The company at the center of the swirling scandal around New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez also handed a plum position to a former staffer of one of the Garden State’s most influential Republicans, The Daily Beast has found.
According to LinkedIn, since 2019, Nicholas D’Alessio has served as managing director of IS EG Halal, the company whose owner Wael Hana the Department of Justice claims served as a cut-out for Egyptian military and intelligence operatives. IS EG holds a hyper-lucrative monopoly on meat imported into Egypt, which a federal criminal complaint asserts helped fund bribes delivered to Menendez in exchange for his support for military aid to the authoritarian regime.
D’Alessio, who has not been charged with any crimes, even features on corporate filings as IS EG’s secretary—right below his indicted boss Hana. New Jersey business filings show he holds the same role at another Hana-controlled company, EG Trade Inc., which operates out of the same Edgewater, NJ address as IS EG.
According to his LinkedIn, D’Alessio has held just three prior positions in his career, none of which involved food or the import/export sector. He was a public relations intern for a year for the New Jersey Devils hockey team, then a supervisor for four years at a security guard company, and then, for more than three years, a field representative in the office of now-retired Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican who exited office just months before D’Alessio landed his current gig.
A descendant of one of New Jersey—and America’s—leading political dynasties, Frelinghuysen’s family has included not just congressmen like himself and his father, but senators and a U.S. Secretary of State. In his last years in office, Frelinghuysen chaired the House’s powerful Appropriations Committee, in charge of funding all foreign and domestic spending programs.
As field representative, D’Alessio’s profile states his duties included “serving as gatekeeper of all direct and indirect access to the Member of Congress,” to “organize and coordinate all district meetings and public appearances,” to “accompany the congressman to meetings and public appearances,” and to “identify and build relationships with local and state government officials.”
Reached by phone, D’Alessio said “no comment” and hung up as soon as this reporter identified himself.
Frelinghuysen, now installed in the D.C. offices of powerhouse legal and lobbying firm Greenberg Traurig, did not respond to repeated questions from The Daily Beast about whether he has had any contact with D’Alessio since leaving the Hill.
As a congressman, Frelinghuysen led a delegation to Egypt in 2015 and advocated the restoration of military aid to the Middle Eastern autocracy despite its crackdown on civil liberties.
On at least one occasion, he warned that then-President Barack Obama’s severing of assistance to the government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi would invite Russia to take a greater role in the country’s affairs. Foreign Agent Registration Act records show that lobbyists for Egypt sought meetings with his office and donated to his campaign. The final budget Frelinghuysen approved on the Appropriations Committee, in 2018, included generous outlays to Cairo.
There is no evidence of any wrongdoing on Frelinghuysen’s part, or that he was ever subject to an influence campaign that the feds allege Cairo targeted at Menendez beginning in 2018.