Friday, December 4, 2009

What itches Robert Menendez? Edision Lobby Dollars & Indian Hotel Owners Association

One of the most active Indophiles on the hill is Senator Robert Menendez-- one of the main pillars of the Indian Caucus in the US Congress. He is always votes Pro-India and Anti-Pakistan. There is no sense of bias from this long standing Senator from New Jersey—which has the active support of the more than 300,000 Indians living in the Edison/Piscataway area of New Jersey. The Indian Hotel Owner’s Association also supports him in many ways—mostly with Dollars.

Robert Menendez, New Jersey’s junior senator, was appointed by Gov.  Jon Corzine in January 2006 and won election to a full term 10 months later. He is of Cuban descent, grew up in Union City, America’s most densely populated city (in 2000 it had 60,000 people in 1.3 square miles), and got into politics early.

There is no way to convince Mr. Menendez. In fact it would be strange if Mr. Memendez says anything good about Pakistan. He makes the most vitriolic and acidic statements against Pakistan. The only option is to intellectually challenge his claptrap, and to expose the motives of his irrational positions. Mr. Menedez is a Democrat, however he does not support the policies of the Democratic Party—he is more beholden to the Dollars coming from Indian lobbies. Mr. Menendez is an American, however he does not vote for what is good for the USA—his loyalties are tied not tot he star spangled banner—but to the Tri-Star that helps him get elected every few years.

The US India Political Affairs Committee, which liaises with the India Caucus in the US Congress, now works closely with the largest caucus in the House. The objective of the USINPAC is to see that the India caucus proactively engages with the Indian American community. Such a call was issued during the occasion of the first India Caucus Day organized by USINPAC at Capitol Hill on February 13.

USINPAC organized India Caucus Day to promote the development of a concerted plan to address the issues that concern the Indian American community. These issues include business, national and international security issues. Talks were held with the newly appointed co-chairs of the Caucus, Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Joe Wilson (R-SC), as well as with Ed Royce (R-CA) and Jim McDermott (D-WA), the past co-chairs. Ramtanu Maitra crowing about Indian Diaspora gains muscle in Washington in Asia Times in 2003. 

His statement about Pakistan is beyond comprehension. Pakistan was the founding member of SEATO and CENTO. If Mr. Menendez knew any history, he would discover that while Pakistan was defending the free world, his favorites in Delhi were supporting the USSR. It is also incredible that Mr. Menendez—always ready to believe conspiracy theories about Pakistan—never quite knows the facts about Islamabad. Pakistan is a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA). If this is not a strategic relationship, what is?

An influential democratic senator on Friday said that Islamabad was not interested in developing a strategic relationship with the Obama administration in tackling terrorism and is interested only in money and weapons that came through the unconditional aid granted by the US. “I get no sense that we have a Pakistan strategy. We have been talking about offering them a strategic relationship. They don’t seem to want a strategic relationship,” Senator Robert Menendez said at a hearing on Afghanistan convened by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “They want the money, they want the equipment, but at the end of the day, they don’t want a relationship that costs them too much,” Menendez said. Menendez, who is a vocal critic of Obama Administration’s policy on Pakistan, also opposed the idea of providing unconditional aid to the Islamic republic. “It seems to me the more we build up our troops in Afghanistan, the more reliant we become on the Pakistanis for -- in a variety of ways. So I just don’t get the sense, at this point in time, of a comprehensive policy that says that I should vote for billions of dollars more to send our sons and daughters in harm’s way in a way that we will ultimately succeed in our national security goals,” he said. He said that any aid to Pakistan needs to be conditional and be linked with Islamabad’s seriousness and progress made by them in taking action against terrorism. “I hope I can be convinced before that vote comes. But as of right now, I am not,” said Menendez who has authored several legislations and amendments in the US Congress in this regard.

Mr. Menendez should apologize for his comments. He should stop worshipping the Indian Ganesh and halt worship of the Delhi Shiva Lingum (Phallic God)—he should represent all the people of New Jersey—not just those who support Fascist murderers like Narendar Modi (See Indian American Hotel Association’s links to Gujrat pogroms which killed 2000 innocent civilians)

The Indian lobbies are coordinating their efforts with AIPAC.

That the USINPAC is not anti-Pakistan and the AIPAC's support is merely coincidental is not accepted by the Pakistan lobby. Faiz Rehman, the president of the 3,500-member National Council of Pakistani America who looks after Pakistan's interests on the Hill, claims "the alliance is specifically aimed at Pakistan, aimed at harming Pakistan's interests in this country". … Referring to the AIPAC's support lent to the amendment proposed by Ackerman, Puri says that the Jewish groups campaigned on behalf along with USINPAC not because they have any interest in Kashmir, but because they support India's concern about cross-border terrorism.

The pro-Israeli PACs are linked to a single lobbying group, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which guides them on policy issues, alerting them of any plan organized by House members on any issue that may affect Israel's interest. Campaign donations from the Jewish community to any candidate depend to a large extent on where the candidate stands vis-a-vis Israel.

The Indian Diaspora, impressed that AIPAC makes this work in a democracy as complex and powerful as the US, actively sought to replicate the feat. In the past year the American Jewish Committee has held two training sessions in New York, showing the ropes of grass-roots lobbying to about 80 Indian Americans from around the country. Many are blunt about their desire to emulate American Jewish groups.

Watching how the AIPAC functions, and learning by joining hands with the group, USINPAC, Indian Americans' first clearing house for political contributions, has begun to move forward. The money supported seven politicians this past election on the basis of their stand on immigration policy, relations with India and policies affecting Indian Americans in a post-September 11 scenario. USINPAC gave more than $50,000 in campaign donations to the selected politicians, and six of them won.

And then Mr. Zardari says that “India is not our enemy”.

Mr. Menendez has not been very successful in halting aid to Pakistan. In fact his efforts have actually backfired—as evidenced by the Pakistani reaction to the Kerry Lugar Bill. Mr. Menendez went on the defensive then. here is Senator Corker defending US action and the language of the Kerry Lugar bill

`I assure you that language in Defense Authorization Bill that we put in place has nothing to do with any kind of micromanagement or interference in Pakistani affairs. The way we work in our own legislature, you know, we have, if you will, a balance of power on our own government. When we authorize the money, we want to make sure that it is utilized in ways that we direct them. ``This has nothing to do with India. It's nothing to do with Pakistan-India relationship. It (reporting requirement) has nothing to do with trying to interfere with how Pakistan is dealing with its neighbors or what Pakistan is doing with its own funding in its country,'' Corker said.

Here is a selected sampling of how Americans view the voting record of Senator Menendez. The votes are out of a possible 100

Mr. Menendez has had political scandals but has been able to survive them.

In the wake of a series of congressional scandals, congressional ethics played a prominent role in the 2006 elections; Kean attempted to capitalize by reminding voters of Menendez’s influence in Hudson County, which has been long associated with political corruption. Two months before the election, Christopher Christie, New Jersey’s U.S. attorney and a Republican appointee, subpoenaed records from a lease arrangement between Menendez and the North Hudson Community Action Corp. The non-profit group, which received federal funding backed by Menendez, paid Menendez more then $300,000 over nine years to rent a building he owned in Union City

According to Source watch—he is under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office.

Bob Menendez is under federal investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, N.J. Specifically, investigators are examining whether Menendez had an improper financial relationship with the North Hudson County Action Corp., a non-profit organization in Union City, N.J. Menendez leased a house to the group from 1994-2003. During this period, in which he was a member of the House, Menendez received more than $300,000 from the organization in rent payments. In 1998, Menendez helped the agency win designation as a federally qualified health care center, a title that made it eligible for federal health care grants. In the eight years that followed this designation, the agency collected $9.6 million in federal grants. Menendez has noted that before renting out the house in 1994, he obtained clearance from the House Ethics Committee. He has also stated that there was nothing improper about his actions because he never negotiated directly with agency officials and the organization paid slightly below-market rent for the house. Menendez was elected to his own Senate term in November 2006 when he defeated Republican Tom Kean. Source Watch

It is hard to see the actual faces of the contributors to Mr. Menendez. We will continue to investigate and report on his campaign financing

  • Election Cycle 2008
  • Total Income $14,241,214
  • Total Spent $15,366,664
  • Cash On Hand $561,291
  • Debt $0

Source Updated 12/31/2008

Top Contributors
  • Lowenstein, Sandler et al $96,850
  • Goldman Sachs $90,500
  • Langan Engineering & Environmental $59,675
  • UBS AG $55,650
  • Waters McPherson McNeill $55,600
  • Greenberg Traurig LLP $52,397
  • J Fletcher Creamer & Son $47,100
  • Prudential Financial $47,000
  • Decotiis, Fitzpatrick et al $45,500
  • Medina Consultants $40,800

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The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families.

Top Sectors
  • Finance/Insur/RealEst $1,742,502
  • Lawyers & Lobbyists $1,669,791
  • Construction $1,148,100
  • Misc Business $776,320
  • Ideology/Single-Issue $655,245
  • Other $567,801
  • Health $421,600
  • Communic/Electronics $291,160
  • Energy/Nat Resource $184,650
  • Transportation $150,850

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Top Industries
  • Lawyers/Law Firms $1,461,891
  • Real Estate $859,580
  • Construction Services $524,900
  • Securities & Investment $433,250
  • General Contractors $409,700
  • Retired $251,515
  • Business Services $236,274
  • Democratic/Liberal $229,000
  • Health Professionals $211,950
  • Lobbyists $207,900

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The only way to change the situation is to launch a concerted American grass-roots effort in New Jersey to over run the propaganda stemming from the office of, and directed by Mr. Memndez

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