Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has been publicly admonished.
The Senate Ethics Committee has issued a public letter of admonition to the senator after he refused to disclose gifts from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen and allegedly used his job in the Senate to advance Melgen's interests.
Melgen was sentenced to 17 years in prison after swindling $73 million from Medicare, per the Sun Sentinel. Menendez accepted flights and hotel stays from the doctor, and intervened when Medicare discovered it had been overbilled by Melgen, per the letter. A federal judge acquitted Menendez and Melgen on several charges of bribery earlier this year, though the Justice Department said it intends to retry the pair.
Menendez has denied all charges against him and so far, he has escaped severe punishment — until now, with the Senate's stern warning letter. The activist group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington notes that Thursday's note from the Ethics Committee is actually the "harshest thing they've done in years."
It even finishes with this stinger: "Finally, by this letter, you are hereby severely admonished."