A $600,000 donation to Sen. Bob Menendez’s campaign in 2012 by a wealthy eye doctor accused of bribing the New Jersey Democrat was six times larger than the next-highest donation, it emerged at his corruption trial Wednesday.
Jake Perry, a fund-raising consultant who works with the senator’s Majority PAC, told a Newark federal jury that the group received a $300,000 check in June 2012 and another one that October — both gifts from West Palm Beach, Fla., ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen.
“How does that $600,000 compare to the other money given?” prosecutor Peter Koski asked Perry.
“It’s six times more than the next-highest donor,” he said.
The feds say the donations were bribes from Melgen because the first one corresponded directly with a meeting Menendez had with a Medicare official to help the eye doctor manage an $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute.
Around the same time the second check was cut, Melgen sent materials about the status of his Medicare case to Menendez and Perry — which Perry said he would pass along to retired Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin.
Harkin testified last week about a “courtesy” meeting he had with Melgen and Menendez in 2011.
“Thank you, you’re the best!!!!” Perry said in an e-mail after Melgen made the second donation.