Media scrutiny of the HSBC money-laundering scandal has died down, but I am not letting Sen. Robert Menendez (D) -- who represents me here in New Jersey -- nor any other congressional recipients of the disgraced bank's political action committee's generosity off the hook.
Despite calling -- as a journalist -- the leadership of the House Financial Services and the Senate Banking committees, until today only one member responded. And the spokesman for that one leader (one of the few who has not gotten or taken a penny from the HSBC PAC in fifteen years) -- declined comment.The rest have remained steadfastly silent.
Today, however, Sen. Menendez had this to say in response to my questions, "In light of HSBC's dealing with Mexican drug lords and suspected Iranian terrorist supporters, what do you plan to do with the bank PAC donations you have received over the years? Will you reject future offers?"
Dear Mr. Peacock :
Thank you for contacting me regarding an issue with my re-election campaign.
As you may know, I am currently up for re-election to the United States Senate, with the election taking place on November 6, 2012. While I would like to respond to your inquiry, I am legally prohibited from discussing any activity related to a political organization, such as my re-election campaign, with official Senate resources. As such, I would encourage you to contact my campaign with your inquiry.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not he sitate to contact me if I may be of further assistance. I invite you to visit my website http://menendez.senate.gov to learn more about how I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.
Robert Menendez, United States Senator
He says he cannot comment, yet tells me to contact his campaign for a comment? How frustrating. I will not accuse Menendez, however, of using the upcoming re-election campaign as an excuse to continue his silence, as indeed I am aware there are such restrictions as he claimed. Still, if the Menendez campaign remains mute on the matter through November, the senator risks jeopardizing what's left of his integrity and reputation.
In the meantime, dear citizens, please sign the petition urging the HSBC PAC congressional recipients to diverst themselves of those tainted campaign contributions. Please take action now.
-- Steve Peacock