Assemblywoman DeCroce: Menendez Should Resign His Senate Seat

Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce

PARSIPPANY — Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R- Morris, Essex Passaic) has added her voice to the growing number of New Jersey officials who believe U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) should resign following a Senate Ethics Committee denunciation of Menendez’s action.

“I do not come to this position easily,” said DeCroce of her decision to ask Menendez to step down. “But it is difficult to see how Senator Menendez can be an effective representative for New Jersey when he is going to be measured by his ethical lapses for years.”

The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee severely admonished Senator Menendez for accepting gifts from a wealthy doctor while using his position as a senator to promote the doctor’s personal and financial interests. The committee also ordered Menendez to repay the market value of all improper gifts he has not already repaid.

“His conduct was reprehensible and the sanction by the Senate Ethics Committee  – and his indictment – will be a cloud over Mr. Menendez’s head for the rest of his career,” said DeCroce, who also serves as Assistant Minority Leader in the state Assembly.

“New Jersey needs strong and respected representation in Washington and I don’t see how he can provide either. For the good of the state residents, Mr. Menendez should step aside and give voters the chance to select a new person to represent them in the U.S. Senate,” said DeCroce.

Mendez’s federal trial on corruption charges last year ended in a hung jury.

According to published reports the Senate Ethics Committee’s letter of admonition to Menendez acknowledged that the trial “did not result in a conviction,” but wrote, “The criminal system, however, neither enforces nor supplants the Senate’s rules or standards of conduct, and the committee’s action stands independent from that result.”

The committee’s three Republicans and three Democrats found that from 2006 to 2013, Mr. Menendez “knowingly and repeatedly accepted gifts of significant value from Dr. Melgen without obtaining required committee approval” and “failed to publicly disclose certain gifts as required by Senate rule and federal law.” The gifts included private flights and nights at luxury hotels, among them a villa in the Dominican Republic.