From conversations in and around Congressman Michael Grimm’s orbit, The Politicker has learned the FBI has been speaking to at least one individual about fundraising allegations against his 2010 campaign in the last couple weeks. One such person, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, confirmed that the FBI reached out to him to inquire on the matter.
This continues a New York Times story from earlier this year when the publication reported Mr. Grimm used a combination of straw donors and extortion to illegally raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaign. However, very little until now occurred in subsequent developments outside of an Associated Press report in early March that the FBI was “considering whether to open an investigation” into his fundraising.
“We are of course familiar with the FBI inquiry and we welcome the news that it is heading towards completion,” Mr. Grimm, a former FBI agent himself, said in in a statement provided by his campaign’s lawyer. “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. 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.”
This development could be related to the hefty legal bills — to the tune of $321,000 — Mr. Grimm’s campaign shelled out since April 1st, even though the Times first broke the news in January.
Mr. Grimm currently running for reelection against Democrat Mark Murphy, whose campaign latched onto the previous news of his campaign’s legal fees with sharp rhetoric.
“Michael Grimm’s struggling campaign has amassed more in legal bills 2 months than most Staten Island families earn in 3 years,” Mr. 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.”
The FBI declined to comment on this story.