NJ Politics Digest: Menendez Aide Testifies About Undisclosed Gifts

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez Alyana Alfaro for Observer

A top aide to Sen. Bob Menendez testified Wednesday that he didn’t think the senator needed to disclose gifts from his top donor, Salomon Melgen, because they were close friends, according to reports.

In addition to bribery charges, Menendez is accused of making false statements for failing to report flights on Melgen’s jet and other gifts on Senate ethics forms. Robert Kelly, Menendez’s deputy chief of staff, helped prepare the disclosure forms and said he thought Melgen’s gifts didn’t need to be reported due to a “friendship exemption,” according to the Associated Press. But prosecutors noted such an exemption didn’t exist on the disclosure forms.

Democrat Phil Murphy is up by 20 points in the New Jersey governor’s race with less than two weeks left until the election, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. The survey showed Kim Guadagno, the Republican nominee, is being dragged down by Gov. Chris Christie, who still has a dismal 15 percent approval rating.

And Murphy has essentially maxed out his fundraising capacity, having pulled in more than $13.8 million. Guadagno has raised roughly $4.35 million.

Quote of the Day: “Someday, somewhere over the rainbow, New Jersey voters will have a choice between two impressive candidates for governor. But not this year.” – The Star Ledger Editorial Board, which made a back-handed endorsement of Murphy for governor.

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NJ Politics Digest: Menendez Aide Testifies About Undisclosed Gifts