New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez's political campaign paid a law firm $250,000 in December for legal costs related to Justice Department and Senate Ethics Committee investigations into his ties with a major donor. The Democrat also has set up a legal trust to raise money as the investigations continue.

Sen. Robert Menendez (Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

Menendez is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Disclosure forms filed Friday also show Menendez's campaign paid more than $11,000 for a 2011 flight on the private plane of Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen. Menendez had previously reimbursed Melgen nearly $60,000 for other flights.

Menendez's spokeswoman says Menendez has been fighting a "smear campaign." Tricia Enright says establishing the legal fund is consistent with ethics procedures.

Enright says not disclosing Menendez's previously unacknowledged flight on Melgen's plane was an "oversight."


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