By NEIL VIGDOR
Chris Murphy is standing by his embattled Senate colleague Bob Menendez, for now.
Murphyâ€™s campaign accepted a $5,000 contribution June 29 from the New Millennium PAC of Menendez, a fellow Democrat who is now on trial for corruption in his home state of New Jersey.
Federal prosecutors allege Menendez accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in trips, other lavish gifts and political cash from a donor pal, for whom they say the senator did recurring favors, including offering help to settle a $8.9 million Medicare debt for overbilling.
Menendez, a member of the Senate since 2006, has maintained his innocence.
â€śHeâ€™s going to let the legal process play out,â€ť Murphyâ€™s spokeswoman Laura Maloney said when asked if there are any plans to return the $5,000 contribution.
Connecticut Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano has called on Murphy, who is up for re-election in 2018, to divest himself of the money from Menendez.
â€śIf this was anyone else, he would be screaming from the rooftops,â€ť Romano said.
National Republicans, meanwhile, are calling for Menendez to resign from the Senate, which would allow New Jerseyâ€™s GOP governor, Chris Christie, to pick a replacement. The GOP holds a 52 to 48 seat advantage at the moment in the chamber.
â€śUltimately, I think that the evidence is, if not criminal, itâ€™s definitely suspicious with regards to ethical lines,â€ť Romano said. â€śDemocrats love to blur ethical lines.â€ť
At least five other Senate Democrats accepted money from the Menendez political action committee.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.