Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 20, 2014

Menendez Daughter Had Advice for the Scandalized

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., has his hands full these days, with a burgeoning scandal surrounding his friend and political donor, Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, as well as scrutiny of the senator’s own travel and leisure activities in the Dominican Republic.

But maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t be in this mess if he had paused to read a blog post his daughter Alicia published on the Daily Grito in June 2011.

The post, uncovered by the blog Life on the Hill News, is an open letter to a generic embattled politician brought down by scandal.

“So you’ve found yourself embroiled in a scandal, huh?” Alicia Menendez wrote. “In a perfect world we’d rewind to before this ever happened, when you were just some up and comer who was running for city council or state assembly,” she continued. “I’d tell you to make a list of your real, true friends. No big donors. No one who trades your name like a baseball card. No one who is more invested in you, the mighty and powerful than in the real you. My instinct is to tell you that that person is someone from your childhood, someone who knew you when you were still wearing bad suits and actually eating the chicken dinners they serve at political functions.”

The Daily Grito, which Alicia Menendez helped found, is now part of Politic365.com. Curious, though. When HOH went to look at Daily Grito online, all we were treated to was a white page, the sign of the taken-offline. HOH accessed her post via the Wayback Machine, which takes handy snapshots of the entire Internet. The Daily Grito does have a Facebook page, though, which flies under the banner: “From the barrio to the Beltway, we cover media, politics, and culture from a Latino perspective.” Alicia Menendez now works at the Huffington Post.

“Unfortunately we can’t rewind and so instead you look around and realize you’re surrounded by broken toys,” she continued in her June 2011 post. “There is plenty of interest in protecting power, but a person? It’s secondary. … Even well-intentioned people conflate the title with the person and do everything they can to help the latter retain the former. John Edwards relied on Fred Baron. John Ensign relied on Tom Coburn. In both cases, the cover-ups the friends engaged in ended up being more damaging than the original transgression.”

Finally, she wrote, “A real friend will help you tell the truth, stand beside you while you tell it and help you pick up the broken pieces of your life when things fall apart. Who is that person for you?” she asked. “Pick up the phone and give them a call.”

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