The campaign fundraising questions Congressman Grimm was trying to avoid discussing on Tuesday night have been following him for years. He has long denied wrongdoing, but at Time Warner Cable News reporter Bobby Cuza reports, Grimm has been quiet about some recent developments in the case.
Tuesday night, Congressman Michael Grimm may have inadvertently drawn attention to a topic he doesn’t like much: a years-long federal investigation into his campaign fundraising already highlighted Wednesday by one liberal group.
At issue is whether Grimm solicited and accepted illegal donations from the congregation of an influential Upper East Side rabbi. Grimm has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Q: "You are 100 percent certain that nobody ever contributed above the legal limit, no foreign money made its way into your account, this guy didn’t try and structure money in such a way as to disguise the donors, none of that?"
"Absolutely not to my knowledge, whatsoever," answered Rep. Michael Grimm, R-11th District.
But then this month, a Texas woman named Diana Durand was arrested by the FBI for funneling Grimm's campaign about $10,000 beyond the legal limit.
And last week, the Daily News reported that Grimm himself participated in a practice known as donor swapping, giving to a Congressional candidate in South Dakota in exchange for a donation from one of his associates.
Political consultant Leticia Remauro said, “There’s something going on right now and the congressman is aware of the investigations and the things that are going on with people who he’s been affiliated with, so I think the question that Michael asked was absolutely fair."
“Absolutely, that’s a fair question,” said Grimm.
After initially calling the question disrespectful and a cheap shot, Grimm seemed to change his tune Wednesday, but he has yet to directly address the latest developments in the case.
The House Ethics Committee is also prepared to look into Grimm’s campaign fundraising but has deferred any action until federal prosecutors wrap up their investigation.
As for Diana Durand, described in some reports as Grimm's one-time girlfriend, though he hasn't commented on their relationship. She’s due in federal court in Brooklyn February 12.