When lawmakers try to help out the businesses of their big donors, the typical explanation is I was trying to help a business in my district/state. Sen. Bob Menendez has no such excuse for his interventions on behalf of Palm Beach ophthalmologist and major donor Salomon Melgen.

Melgen has given about $200,000 to Democratic politicians, and has repeatedly flown Menendez on his plane to the Dominican Republic. And in at least two cases, Menendez has used his power as a U.S. Senator to intervene on behalf of Melgen’s business interests.

Menendez intervened in a Medicare billing matter on Melgen’s behalf. And the New York Times reported yesterday that Menendez also intervened to block the U.S. from giving free port security equipment to the Domincan Republic — a gift that would hurt Melgen’s ability to sell such equipment to the D.R.