Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for reportedly receiving significant gifts from a New Jersey company. These gifts include a luxurious apartment in Washington, D.C., a Mercedes-Benz, money, and jewelry, all worth tens of thousands of dollars. Anonymous sources have indicated that the gift was given to Menendez by IS EG Halal, an operator based in Edgewater.
The Justice Department suspects that the gift was given to Menendez as compensation for his help to secure a contract with the Egyptian government. This contract was granted to IS EG Halal despite complaints that the operator lacked the necessary experience. Menendez is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is responsible for overseeing billions of dollars in aid to the Egyptian government.
When asked about the allegations, Menendez stated that he believed “it will all end well,” suggesting that he denies any wrongdoing. However, some suspect that Menendez may have awarded the contract as part of a quid pro quo agreement with IS EG Halal.
The investigation into Menendez’s conduct is being led by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams. FBI and IRS criminal investigators are also involved in the case. As of now, neither the luxurious gifts nor the contract with the Egyptian government appear on Menendez’s Senate disclosure form. Another criminal investigation is also underway to determine whether the gift was properly recorded on Menendez’s tax return.
IS EG Halal, for their part, denies any allegations of wrongdoing. A spokeswoman for the company stated that “The allegations that persons associated with IS EG Halal provided Senator Menendez or his wife with cars, apartments, cash, and jewelry, much less were offered in exchange for any preferential treatment, are completely unfounded.”
The contract with the Egyptian government has raised other suspicions as well. Edgewater, the company run by Christians, had no experience with Muslim halal certification, which raises questions about how they were selected to secure the contract. “It defies logic,” said Peter Paradis, a former deputy assistant inspector general at the USDA. “The company has no record of doing this kind of certification, but does the country in question designate it as the only entity to carry out that work?”
As of now, the investigation into Menendez’s conduct is ongoing, and the full extent of his involvement remains unclear.