Updated at 5:42 p.m.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) is seeking help in Washington as he faces allegations about personal improprieties, assembling a damage-control team that includes at least two lawyers and a consultant who served as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.'s top spokesman.
Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has enlisted McDermott Will & Emery partner Stephen Ryan, Perkins Coie partner Marc Elias and Vianovo partner Matthew Miller, the former Justice Department spokesman, according to news reports.
Ryan, a veteran lobbyist, leads the government strategies practice group at McDermott. Elias heads the political law practice at Perkins Coie.
Through McDermott spokesman Chad Torbin, Ryan declined to comment. And neither Elias nor Miller was immediately available for comment.
News reports emerged late last year alleging that Menendez had sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic after visits to the Caribbean nation using the private jet of Florida eye surgeon Salomon Melgen, a friend and donor. Menendez didn't pay for two round-trip flights on the jet in 2010 until this year. In January, the FBI and U.S. Health and Human Services investigators raided Melgen's office.
Ryan, Miller and Elias all have ties to Menendez. Elias successfully defended Menendez in a 2010 New Jersey Supreme Court case nullifying the application of state recall laws to U.S. senators, while Ryan and Miller were donors to Menendez's 2012 senatorial campaign.
Menendez's 2012 campaign received at least $1,000 from both Ryan and Miller, Federal Election Commission records show. Ryan also co-hosted a breakfast fundraiser for the senator at McDermott's Washington office in 2011, according to an invitation obtained by the Sunlight Foundation's Political Party Time website. McDermott was the 14th biggest contributor to Menendez from 2007 to 2012, raising $37,325 for the senator, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
"Bob Menendez has been a friend and a mentor for years," Miller told Politico this month. "And like a lot of people, I want to do anything I can to help fight these ridiculous smears."