Matthew A. Miller, a former chief spokesman for the Department of Justice and a veteran of political combat, has joined the team assembled by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is battling allegations of personal and political misconduct.
“Bob Menendez has been a friend and a mentor for years,” Miller told Politico. “And like a lot of people, I want to do anything I can to help fight these ridiculous smears.”
Miller was chief spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder until stepping down in the summer of 2011 (see Main Justice’s report). Holder described him as one of his “most trusted and tireless advisers,” a man with whom he could discuss the toughest of issues and get honest answers. Miller is a partner at Vianovo, which describes itself as a management consultant and crisis-management group.
Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has also enlisted two lawyers, McDermott Will & Emery partner Stephen Ryan and Perkins Coie partner Marc Elias, Legal Times reported.
“With the unprecedented smear campaign that has been launched against Bob Menendez over the past ten months, it is only prudent that we add resources to our team to fight back,” Menendez’s office said in a written statement.
In 2004, Miller was Florida communications director for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. In 2006, he was communications head for Menendez’s winning campaign for Senate, and two years later he headed communications for the Schumer-headed Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Menendez has been under scrutiny for his close ties to Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye surgeon who has helped raise money to benefit the senator and his Democratic allies, as The New York Times reported after an extensive investigation. Questions have arisen over flights that Menendez took on Melgen’s private jet and about the senator’s efforts to help one of the doctor’s companies.
While the issues are far from resolved, there seems to be no question that the controversy has been fanned by interests that are intent on toppling the senator, as The Times noted recently. Perhaps the most explosive allegations are that Melgen helped procure young prostitutes for the senator — allegations that the senator has denounced as unfounded and untrue.