Tag Archives: Robert Menendez

CECIL Act? Come on, senator

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s staff must have worked into the wee hours to come up with an appropriate acronym to identify some legislation that reacts to the death of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe.

It’s called — get ready for this, as it’s a mouthful — the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act.

The legislation is named in memory of Cecil the Lion, the beast that was killed by American dentist Walter Palmer, who paid 50 grand to hunt the lion that had become a favorite of tourists to the national park in Zimbabwe where he lived.


Palmer’s deed has caused significant outrage around the world. Cecil was a beloved animal. What’s worse, though, is that Palmer’s outfitters lured the animal out of the park — where hunting is prohibited — and into a free-fire zone, where Palmer shot Cecil with a crossbow. It gets even more grim. Cecil didn’t die right away. Palmer and his guides looked for hours to find him; then they shot him with a gun, skinned him and beheaded him.

By my definition of the word, this looks like poaching to me.

Back to the New Jersey Democrat’s legislation. It’s a ridiculous use of Congress’s time.

Menendez is upset about Cecil’s death. I am, too. However, I almost always am leery of legislation enacted in a fit of rage over a single act by an irresponsible hunter.

Palmer faces possible extradition to Zimbabwe, where he could be prosecuted for poaching.

The real bad guys in this episode, though, are the guides who went to great lengths to lure the great cat from the national park to a location where he could be shot to death.

If they are as experienced as we’ve all been led to believe they were, they knew what they were doing and they knew where they were. They knew Cecil was protected as long as he remained inside the national park boundary.

Congress need not get involved here. It has many other issues with which it should concern itself.

Yep, Sen. Menendez ought to quit

The curious world of politics at times deprives politicians of the presumption of innocence granted to “ordinary citizens.”

Such is the case with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who’s been indicted on a host of corruption charges.

He ought to quit the Senate and pursue his defense as a private citizen.


A federal grand jury indicted Menendez on felony counts relating to his close relationship with an eye doctor, Soloman Melgen, who flew Menendez to the Dominican Republic on his private jet — trips that Menendez failed to disclose to congressional ethics officials.

There’s a lot of other allegations involving favors exchanged between the men. The amazing detail of the indictment suggests there’s considerable fire under all that smoke.

Is the senator guilty? I have no clue.

This much is clear: His service in the U.S. Senate will be clouded forever by this indictment. How in the world can this man conduct the public’s business when he is defending himself against a federal indictment?

Why does this matter to anyone outside of his home state? Well, he’s a federal official himself and he votes on laws that affect all Americans, even those of us out here in Flyover Country.

As the New York Time editorialized in calling for his resignation: “Mr. Menendez is evidently not in a hurry to get to the stage of contrition, having warned on Wednesday that he’s ‘not going anywhere.’ He would be doing a disservice to New Jersey by clinging to power as a disgraced politician. His colleagues in the Senate should demand that he step aside.”

Politics can be a dirty business. It doesn’t allow for the normal presumptions of innocence granted to non-politicians. That’s the way it is.


Menendez indictment seems oddly 'normal'

My proverbial trick knee is throbbing again.

It’s sending me a grim message that the federal indictment of Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey on corruption charges signals a hunt for others who are might be involved in the same kind of cozy relationships alleged in the 68-page indictment against the Democratic lawmaker.


You hear about these kinds of things occasionally involving senators and House members. They do favors for pals, develop relationships that raise a lot of questions — not to mention eyebrows.

Is Menendez alone in this? That trick knee of mine tells me “No. Not by a long shot.”

Menendez is the leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He’s stepping down from his leadership positions in the Senate until this matter gets resolved.

Also indicted is Dr. Solomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist and longtime friend of Menendez. The indictment goes into great deal about the emails exchanged over several years between the men, suggesting alleged criminal activity, deal-making and favors.

It’s pretty salacious stuff.

I’m wondering this morning if all this will lead investigators down a lot of other paths, toward the doorsteps of other members of Congress.