Feb 17, 2012

When Will Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor Follow Romney’s Lead on Scandal-Plagued Grimm?

Today’s New York Times reports that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has dropped Congressman Michael Grimm as a surrogate amid “scrutiny over his business dealings and campaign fund-raising.”

Despite Republican leaders’ “zero-tolerance” pledge on ethics, House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Leader Eric Cantor have been silent about the expanding scandals and investigations into Congressman Grimm.

“Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor have remained silent as the facts about Congressman Grimm’s questionable past and possibly illegal fundraising continue to mount,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Speaker Boehner and Leader Cantor have to decide if they’ll follow Mitt Romney in dropping Michael Grimm or whether their pledge of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on ethics means absolutely nothing.”

Grimm is also a Regional Chairman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Background

Romney Campaign Distances Itself From Congressman. “Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign distanced itself on Thursday from Representative Michael G. Grimm of Staten Island, a charismatic freshman Republican who has stumped for Mr. Romney but is now facing scrutiny over his business dealings and campaign fund-raising.” [New York Times, 2/17/12]

Grimm Accused of Illegal Fundraising Practices. In January 2012, the New York Times reported that Grimm had allegedly engaged in illegal fundraising practices during his 2010 campaign, including taking contributions in excess of federal limits, taking contributions from foreign nationals, and setting up “straw donors.” The charges stem from Grimm’s efforts to raise money from the followers of prominent Orthodox rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto – all with the assistance of Pinto aide Ofer Biton, who is now the target of a federal embezzlement investigation. The report was based on findings from more than 15 interviews with Pinto followers and close scrutinization of Grimm’s campaign finance records. [New York Times, 1/27/12]

Grimm’s Sleazy Business Background. In February 2012, the New York Times uncovered Grimm’s questionable business dealings, which are at odds with his straight-laced public image. According to the report, these activities included: (1) entering into business with a convicted felon; (2) misrepresenting his employment at a Wall Street firm that had been repeatedly sanctioned for gouging customers; and (3) operating a restaurant that did not carry workers’ compensation insurance and was accused of cheating employees. [New York Times, 2/15/12]

Grimm: NRCC Regional Chair. In March 2011, the National Republican Congressional Committee named Grimm to the committee’s leadership team as a Regional Chair. Grimm was assigned to oversee Region 10, which was comprised of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.  [NRCC Press Release, 3/02/11]


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