September 22, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Allegations that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) used his position to serve requests of the Egyptian government in exchange for money and other goods should be thoroughly investigated, the Freedom Initiative said today. If proven true, it would represent a staggering betrayal of his commitment as a public servant and shameless efforts to undermine U.S. interests in favor of Egypt.

According to the three-count indictment, while enriching himself, Menendez used his position to prioritize the wants of Egypt’s corrupt and brutal government and security services. He allegedly endangered the safety of American diplomats and Egyptians working at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, and actively undermined U.S. efforts to seek improvements in Egypt’s human rights record. Throughout this period (from at least 2018 up to and including in or about 2022), the U.S. approved more than $6 billion in military aid to Egypt. During this time, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents were also unjustly detained in Egypt, including U.S. citizen Mustafa Kassem, who died in prison in January 2020. 

In addition to the criminal proceeding in the Southern District of New York, Congress should open its own investigation into the alleged misdealings. Senator Menendez – as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – has a tremendous ability to influence not only US support to Egypt but all US military sales and aid..

In the interim, Congress should immediately place on hold the $235 million in FY22 military aid approved by the Biden administration earlier this month. It should also condition even larger portions of U.S. aid to Egypt in the upcoming FY24 appropriations legislation, and provide for a robust, independent vetting process to ensure that any human rights progress is appropriately detailed.

The indictment alleges significant efforts by the Egyptian government to improperly influence U.S. policy and law. President Biden and his administration should demand an accounting from the Egyptian government and announce a review of the bilateral relationship. 

For more information or to set up an interview with the Freedom Initiative’s executive director Andrea Prasow, contact