Uh oh:


A Texas woman who was a fundraiser for Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) has been charged with illegally funneling more than $10,000 to his 2010 campaign, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Grimm has been the target of a federal investigation into his campaign since at least early 2012, but Grimm has denied any wrongdoing. The complaint filed against Durand does not name Grimm or his campaign by name, but "people briefed on the matter" told the Times that "Committee A" and "Candidate A" were in fact Grimm and his campaign. - TPM, 1/14/14

Here's some more info:


The woman, Diana Durand, 47, of Houston, was arrested there on Friday by the F.B.I. on a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Brooklyn charging she used “straw donors” to mask more than $10,000 in illegal donations to Mr. Grimm. She had already donated $4,800, the legal limit.

The three-count criminal complaint also charges her with illegally funneling $4,800 to another congressman and with lying to F.B.I. agents about the donations.

Mr. Grimm, a Republican who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, has been at the center of a federal campaign finance investigation since at least early 2012. Among the points of interest for investigators is that several contributors said Mr. Grimm or his chief fund-raiser told them that his campaign would find ways to accept donations that exceeded legal limits, were given in cash or came from foreigners without green cards.

A central player in the case, a former aide to a charismatic Orthodox rabbi, Yoshiyahu Pinto, pleaded guilty to visa fraud in August. The aide, Ofer Biton, helped direct hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mr. Grimm’s 2009-10 campaign. - New York Times, 1/13/14

Here's some more info:


The fake donor, described as a personal friend of Durand, told authorities that Durand suggested she donate to Grimm’s campaign and that she promised to reimburse her, according to the FBI.

Durand’s attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.

Grimm, a Republican, has not been charged with any wrongdoing. His attorney William McGinley said: "We are saddened that the government took the extraordinary step of arresting a single mother on these allegations, and hope the matter will be resolved quickly. The complaint does not allege any improper conduct by Congressman Grimm, and he denies any wrongdoing.”

The FBI said it has emails Durand wrote about the alleged campaign scheme.

“I was hoping for my birthday you will just let me forget about paying you back …… Just kidding,” Durand allegedly wrote in one.

Prosecutors said she then wrote the donor a check for reimbursement which was cashed on April 6, 2010. - NBC New York, 1/13/14

But of course, Durand isn't the only shady campaign contributor Grimm has the Feds looking closely at:


Durand’s arrest is the latest to result from an ongoing federal probe into Grimm’s 2010 campaign fund-raising. Ofer Biton, an Israeli citizen who helped Grimm raise campaign money four years ago, pleaded guilty on Aug. 18 to visa fraud as a result of the probe.

Biton helped raise up to $300,000 from the Manhattan congregation of an upper East Side rabbi and then illegally funneled the money into Grimm’s campaign.

He got a no-jail deal that entailed three years of supervised release after first refusing to cooperate with the FBI in the probe. - New York Daily News, 1/13/14

Grimm was number one on Mother Jones' 8 Candidates We Can't Believe Are Actually Going to Win in 2012:


Staten Island could really use an effective congressman right now. Instead, New York's 13th congressional district is poised to reelect Grimm, an embattled freshman whose 2010 campaign is now the subject of an FBI investigation into whether Grimm knowingly allowed a fundraiser and an Israeli rabbi to solicit illegal cash donations from foreign nationals. That's not the only stain on his short record: In 2011, Grimm went on a privately funded trip to Cyprus, which he neglected to report in his congressional disclosures until 2012, when his host was arrested on corruption charges. And per the New York Times, Grimm's business partner, Bennett Orfaly, with whom he started a restaurant, allegedly "has ties to a member of the Gambino organized crime family, Anthony (Fat Tony) Morelli, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for racketeering and extortion in an elaborate tax fraud."

Grimm's ethics woes were enough to get him booted from his role as a Romney surrogate, but he's held steady in the polls in New York City's most conservative district. - Mother Jones, 11/6/12

Hopefully this year the cruel hand of fate will finally grab Grimm.  PPP showed that the government shutdown took a big for Grimm in the polls:


Democrats on Monday touted a poll on Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) as good news for their side.

But the Grimm camp said the poll was just fodder for more Democratic talking points.

The poll also touched off a back-and-forth on Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

The poll, by the Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling, showed Grimm with a 45 percent approval rating.

It also showed that if the election was held today, 47 percent would vote for Grimm, while 43 would vote for a generic, unnamed Democrat.

But Grimm lost to the unnamed Democrat, 46 to 45 percent, when respondents were told that he supported the government shutdown.

In the poll, 51 percent said they would be less likely to vote for Grimm knowing that he supported the shutdown.

The poll was one of two dozen compiled by PPP and paid for by the liberal MoveOn.org.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) touted the surveys as proof that the GOP could lose enough seats because of the shutdown to cost Republicans control of the House in 2014.

Ashleigh Owens, a spokeswoman for City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Brooklyn), who is challenging Grimm in next year's elections, said the poll "reflects exactly what we hear on the ground everyday and is why Domenic is running for Congress."

She said, "The voters in this district want a government that works for them to solve problems -- not create them. While Michael Grimm and the Tea Party keep our government closed going into a second week, Domenic is focused on Sandy recovery efforts, creating jobs in the district and fighting to improve our schools." - Staten Island Advance, 10/7/13

If you would like to learn more about Domenic Recchia's campaign, you can go here:

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 08:22 AM PST.

Also republished by New York City and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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