Former HHS chief questioned in Menendez ethics probe
The government’s years-long ethic probe into Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) once led investigators to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), its former secretary disclosed Monday.
Former HHS chief Kathleen Sebelius said she was questioned by federal investigators, after Menendez privately urged her to intervene in a multi-million billing dispute with his long-time political benefactor Dr. Salomon Melgen.
Melgen, a Florida eye surgeon, claimed he had been under-billed by Medicare officials over treatment for an eye disease called macular degeneration, according to reports last year by The New York Times.
Sebelius told Politico on Monday that the meeting was “pretty straightforward.”
“We just reiterated what was not new information to the senator, but reinforced the fact that this was the procedure — the rules were clear that they were uniformly administered. And then the meeting ended,” she said.
Menendez sought meetings with federal health officials on behalf of his friend, Melgen, twice in four years, according to the Times.
The investigation into the New Jersey Democrat, currently the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, resurfaced last week after reports that he would soon be facing corruption charges.
Menendez told a mob of reporters on Monday, “I haven’t been charged with anything.”