Chris Cillizza
Reporter March 15, 2013

Just when he thought he was out, he got pulled back in.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House. View Archive

The “he” is Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is facing a grand jury investigation in Miami into his relationship with wealthy Florida donor Salomon Melgen, who contributed more than $700,000 to the senator and groups supporting him in 2012.

As The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig and Peter Wallstenreported Thursday, “Menendez has intervened in matters affecting the financial interests of Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, seeking to apply pressure on the Dominican government to honor a contract with Melgen’s ­port-security company, documents and interviews show.”

The news of the grand jury investigation of the Menendez-Melgen connection came on the heels of what looked to be a vindication for the senator after reports of a scandal involving Dominican prostitutes; one of the women alleged to have had sex with him recanted her story, insisting that she had been paid to make it up.

But in politics, as in life, pain often follows pleasure. And the news of the grand jury investigation into what Menendez did on behalf of Melgen seems to suggest that the prostitution claims, while salacious, were not at the heart of the matter.

For his part, Menendez said he welcomed the investigation, adding: “I believe, at the end of the day, that my actions have been appropriate.”

Maybe so. But for a man trying to establish himself as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a grand jury investigation can’t be all that welcome.

Bob Menendez, for finding yourself back in the hot seat, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

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