Bob Menendez’s fundraising drops and legal fees skyrocket amid indictments

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Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., has seen his campaign fundraising plummet and his legal fees skyrocket since he was indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges in federal court in September, according to a new fundraising report.

Menendez, who has denied any wrongdoing, told reporters earlier this month that he has not yet decided if he is running for re-election. But his latest fundraising report shows what a struggle it could be to raise funds for a competitive race.

Menendez raised just $104,000 during the last three months of 2023, according to a report filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. That sum was roughly one-tenth of his haul from the previous fundraising quarter, mostly before he was indicted.

Meanwhile, Menendez’s campaign’s spending on “legal services” skyrocketed in the fourth quarter, up to $2.3 million. That is ten times more than the sum his campaign paid in legal fees throughout the rest of 2023.

Menendez’s legal defense fund has also been building up its coffers since it was formed in July, pulling in nearly $470,000 over the first six months of the year, per a different filing with the Internal Revenue Service. That fund included $30,000 in contributions from members of the influential Norcross family, including a $10,000 donation from George E. Norcross III. Those donations came in August, before Menendez’s indictment in mid-September.

Menendez has drawn two prominent Democratic primary challengers since his indictments: Rep. Andy Kim and Tammy Murphy, who is married to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

Both outraised Menendez in the final fundraising quarter of the year. Kim pulled in nearly $1.8 million, while Murphy raised $3.2 million.

But Menendez still had more money in his account than his primary rivals combined, finishing the year with $6.2 million on hand. Both Kim and Murphy reported $2.7 million in their campaign accounts as of Dec. 31.

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