Yesterday, Politicker’s Colin Campbell broke the news that the FBI is apparently continuing its investigation into allegations of illegal fundraising during Congressman Michael Grimm’s 2010 campaign.
The report states that the FBI “has been speaking to at least one individual” connected to Rep. Grimm. The individual in question, speaking with Campbell on the condition of anonymity, confirmed rumors to that effect.
A New York Times story from January of this year drew attention to followers of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, who allege that Grimm – along with Ofer Biton, a former aide to Rabbi Pinto – illegally raised funds using methods that included strong-arm tactics such as extortion.
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.
A statement put out by a lawyer for the the Grimm campaign continued to deny any wrongdoing.
“We are of course familiar with the FBI inquiry and we welcome the news that it is heading towards completion,” Grimm – a former FBI agent – said in the statement. “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.”
The investigation appears as a possible explanation for extremely large sums of money the Grimm camp has allocated towards legal fees since April 1 – totaling $321,000, according to City and State.
Grimm’s Democratic opponent Mark Murphy’s campaign had previously used strong language to address Grimm’s unusually high legal fees.