Worst Week in Washington
A weekly award honoring inhabitants of Planet Beltway

Who had the worst week in Washington? Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

Anytime a U.S. senator is forced to go on the record to deny liaisons with Dominican prostitutes, it’s probably not a good week for him.

That’s what happened to New Jersey’s Bob Menendez (D), who, after the FBI raided the office of a donor with whom he had grown close, unleashed this gem of a statement on Wednesday: “Any allegations of engaging with prostitutes are manufactured by a politically-motivated right-wing blog and are false.” Oof.

Worst Week in Washington

Chris Cillizza grants the award to the Democrat, Republican, West Wing dweller, Capitol Hill insider, K Street dealer, business guru, sports hero, think tank scribblers or other inhabitant of Planet Beltway who experienced the absolute worst week.

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The “right-wing blog” to which Menendez was referring is the Daily Caller, which last fall published an article quoting a “high-level government official” in the Dominican Republic alleging that the senator had engaged in sexual relations with prostitutes.

The report also alleged that Menendez traveled with a major Democratic donor named Salomon Melgen to and from the country. Melgen’s offices in Florida were raided by federal officials this past week, and it was revealed that he owes more than $11 million to the IRS.

Menendez’s office, seeking to tamp down the budding controversy, spoke publicly about the senator’s ties to Melgen on Wednesday. A spokesman revealed (better late than never?) that Menendez had written a $58,500 check to Melgen to reimburse the eye doctor for two flightsin 2010 on his private plane and that the two men are friends. All of which, of course, leads to lots of other questions.

The irony is that this happened in a week when Menendez should have been celebrating his ascent to chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and his key role in the immigration reform proposal that emerged from the Senate.

Bob Menendez, for seeing your name in the same headline with “prostitution,” you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

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