In January, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) came to national attention when he physically threatened a journalist who asked about his campaign-finance scandal. The Republican congressman quickly became known for getting caught, on camera, telling a reporter, “I’ll throw you off this f***ing balcony…. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.”
It now appears, however, it appears Grimm will soon be known for something else.
Rep. Michael G. Grimm is expected to be indicted by the U.S. Attorney in New York, his attorney and a source familiar with the case confirmed to CQ Roll Call. […]The indictment of the New York Republican would come nearly two years after the Justice Department first launched a formal investigation into Grimm’s campaign finances. It began the summer of 2012, several months after revelations first surfaced in a New York Times article that the lawmaker, then a freshman, might have bolstered his first bid for congressional office by filing erroneous campaign finance reports and offering to help get a green card for a non-citizen on condition that the individual help raise money on Grimm’s behalf.
The New York Times and Politico are also reporting on Grimm’s likely indictment. It’s unclear exactly when that indictment will occur, though one report said charges may come “as early as next week.”
Note, NBC News is reporting that law enforcement sources say the charges will likely involve his private business dealings, separate from his time in Congress, and not campaign finance issues, despite what some news outlets have reported.
For those who need a refresher on the timeline of Grimm’s troubles, the New York Times ran a report in February 2012 on allegations the congressman – himself a former FBI agent – skirted fundraising limits and accepted envelopes with cash in them in 2010, during his first campaign. The Times also documented Grimm’s business partnership with a fellow former FBI agent who was indicted on racketeering and fraud charges.
In July 2012, a federal grand jury was convened after the FBI’s public corruption unit interviewed several Grimm campaign workers. A law enforcement source told the New York Daily News at the time, “Let’s say, so far, it is a tool to get people’s attention – that we are serious about our questions about the congressman.”
And in January, the FBI arrested a Grimm fundraiser on charges that she illegally funneled more than $10,000 into his campaign.
The congressman’s attorney, William McGinley, said in a statement:
“After more than two years of investigation plagued by malicious leaks, violations of grand jury secrecy, and strong-arm tactics, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has disclosed its intent to file criminal charges against Congressman Grimm. We are disappointed by the government’s decision, but hardly surprised. From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth.“Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing. When the dust settles, he will be vindicated. Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as a Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent.”
It would appear from this statement that Grimm has no intention of resigning, even if indicted.
What’s less clear is how the House GOP leadership will respond. Remember, shortly before House Republicans won their majority in the 2010 midterms, Eric Cantor acknowledged the GOP congressional scandals from the recent past – several members were indicted during the so-called “Republican Culture of Corruption” era in 2005 and 2006 – but Cantor said similar misdeeds wouldn’t be tolerated going forward.
“I think that as Republicans emerge as a new governing majority, it is incumbent upon us to institute a zero-tolerance policy,” Cantor said at the time, adding that when it comes to transgressions, Republicans have “learned our lesson.”
If the reports are accurate and Grimm is indicted, will the party’s “zero-tolerance policy” be in effect?