For the first time since the conviction of Alaska's former Senator Ted Stevens was overturned, the Department of Justice has filed bribery charges against a sitting member of the Upper House. The case is also the first to involve a super PAC. New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez has stepped down as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but he's vowing a fight over a 22-count indictment accusing him of accepting bribes in exchange for official favors. Expressing outrage at the Department of Justice for basing the investigation on "false allegations," he vowed, "I will not be silenced. I'm confident that the end of the day I will be vindicated and they will be exposed."
Melanie Sloane is a former federal prosecutor and a former member of the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which called attention to Menendez and his co-defendant, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. She's now with Triumph Strategies, a public affairs and crisis communications firm.