New York Rep. Michael Grimm is expected to plead guilty to a single count of tax fraud Tuesday in Brooklyn federal court, a law enforcement official familiar with the case tells NBC 4 New York. Grimm, a Republican who represents Staten Island, was elected to a third term in November.
In April, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), a former FBI agent who's been the subject of a long-time criminal investigation, was indicted on 20 criminal counts including impeding the IRS, conspiracy to defraud the United States, perjury, filing false tax returns, mail fraud, wire fraud, health care fraud, and the hiring of undocumented immigrants.
After surrendering to federal enforcement, the Republican congressman described himself as "a moral man" and the victim of a "political witch hunt." It now appears Grimm has a very different response to the allegations.
That last part is of particular interest since one might ordinarily expect members of Congress facing 20 criminal counts to have trouble with voters back home. Not Grimm, who won re-election by more than 13 points.
Regardless, the road ahead for Grimm is not yet clear. During his campaign, the conservative lawmaker said he'd resign if convicted, and pleading guilty to assorted crimes necessarily comes with a conviction. It's too soon to say what sentencing might look like in this matter, and exactly what the congressman is pleading guilty to -- some reports suggest Grimm has "agreed to plead guilty to a single felony charge of tax evasion" -- but it would be interesting to see how House Republican leaders justify a role for a convicted felon in their caucus.
What's more, let's not forget that this isn't the only investigation in which Grimm is involved.
In the 20-count indictment, the alleged crimes relate to Grimm’s private business ventures -- pre-dating his election to Congress four years ago.
This is worth keeping in mind because the New York Republican is also under investigation for alleged campaign-finance irregularities that occurred during his career on Capitol Hill.
As we discussed a while back, the New York Times ran a report in February 2012 on allegations the congressman 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 earlier this year, the FBI arrested a Grimm fundraiser on charges that she illegally funneled more than $10,000 into his campaign.
All of this is ongoing and has nothing to do with the 20-count indictment Grimm is currently dealing with.