New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan has joined a majority of her fellow Senate Democrats in calling for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to resign in the wake of bribery and corruption charges.
“I urge Sen. Menendez to resign,” Hassan posted on social media. “He is entitled to equal justice under the law just as every American is, but he is not entitled to a Senate seat.”
However, Hassan appears to feel she is “entitled” to Menendez’s money. Unlike several of her colleagues who have received campaign cash from the indicted New Jersey senator, Hassan isn’t donating his $10,000 contribution to her 2022 campaign to charity.
As she has done with the 2022 campaign donations from FTX fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, Hassan is holding on to the cash.
Menendez, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, is accused of pressuring government agencies to help his affluent business associates. On Tuesday, Egyptian-American businessman Wael Hana was charged with using gold bars, an exercise machine, and at least three payments of $10,000 to bribe Menendez and his wife, Nadine.
Investigators found about $500,000 in cash and gold bars in Menendez’s home.
The senator said Monday he regularly withdrew money from the bank to keep at home because, growing up as a child of immigrants from Cuba, he learned a culture of fearing government confiscation of private wealth.
Menendez grew up in Union City, N.J.
Menedez donated generously from his U.S. Senate committee to fellow Democrats over the years, including $10,000 to Hassan’s re-election bid last year. He also gave to Democratic Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who have both announced they are donating their $10,000 contributions to charity.
Hassan has not made any such pledge. Asked by NHJournal if she would do the same, Hassan declined to answer.
She also declined to say how much of the $30,800 she received from accused fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried was still in her campaign coffers. She has previously pledged to return that money to SBF’s victims, but instead of writing a check from her cash on hand, she is not returning the money until she raises more money from more donors to replace it.
In April, the Washington Free Beacon reported Hassan’s campaign had given $5,800 of the funds from Bankman-Fried to a victim fund set up by the U.S. Marshals Service but has thus far kept the rest of the money.
Hassan isn’t the only New Hampshire Democrat to call on Menendez to resign.
“I think he should step down. That’s the best move he could make for the institution and people’s confidence in our democracy,” Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) said on WGIR radio Tuesday. “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but I believe there should be a higher standard for members of Congress and the U.S. Senate.”
Calling the charges “very serious,” Pappas added, “There were a lot of facts presented as part of the indictment, and he needs to step aside so the people of his state can get the representation they deserve, and the U.S. Senate isn’t distracted by him fighting these charges.”
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has declined to comment, citing her position on the Senate Ethics Committee, which could be called upon to pass judgment on Menendez.
“In response to repeated requests from the press, we want to reaffirm that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics does not comment on matters pending before the Committee or matters that may come before the Committee,” the six-member body said in a statement. “Also, absent special circumstances, it has been the long-standing policy of the Committee to yield investigation into matters where there is an active and ongoing criminal investigation or proceeding so as not to interfere in that process.”
Menendez insisted he would not resign and accused the Biden Department of Justice of being motivated by racial bigotry.
“It is not lost on me how quickly some are rushing to judge a Latino and push him out of his seat. I am not going anywhere,” he said in a statement.