The New York Times claimed in one of its stories that the inquiry into Robert Menendez and his relationship with a major donor was part of a push by a “partisan cabal”, presumably to smear Menendez. The NLPC attacks this claim noting that it was the NY Times that actually came to them asking for information on the relationship after the FBI raided the house of the donor Melgen, and that the NY Times reporter is misrepresenting facts.
The New York Times has an article today titled, “Inquiry of Democratic Senator Started With Partisan Push.” The story by Eric Lipton describes our success in getting media coverage for our original research about Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and his relationship with a major donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen. Lipton then states that to Menendez and his staff our work is “proof that the news media frenzy focusing on his actions to help a Florida eye doctor is at least in part a political smear.”
The only problem with this story line is that the New York Times approached us shortly before the January 29 FBI raid on Melgen’s eye practice in Florida and asked us if we had any information on Melgen. We did not seek to place it with any news organization because there was (and is) even more to the story, and we were (and are) still researching it.
Since the Times asked for it, we provided what we had at that point, information showing Menendez was using his position as Chair of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere to push a windfall contract for his biggest political and personal benefactor. This information was the basis for the “heart” of a February 1 front-page story titled, “Senator Has Long Ties to Donor Under Scrutiny.”
Now Lipton, in photo, asserts that Menendez is the victim of some kind of “partisan” cabal when it was his own newspaper that sought out the story.
Litpton was well aware of our interactions with other Times reporters because NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm discussed them with him on the phone and during the interview for his story. It appears Lipton’s deliberately misrepresented our relationship with his own employer in order to fit the premise of his story.