Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery County) have joined the chorus of Democrats calling on Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) to resign in the wake of federal bribery and corruption charges.
However, Casey is keeping some of the campaign cash he received from Menendez in the past.
In a statement Tuesday, Casey called serving in the U.S. Senate “a sacred trust.”
“The specific allegations outlined in the federal indictment indicate to me that Sen. Menendez violated that trust repeatedly. While he is entitled to the presumption of innocence, serving in public office is a privilege that demands a higher standard of conduct. Sen. Menendez should resign.”
A majority of U.S. Senate Democrats now say Menendez should step down, though the top Democrat — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) continues to stand by the embattled senator.
Menendez, who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, is accused of pressuring several government agencies to help his business associates. Those associates, many with interests in Egypt, allegedly bribed him with cash, a sports car, an apartment, and even gold bars. Investigators found about $500,000 in cash and gold bars in Menendez’s home.
The senator insists he will not resign, saying he regularly withdrew money from the bank to keep at home because, growing up as a child of immigrants from Cuba, he learned a culture of fearing government confiscation of private wealth.
Menendez grew up in Union City, N.J.
Menedez donated generously from his U.S. Senate committee to fellow Democrats over the years, including $26,500 to Casey throughout three previous campaigns. On Tuesday, Casey announced he would be donating Menendez’s most recent donation of $10,000 to an “unspecified charity,” according to The Hill, but he was keeping the rest.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee cried foul.
“Bob Casey said he’s only giving back some of the money he received from corrupt Bob Menendez,” the NRSC said in a statement. “Why is Casey keeping $16,500 if he thinks Menendez’s money is dirty?”
Republicans have begun referring to Menendez as “Gold Bar Bob” in reference to the bullion found in his home.
The Pennsylvania Democrat is seeking a fourth term in the U.S. Senate next year.
Another recipient of Menendez money is Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who received $5,000 for his 2022 campaign. Fetterman was the first member of the U.S. Senate to call for Menendez to resign over the most recent charges. A Fetterman spokesperson told The Messenger, “We are in the process of returning the money in envelopes stuffed with $100 bills.”
“Sen. Menendez should resign,” Fetterman posted on social media. “He’s entitled to the presumption of innocence, but he cannot continue to wield influence over national policy, especially given the serious and specific nature of the allegations.
“I hope he chooses an honorable exit and focuses on his trial.”
This is not the first time the New Jersey politician faced a federal indictment. A mistrial was declared in 2017 when a split jury failed to convict him on corruption charges.
New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim (D) has already declared he will run against Menendez in the 2024 primary.
“After calls to resign, Sen. Menendez said, ‘I am not going anywhere.’ As a result, I feel compelled to run against him. Not something I expected to do, but N.J. deserves better. We cannot jeopardize the Senate or compromise our integrity,” Kim posted on X.