Franken Has Yet to Return Menendez Funds in Wake of Trial

(Photo by Stephanie Moreno/Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications for Peabody Awards/University of Georgia)

WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey is a sitting member of Congress. He is also standing trial on federal corruption charges stemming from a “quid pro quo” deal with wealthy donor Dr. Salomon Meglen to receive donations and exclusive trips in exchange for political favours.

Menendez used the funds to form the New Millennium PAC, with which he spread the wealth to his fellow Democrats.

Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken both received contributions to their campaigns from the New Millennium PAC.

In 2011, Klobuchar received two $5,000 donations to her campaign from the PAC. Franken also received $10,000 from the PAC in September 2008 according to the Federal Elections Committee.

In 2015, following a formal indictment of Menendez, POLITICO reports Klobuchar became the first Democrat on the hill to announce she would return any funds given to her campaign by the New Millennium PAC. Klobuchar returned the $10,000 donation in 2015.

However, as Menendez’s trial begins, Franken has yet to announce whether he plans to return the donation to his campaign.

Franken has dealt with questionable campaign contributions in the past. In March, Alpha News reported on Franken’s decision to return $41,000 in campaign donations from Thornton Law in Boston, Massachusetts after it was revealed that partners were reimbursed for political contributions going to Democratic candidates and causes.  

A spokesman for Franken told the Star Tribune at the time that they would “return the contributions after learning of the improper reimbursements.”

Franken’s office did not respond in time for publication.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.