Rep. Michael Grimm (from house.gov)
Reports confirm that the FBI is still investigating Congressman Michael Grimm for alleged improprieties during his 2010 campaign fundraising.
The FBI has been talking to former staff members and volunteers who worked on Grimm’s campaign and asking about the funds, according to Politicker.
Earlier this year, Grimm dealt with financial fraud allegations linking his campaign to the congregation of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto. Pinto may have collected illegal political contributions for Grimm through straw donors and extortion, according to the New York Times, which first broke the story.
In the latest round of FBI interviews, anonymous sources said little talk about Pinto came up, according to SI Live:
“They seemed to have an interest in fundraising — who was involved and whether any expenditures were off the books,” said one of those interviewed by the FBI, who requested anonymity in order to speak to the Advance.
… The Advance source said that during his interview there was “very limited” talk about the rabbi and his right-hand man, Ofer Biton, who helped Grimm raise money from the rabbi’s congregation.
But the source said the FBI did ask if he knew the identities of any of the anonymous donors mentioned in the New York Times story in January that first alleged that Grimm raised money illegally.
“We are of course familiar with the FBI inquiry and we welcome the news that it is heading towards completion. We contacted the Justice Department and other appropriate agencies immediately after the false allegations against me first appeared in an irresponsible New York Times story in January,” Grimm said. “I look forward to a speedy resolution and am confident that I will be fully vindicated. I’ve done nothing wrong and any fair and thorough inquiry will come to the same conclusion.”
When asked about the new set of interviews, the FBI declined to comment.
“We’re not going to have any comment on this,” said Peter Donald, a spokesman for the FBI’s New York office.
Grimm’s Democratic opponent in November’s general election, Mark Murphy, used the opportunity to slam Grimm for his mounting legal bills – paid for by campaign funds:
“Michael Grimm’s struggling campaign has amassed more in legal bills 2 months than most Staten Island families earn in 3 years,” Murphy’s campaign manager told City & State. “$321,000 in lawyer’s fees can only mean that the allegations of illegal fundraising are very serious. Mike Grimm will do anything for the special interests that define his legislative record to pay his lawyers, and this debt pushes him further into questionable legal territory.”
(via Bay Ridge Odyssey)