A new connections emerged today between the doctor at the center of a controversy surrounding New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D) and Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic Nominee for governor of Virginia.
Menedez has been accused of soliciting prostitutes with the help of Solomon Melgen, a Miami doctor and longtime Democratic a campaign contributor. Menendez denies the accusations.
Melgen is currently under investigation by the FBI, but has not been charged with a crime.
Over the weekend, the Miami Herald, which initially linked McAuliffe and Melgen, outlined the fund raising mechanism Melgen used to support Democratic candidates across the country. While Melgen donated some to candidates directly, the vast majority of his contributions came from his company Vitreo-Retinal Consultants. According to the Herald, some $1.4 million has been spread around the country to Democrats courtesy of the Vitreo-Retinal since 1992. While most of his donations are to Democrats, Melgen has also donated to Republicans, including former President George W. Bush.
Among those benefiting from Vitreo-Retinal's contributions? Terry McAuliffe.
According to VPAP, In 2009 McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign received two separate donations from Melgen's company of $5 thousand each. Those are the only two donations Vitreo-Retinal or Melgen has made to a candidate in Virginia directly.
McAuliffe took in more than $8 million for his failed 2009 bid from hundreds of donors and the Meglen contribution is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of his funding apparatus. McAuliffe had at least 150 donors who contributed at least $10 thousand to his campaign the last go around.
The donation is also insignificant from Melgen's perspective when you consider he donated $700 thousand dollars to the Democratic Senate Campaign's Majority PAC. Money that was largely funneled to support Menendez.
But Republicans, as you might expect, aren't buying that argument.
"These donations speak to a bigger connection between Terry McAuliffe and Dr. Solomon Melgen than just 'playing golf together,' as Chairman McAullife has claimed," said Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins. "Terry McAuliffe owes the voters of Virginia a detailed explanation of his personal and campaign dealings with Melgen."
The McAuliffe campaign remains steadfast in their belief that the connection between Melgen and the Democratic nominee is a thin one.
"If there was any wrongdoing Melgen, needs to be held fully accountable for his actions," said Josh Schwerin, McAuliffe's Press Secretary.