SEPTEMBER 19, 2007
A federal grand jury is investigating whether New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, a former member of the U.S. House, illegally steered lobbying business to his former chief of staff with whom he was also romantically linked.
A close and trusted aide to Menendez while he served in the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2002, Kay LiCausi went on to build an unusually successful lobbying firm in a very short period of time after leaving Congress. In just a few years her firm reported $1.3 million in business with nearly $300,000 coming from a New Jersey medical center that was later awarded government funding thanks to a push from her former boss.
A federal grand jury in Newark recently subpoenaed volumes of financial documents from the medical center to determine of LiCausiâ??s lobbying efforts on behalf of the facility began while she worked for Menendez, a Democrat of Cuban descent with a hard-line stance against Dictator Fidel Castro that has broken with his party.
Authorities are also investigating another suspicious connection between another one of the former Congressional aideâ??s clients and her boss. Several months after the mega cruise line Royal Caribbean hired LiCausi to lobby on its behalf, Senator Menendez announced a whopping $9.5 million federal funding package to repair the shoreline and extend a berth for the companyâ??s ships.
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