Salomon Melgen had a knack for going straight to the top.

He posed for pictures with President Barack Obama, flew Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on his private jet and sought advice on a port security deal from an ex-CIA agent who helped lead the hunt for Osama bin Laden, POLITICO has learned.

Melgen, a wealthy South Florida eye doctor and investor, has seen his flashy forays onto the political stage backfire in spectacular fashion in the past few months. Federal investigators are probing his business dealings. He’s at the center of the controversy over Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

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