Sen. Menendez defends actions that helped donor

FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 file photograph, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., right, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., left, announce with other senators that they have reached agreement on the principles of sweeping legislation to rewrite the nation's immigration laws, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

February 8, 2013 4:34:28 PM PST
Sen. Robert Menendez is defending actions he took that appeared to benefit a top campaign contributor, saying that being a donor shouldn't disqualify someone from getting a lawmaker's assistance.

The New Jersey Democrat made his comments in an interview on the Spanish-language television network Univision when asked about his top campaign contributor, Dr. Solomon Melgen. Menendez's ties to Melgen have come under scrutiny after an FBI raid last week at Melgen's West Palm Beach, Fla., offices.

Menendez acknowledges he's asked questions about policies that affected Melgen. But he says the inquiries were policy-based and that he's made them on behalf of many people.

He says he rejects the idea that someone could buy favors from him, adding it's never happened in 20 years in Congress.