The Department of Justice is preparing to charge Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, with corruption, CNN reported Friday.
According to the news outlet, Menendez is facing allegations that he traded his political influence for perks and favors from a top donor, Dr. Salmon Melgen—an eye doctor and political backer.
While a formal announcement could still be weeks from now, CNN reported that Attorney General Eric Holder has given the green light to move forward with the case before time runs out to pursue some of the charges.
Menendez's office denied any wrongdoing, as the senator has done many times in the past.
"As we have said before, we believe all of the Senator's actions have been appropriate and lawful and the facts will ultimately confirm that. Any actions taken by Senator Menendez or his office have been to appropriately address public policy issues and not for any other reason," Tricia Enright, Menendez's communications director, said in a statement.
Menendez's office has said that Melgen and Menendez's relationship has been longstanding and should not be interpreted as merely a transactional one.
"The Senator has counted Dr. Melgen as one of his closest personal friends for decades. The two have spent holidays together and have gone to each other's family funerals and weddings and have exchanged personal gifts," Enright said. "As has been reported, the start of this investigation is suspect. We know many false allegations have been made about this matter, allegations that were ultimately publicly discredited. We also know that the official investigation of this matter is ongoing, and therefore cannot address allegations being made anonymously."