[NORTHJERSEY] An Elmwood Park man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring with his brother to violate federal election law by steering $21,400 in illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.
Benedetto Bigica, 45, admitted that he worked with his brother, Joseph, of Franklin Lakes, from April 2005 to April 2008 to make the illegal contributions, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
As part of the scheme, Benedetto Bigica, an owner and president of Open MRI and Imaging-Newark, agreed to serve as a straw contributor along with two other family members for Joseph Bigica, who then reimbursed them for their contributions to the campaign.
The Federal Election Campaign Act limits the amount of contributions from individuals to federal candidates and prohibits straw contributions -- contributions by one person in the name of another.
No one associated with the Menendez campaign has been accused of any wrongdoing, authorities said.
They had no idea. The $21,400 unfortunately has been spent. Ask 'Delores' in Santo Domingo...
A spokesman for Menendez has acknowledged that the senator was the unnamed federal official cited in court papers in the case but said Menendez was a victim of Joseph Bigica's.
"Senator Menendez's campaign, a victim of the fraud that ensued, cooperated fully with the investigation," Mike Soliman, Menendez's state director and former campaign manager, said Tuesday. Soliman said. "After the first guilty plea was entered, Sen. Menendez donated the campaign contributions in question to two charities: Autism Speaks and the Greater New Jersey Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
Parts 1-4 available at the webpage -- click on the headline to go there.
Now it's Lindsey Graham time. Are will still at war, Graham wants to know. After some stammering, Hagel says "Yes."
Graham's next question is "name one person in Congress who has been intimidated by the Jewish lobby" Hagel can't do it.
Now Graham wants to know one dumb thing Congress has done in response to pressure from the Israeli lobby. Hagel can't do it.
Graham wants to know why Hagel was one of 12 Senators who didn't sign a letter affirming Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Hagel says that Senators shouldn't sign these kinds of letters -- it infringes on the president's prerogative. But then, why did Hagel sign a letter denouncing the treatment of Jews by the Russians? Hagel can't answer, at least not coherently.
Graham asks if Hagel would vote today against designating the IRG a terrorist organiztion. Hagel hems and haws. Then he says he would, at least, reconsider the matter, since "times change."
Now Graham is asking about a letter Hagel refused to sign denouncing the intifada. He wants to know if Graham will admit that not signing this letter was a mistake. Hagel says he will look at the letter and answer later.
It must have been a letter than Hagel clearly should have signed the letter because liberal Sen. Blumenthal, who follows Graham in th questioning, tells Hagel he hopes Hagel will now say he should have signed it.
I've had all the fun I can stand with this hearing for now. Perhaps I'll resume my coverage at some point in the second round of questioning.
From what I've seen so far today, it looks like Hagel will win more than 50 votes from the Democrats, and quite possibly all 55 Democratic votes. As for Republicans, I don't believe he's done well enough today to win many over. He succeeded in enraging John McCain (not the most difficult thing to do) and Lindsey Graham was upset with Hagel from the get-go. Of those Republicans who have questioned Hagel so far, it seems to me that he has "charmed" nary a one.
a lot of donks are wondering whether Hagel can possibly be as dumb as he seemed or whether he was simply so high on self esteem that he didn't think he would get any tough questions and refused assistance
Posted by: lord garth ||
In a later interview Hagel said he "would learn a lot about the DoD if he is confirmed."
Posted by: Deacon Blues ||
"whether Hagel can possibly be as dumb as he seemed or whether he was simply so high on self esteem that he didn't think he would get any tough questions and refused assistance"
No reason it can't be both, lg.
Posted by: Barbara ||
"Would learn a lot...if confirmed.." Sounds like a rehash of "..pass it to find out what's in it..." to me.
Au revoir, peasants! No need for grasping your grubby paws every six years any more!
BOSTON -- Outgoing U.S. Sen. John Kerry is planning a farewell tour of Massachusetts before formally stepping down from the seat he's held for nearly three decades. ...and make sure that golden carriage has a gleam that could blind on it, Manolo!
Kerry will make stops in Springfield and Worcester on Thursday before giving a farewell address at Boston's Faneuil Hall to thank voters who have elected him to the Senate since his first win in 1984. Don't worry, Jawnny. It'll be the last time you'll ever have to visit those shitholes. Try to bear up, Man!
The tour comes a day before Kerry steps down to become secretary of state. Well, I'm sorry for the country but happy for us. But, I mean, how much more could he screw it up?
The only announced candidate is Democratic U.S. Rep. Edward Markey. Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch is expected to announce his candidacy Thursday. Man, I'll bet Eddie's pissed. All the party big shot's said it was his turn, and then Lynch decides to crash the party.
Officials close to Scott Brown say the former Republican senator is "leaning strongly" toward running. It's either that or governor...
Interim Senate pick William "Mo" Cowan today vowed his political career would be short -- and ruled out all future plans to run for office -- as he prepares to take over for U.S. Sen. John Kerry for the next five months. If only we coulda said the same thing about...Kerry.
Cowan, a close friend to Gov. Deval Patrick since he joined the administration in 2011, was Patrick's chief of staff and before that chief legal counsel. He stayed on as an advisor to Patrick after he left his post last year. Ah. So he's a hack...
"This is going to be a very short career," said Cowan. "I am not running for office. I'm not a candidate for public service at any time today or in the future." Nope. A nice cushy hack job. Maybe a six figure lobbyist. I'd settle for that...
Cowan is the first black senator to represent Massachusetts in more than 30 years, since Republican Sen. Edward Brooke held the seat. Too bad, Barney. Go away now.
"This is going to be a very short career," said Cowan. "I am not running for office. I'm not a candidate for public service at any time today or in the future."
Guess he couldn't come up with the payment.