One might think a former FBI agent and U.S. Marine would be the last person to find himself in the midst of uncomfortable ethical reports. But that’s the position Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. finds himself in. […]
Last month, the New York Times detailed alleged fundraising violations committed by Grimm’s 2010 campaign, accusing the former FBI agent of, among other things, skirting fundraising limits and accepting $5,000 in cash in an envelope.
The New York Times ran another story on Thursday highlighting Grimm’s checkered business record. According to the piece, Grimm entered into a business partnership with a fellow former FBI agent who was indicted on charges of racketeering and fraud. Grimm also once owned a Manhattan restaurant that “has been accused in a lawsuit of cheating its workers and fined by the state for failing to carry workers’ compensation.”
He has also faced questions over his backing of a natural gas pipeline in Queens and subsequently accepting campaign donations from the pipeline’s supporters. And last year, a piece in the New Yorker contained an anecdote suggesting that, during his time with the FBI, Grimm abused his power during a conflict at a nightclub.
For a guy who’s only been in office for a year, this isn’t the right way to get a congressional career off to a good start.
Making matters slightly worse, the Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, who had brought Grimm on as a surrogate, distanced itself from the New York Republican yesterday, dropping him from the surrogate roster and even replacing Grimm as one of Romney’s presidential delegates.
It suggests the allegations against the congressman are at least serious enough to cause discomfort in the party.
The next question is what the House Republican leadership intends to do about it. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) famously pledged a “zero tolerance” approach towards members of his caucus caught up in ethics scandals, but so far, GOP leaders have been reluctant to say much of anything about Grimm’s various controversies.
Cantor told reporters this week he hasn’t spoken to Grimm, while House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) claimed ignorance about the allegations surrounding Grimm. As the controversies grow more serious, party leaders may not be able to keep up this posture much longer.