U.S. Sen. Peter Welch, D-VT, has made headlines twice this week. Last night he joined a growing list of Democratic senators calling on a New Jersey Democratic senator charged with corruption, to resign. Earlier, he issued an enthusiastic endorsement of the expansion of the Internal Revenue Service.
As reported in today’s Journal-Opinion newsletter, Welch he called on his colleague Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, to resign in a terse statement issued last night:
“Senator Menendez is entitled to the presumption of innocence. But the people of New Jersey and the United States Senate are entitled to an effective Senator. The shocking and specific allegations against Senator Menendez have wholly compromised his capacity to be that effective Senator.
“I encourage Senator Menendez to resign.”
Welch becomes one of three Senate Democrats to join a growing chorus, according to NBC News. Menendez and his wife face federal corruption charges for their ties to Egyptian businessmen.
The indictment alleges some pretty brazen stuff. Federal agents searched the Menendez home in June 2022 when they found:
“Over $480,000 in cash—much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe—was discovered in the home, along with over $70,000 in NADINE MENENDEZ’s safe deposit box. Some of the envelopes contained the fingerprints and/or DNA of [federal criminal defendant Fred] DAIBES or his driver.”
Menendez allegedly promised to use his influence to disrupt state and federal criminal investigations of the businessmen. He is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee which exercises some authority over the distribution of foreign aid to Egypt.
Welch cheerleading for expanded IRS – In a September 24 press release, Welch also cheered the addition of 1,000 new IRS customer service workers to increase phone call response time and ensure that everyone pays ‘their fair share.’
“For far too long, the IRS has lacked the resources to make sure corporations and the ultra-wealthy are paying their fair share of taxes,” Welch said. “But thanks to funding Democrats passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, that’s going to change. The IRS now has more tools to monitor for potential tax evasion and cheating. The agency has already recovered $38 million from tax evasion, and expects to recover more than $100 billion on behalf of taxpayers over the next ten years. The stronger enforcement from the IRS means more money for the federal programs that Vermonters benefit from.”