In the media post-speech nonsense that followed the 2014 State of the Union speech, Congressman Mike Grimm (R-NY) threatened a reporter from local news station New York 1. The threat was caught on video. The congressman said to Michael Scotto, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this fucking balcony.” He continued, “No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.” Mr. Grimm didn’t want to answer questions about an investigation into his campaign fundraising that Mr. Scotto raised. Since he doesn’t want to discuss it, and since he acted like a brownshirt, it’s time to look at the investigation.
Corporal Grimm is a newcomer to Congress, having been elected in 2010 after serving as an FBI agent and US Marine, a Persian Gulf War veteran. He’s also a lawyer and an investment banker. As a businessman, he started Healthilicious, a Manhattan restaurant, and he owns 26% of a biofuels firm in Austin Refuels Transport which he started and where he was CEO. Austin Refuels had 11 safety violations in its first US Department of Transportation inspections beginning in 2011.
In August of 2012, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York acknowledged that the office was investigating Corporal Grimm’s fundraising for the 2010 election. The New York Times published an article based on interviews with followers of an Orthodox rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto that alleged “questionable fundraising” activities. The NYT claims the total amount from these people was $500,000, not all of it kosher and much of it channeled through the rabbi’s aide Ofer Biton. Mr. Biton has since copped a plea on a visa fraud charge, and there was an investigation into accusations that he embezzled millions from the rabbi’s flock.
The NYT story says, “Three of the rabbi’;s followers said in separate interviews that Mr. Grimm or Mr. Biton told them that the campaign would find a way to accept donations that were over the legal limit, were given in cash or were given by foreigners without green cards. Congressional campaigns are not allowed to accept cash donations of more than $100. Foreigners without green cards are barred by law from giving to political campaigns. They are also not allowed to solicit contributions for campaigns.”
To no one’s surprise, Corporal Grimm issued a statement when the article came out that read in part, “Any suggestion that I was involved in any activities that may run afoul of the campaign finance laws is categorically false and belied by my life of public service protecting and enforcing the laws of this country.” Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Now, it is quite possible that the congressman is innocent. It is also quite possible that he took the money and unintentionally violated the law, not appreciating the finer points of New York finance law. After all, this is the same congressman who submitted federal election forms stating that he was in New York Congressional District 13, when redistricting moved him to the 11th.
But that explanation is hard to take when one considers the arrest of a former girlfriend, Diana Durand. New York’s Daily News noted, “She was accused of using so-called straw donors so she could exceed the $4,800 maximum allowable contribution to his campaign. According to the criminal complaint, once she reached the donation limit, she gave money to at least two other people so they could contribute to Grimm.”
Until he starts answering questions like that Mr. Scotto posed, he looks crooked and he acts crooked. The logical conclusion, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is that Corporal Grimm is crooked. Threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony doesn’t change that.