To: The United States Senate

Menendez, Indicted, Should Resign From Leadership

Just Foreign Policy

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Senators – especially Minority Leader Harry Reid - should urge New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez to withdraw from Democratic leadership until corruption charges against him are resolved.

Why is this important?

UPDATE 4/1, 10PM ET: Several media outlets are reporting that Menendez will step down from the leadership of SFRC and be replaced by Cardin.
UPDATE 4/1: Menendez has been indicted. He should step down from the Democratic leadership immediately.
The Justice Department is preparing to file corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez following a 2-year investigation into allegations he accepted gifts and lavish vacations in exchange for political favors. [1] This has been long expected. In 2013 Menendez and Sen. Mitch McConnell were named by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) as the two most corrupt Senators. [2]

Senator Menendez, like every other American, is entitled to a presumption of innocence when facing criminal prosecution. But he should not continue to serve in a position of leadership in the Senate while he remains under a cloud of suspicion of trading the power of his office for money. In 2008-2009, the New York Times [3], the Washington Post [4], and many Democrats [5] called for Rep. Charlie Rangel to step down from his chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee while ethics allegations against him were investigated. In March 2010, he did so. [6]

Senator Menendez currently serves as Democratic leader – “ranking member” – on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Thus, for example, he has a leading role in formulating the policy of Senate Democrats regarding U.S. diplomacy with Iran. Under a cloud of suspicion for trading political favors for money, Menendez should step down from this leadership position.