According to recent financial filings, embattled Dem Senator, Robert Menendez, paid his chief of staff titanic sums from his very own campaign funds for “consulting” work, illegally padding the public servant’s pocketbook.
Fred Turner, the Chief Of Staff in the Senator Menendez’s D.C. office, was paid a sum of $6,000 during the third quarter from Menendez for Senate, the senator’s campaign committee. The payments to Turner were made on July 7th for “strategic consulting services,” according to the committee’s own October quarterly report.
Turner, who for years have worked for Democratic Representative Alcee Hastings starting as a legislative assistant before working his way all the way up to the chief of staff, joined Menendez’s office in March of 2014.
Turner has received the maximum salary that is allowed in the congressional offices for his role on the Menendez’s team.
Turner was paid a staggering $169,458.96, the highest amount that can be paid to a chief of staff position in a Senate office, for fiscal years 2015 and 2016, data on the data available on the web shows. Complete salary data for fiscal year 2017 is not available as of yet.
Senate employees are also free to “engage in campaign activity on their own, as volunteers or for pay, provided they voluntarily do so on their own time, outside of Senate space, and without using Senate resources,” as per the Select Committee on Ethics. While the congressional staffers are permitted to do all the campaign work outside of their official capacities, a chief of staff typically does not actually partake in any of the campaign-related work.
Menendez, who was indicted in April 2015, is also currently on trials for the numerous corruption charges that include bribery. Prosecutors have said that the Menendez had a “corrupt pact” with the Salomon Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye doctor who was previously a major donor to the New Jersey senator’s campaign.
“The defendants’ bribery scheme began shortly after Menendez’s elevation to the Senate in 2006, when Melgen began a pattern of treating Menendez to weekend and weeklong getaways in the Dominican Republic that would continue for the next several years,” prosecutors said. “For the first four years of the corruption scheme, the all-expense paid trips Melgen provided often included free roundtrip flights on Melgen’s private jet for Menendez and his various guests. When the doctor’s private jet was unavailable, Melgen supplied equally luxurious travel for the Senator.”