation. Six in 10 state residents think this investigation affects his ability to serve the state either a great deal (27%) or somewhat (33%). Majorities of Republicans (55%), Democrats (60%) and independents (61%) feel the current investigation has at least some impact on Menendez’s ability to serve the state, with Republicans (36%) being more likely than Democrats (19%) to say it has a great deal of impact. Among those who were already aware of the investigation before being polled, 65% say it affects Menendez’s ability to serve, with only slight differences across partisan groups in this opinion.
“Public opinion of Sen. Menendez has ranged from positive to evenly divided to negative at different points over the past eight years. The current poll results suggest news of a new federal probe is having an impact on that opinion, perhaps even more so than the last time he faced similar scrutiny,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
“Looking back to the last time Menendez was under investigation, he continued to hold a slightly positive or evenly divided job rating from the time federal charges were filed against him (e.g. 42% approve and 38% disapprove in May 2015) through his eventual admonishment by the U.S. Senate’s ethics committee (37% approve and 38% disapprove in April 2018). Menendez’s current job rating is currently lower than ratings he received during that time period. Although he won reelection by 11 points in 2018, his job rating dipped into negative territory the following year before returning to positive territory during the Covid pandemic. His rating started to slip at the beginning of this year, with the current poll result being nearly identical to his prior career low in September 2019.”