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Report: Menendez emails sought to aid donor’s firm

Senator Menendez at Ridgewood REORG

Report: Menendez emails sought to aid donor’s firm
Monday, February 11, 2013    Last updated: Monday February 11, 2013, 5:02 PM
Associated Press

WASHINGTON  —   Emails between Sen. Robert Menendez’s office and the Homeland Security Department describe efforts by his staff in January to thwart U.S. donations of cargo-screening equipment to the government of the Dominican Republic. Donated equipment could have jeopardized a port security contract benefiting a close Menendez associate and fundraiser.

The emails came six months after Menendez raised concerns about the Dominican government’s port security in a Senate hearing with senior officials from the State and Commerce departments. A company run by Dr. Salomon Melgen, Menendez’s biggest political donor, has pushed to secure a lucrative port security contract with the Dominican government.

In the emails, an unidentified staffer for Menendez told U.S. Customs and Border Protection that the Dominican government wouldn’t use any U.S.-supplied security equipment as effectively as the port’s private contractor, which the aide did not mention by name. “My boss’ concern is that the CBP equipment will be used for ulterior purpose and asks that you hold off on the delivery of any such equipment until you can discuss this matter with us,” the staffer wrote.

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