Menendez said he had received permission to enter into the lease in 1994 from MarkDavis of the House Ethics Committee.
But a Capitol Hill publication said Davis didn’t work therethen and he couldn’t be questioned about it because he died the year before. A Menendezspokesman said it must have been someone else who gave permission.
Bob Perry, the Texas tycoon who helped finance the “Swift Boat” ads againstDemocratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, funded a TV ad for the New Jersey Senaterace that showed a mobster in a black leather jacket talking on a cell phone in an alley. “We gota problem . . .our boy down in Washington, Bob Menendez, he’s caught in this federalinvestigation . . . right . . . feds start looking into these fixed contracts, badabing, we’re in butdeep.”
At a convention of Democrats in Atlantic City, Menendez accused Kean of working withChristie. “Tom Kean Jr.’s entire playbook has been straight out of the Bush-Rove playbook andnow’s he’s even gotten the U.S. attorney involved.”
U.S. senator Frank Lautenberg, no friend of Christie’s then or as governor,called the probe “quite a coincidence. The timing raises a question mark.”
Corzine said it wasunfair to publicly reveal subpoenas sixty days before an election. Christie said sixty days hadbeen his office’s informal rule since before his arrival; the calendar showed the Menendezsubpoena dropped just a few days before that deadline. “Every year we have elections in NewJersey. If I shut us down for a longer period, we’d be in the freezer half the year,” said Christie.
Lautenberg and Menendez didn’t like Christie, and when they announced their supportof the nomination of Paul Fishman to replace him as U.S. attorney in 2009, a slap in Christie’sface was included. Menendez said the office should spend more time pursuing gangs, whichsome took to mean less time chasing political crooks. Fishman immediately made a fool of himself by saying he didn’t think New Jersey had a corruption problem and that referring to thestate in that way was demoralizing. A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released in November 2009 showed65 percent of state residents thought there was “a lot” of political corruption and 26 percentthought there was “some.”Fishman himself had a tangled history with public figures that on occasion affected hisrole. As a private attorney, Fishman represented Corzine’s former girlfriend and union leaderCarla Katz and developer Encap Golf Holdings, both of which were investigated by Christie’soffice. The U.S. attorney in New York had to take over the Encap probe after Fishman recusedhimself.