WASHINGTON — US military assistance to Egypt is facing increased scrutiny following allegations that Sen. Bob Menendez used his influence in Congress to secretly aid the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Human rights groups say the charges against Menendez, if true, have tainted aid dollars approved by the administration earlier this month. Speaking on condition of anonymity, two congressional sources told Al-Monitor that Democratic offices are discussing options, including placing a hold on a recently greenlit tranche of military aid to Egypt.
The longstanding US partner in the Middle East has been among the biggest recipients of American security assistance since the 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. That provision of aid — to the tune of roughly $1.3 billion per year — has continued despite the country’s poor record on human rights.
On Friday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged Menendez and his wife, Nadine, with accepting bribes including cash, gold bars and a Mercedes-Benz convertible in exchange for using the 69-year-old senator's office “in ways that benefited the government of Egypt.”