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Robert Menendez says he’s fighting a smear campaign against ‘ridiculous’ allegations


file photio by Boyd Loving Ridgewood Reorg

Robert Menendez says he’s fighting a smear campaign against ‘ridiculous’ allegations

JERSEY CITY — Saying he was the target of a yearlong “false smear campaign,” U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez on Friday blasted a television news report that said he allegedly used his office to help campaign contributors.

At events in his native Hudson County, the Democrat said he treated Roberto and William Isaias — banking magnates from Ecuador accused of embezzling more than $100 million before fleeing to the United States — like hundreds of other immigrants who came to his office seeking help.

In a report Thursday night, WNBC-TV, quoting anonymous sources, said federal authorities were conducting a criminal investigation into whether the influential senator made efforts in 2012 to win the brothers permanent residency by contacting officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State in exchange for campaign contributions from the brothers’ relatives.

Menendez called the allegations “ridiculous.”

“A year after a false smear campaign was launched against me, once again we see anonymous sources,” Menendez, who now chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said at a campaign event for U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8th Dist.) in Jersey City. “I wish we had these sources quoted. I’d like them to come forth.” (Friedman/Star-Ledger)

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