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Latest defense fund for Sen. Bob Menendez reports $274,500 in donations

New Jersey Democrat, now facing criminal charges, opened the fund in July

According to a report, donors to Sen. Bob Menendez’s new legal defense fund include political action committees, a maritime union, individuals from his home state and others.
According to a report, donors to Sen. Bob Menendez’s new legal defense fund include political action committees, a maritime union, individuals from his home state and others. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Supporters of Sen. Bob Menendez gave $274,500 to the New Jersey Democrat’s new legal defense fund through the end of September, a report filed with the Senate Office of Public Records on Monday states.

Menendez opened the trust in July, and he and his wife, Nadine, were indicted on federal bribery charges on Sept. 22 and on an additional charge last week. The Senate filing for the third quarter of 2023 is the first public disclosure of donations to that fund.

The report shows donors include political action committees, a maritime union, individuals from his home state and others. The fund spent $55,208, of which $50,000 went for legal services at Schertler Onorato Mead & Sears, the law firm that represents Nadine Menendez.

Individuals and organizations are capped at giving a maximum of $10,000 in a fiscal year to the trust. Donors who hit that limit include David Barry, who runs a residential real estate company in Hoboken, N.J., and Michael Barry, the CEO of a Hoboken real estate development company. Both have contributed to Menendez’s campaigns on a consistent basis.

Menendez and a House member have donated to the fund through leadership political action committees. New Millennium PAC, a leadership PAC sponsored by Menendez, gave $10,000. VIBE PAC, tied to Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., provided $5,000. William Tambussi of Brown and Connery LLP, a law firm in Westmont, N.J., gave the maximum.

The International Longshoremen’s Association COPE, a large union based in North Bergen, N.J., that represents maritime workers, donated $10,000.

George Norcross, a longtime leader in South Jersey Democratic politics and the brother of Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J., gave Menendez $10,000. George Norcross gave $10,000 to Menendez’s first legal defense fund back in 2015.

Menendez previously fought federal corruption charges tied to accepting bribes in return for promoting the interests of his friend, Salomon Melgen, but the trial ended in a mistrial. His legal expense trust for that case, which was established in 2014 and terminated in 2019, raised $5.16 million, all of which was depleted.

Philip Sellinger, currently the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, had given to Menendez’s first legal expense fund with $30,000 over three years when he was at the law firm Greenberg Traurig. Sellinger is not on the list this time.

Herb Jackson contributed to this report.

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