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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

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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Comment Preferences

  •  Is he a Borough Park rep? (I put conservative (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    together with his cronies, and thought YIngermen, so I took a guess.)

    I know SI has some really entrenched con districts, but Brooklyn too?  Oy vey is mir.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 08:28:44 AM PST

  •  I really think SIers vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, ColoTim

    out of spite, or something. This guy -- I live in his district -- has done nothing for the Island.

    Plus he has always been a "tough guy" (pulled on gun on a guy in a bar when he was an FBI agent) and people seem to like that.

    Health insurance is not health care.

    by Jarrayy on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 08:36:49 AM PST

    •  I lived there during the Guy Molinari era. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I had thought NY was a liberal city, but I was proven very wrong, at least as far as Staten Island was concerned.  I think Susan Molinari was a little better, but I can't be sure.

      •  You missed out on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        his successor, this guy:

        James Molinaro. A few months ago he got into a fight with a guy for driving too slow in front of him on Bay Street.

        In my opinion Susan Molinari seemed like a typical opportunist.

        Staten Island is a strange place. I feel like Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas?" applies here. People constantly vote against their interests.

        Health insurance is not health care.

        by Jarrayy on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:37:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Off topic. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        How is Colorado? I have been looking into leaving the NY area and I am curious about how those who left like living where they are now. Thanks.

        Health insurance is not health care.

        by Jarrayy on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:38:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I had San Francisco in between, but I really (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stlsophos, Jarrayy

          love Colorado.  Some of the things I love:

          A newer, younger, more open feeling.  History goes back mostly just 150 years, as compared to 300-400 years in the east.  Just seems that things are newer, less fixed and there are more opportunities.

          I love the open spaces.  I realize the Denver metro area is now 3 million or so, but compared to NYC, that's the size of, say, Brooklyn.  Just a few minutes from town will take you out onto the plains or up into the mountains where you can see wildlife like antelope, elk and buffalo (well, the buffalo are part of a herd owned by Denver, but to city dwellers it looks natural).  Even the woods don't have the dense underbrush that you have in eastern forests so you can see long distances even while hiking.

          I love four seasons, which is something I didn't really experience in San Francisco.  To a New Yorker, it's something you'd probably appreciate as well.

          The air is cleaner out here.  They've done a lot to rid Denver of the brown smog that was present in the 70's and, except for Commerce City, the few noticeable aromas tend to be from agriculture.

          This week starts the Stock show, which had a parade of livestock downtown, rodeo, and various other animal and western activities.

          The city is big enough to have all of the major team sports represented - football - go Broncos! - baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, and Lacrosse.  The mountains have plenty of recreation with skiing and snowboarding in the winter, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking in the summer, whitewater rafting in the spring/summer, a major international bike race around Colorado similar to the Tour de France, and generally a healthier population than most states.  

          Colorado even has one of the most educated populations in the country with the highest rate of college graduates.  That still doesn't mean that Colorado values funding of education, but plenty of people know what it has done to help them.

          Lots of businesses, including startups, tech companies, green companies (and oil, gas, mining and other extractive industries, with the Colorado School of Mines being one of the top schools in the country on that score), more microbreweries than any other state (or perhaps it's just per capita), the Great American Brew Festival, and micro wineries and distilleries.

          There are also lots of immigrants to provide culture - it's not just a southwest - Hispanic alternative.  Just driving down the street towards my house I pass by various Asian markets (Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai), interspersed with various Hispanic restaurants, shops, businesses.  There are also Italian restaurants and many middle-eastern ones in some other areas of town.  I know it's not like the much larger areas in New York for the various cultures, but I'm just pointing out you won't find Denver a white-bread culture.

          There are issues with Colorado as well, but for the first time that I can remember, I have Democrats representing me all the way up the line, wherever there are party affiliations on the ballot.  I am pretty happy with that.

          •  Wow. Thanks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for the informative reply. It is much appreciated.

            I do like the Western part of this country, for its beauty in particular. If Utah was not Utah I would love to live up in the Cache Valley area.

            I could root for the Broncos,but not so sure about the Rockies. Ha.

            Thanks again.

            Health insurance is not health care.

            by Jarrayy on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 05:35:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was an usher for five years for the Rockies (0+ / 0-)

              and one for the Broncos.  Even for us, it's hard to root for the Rockies where the owner tries to continually see how little he can spend - winning isn't his goal.

              I left out above that I'd be happy to send you an invitation to the Colorado COmmunity group so you can see a bit of the traffic that we contribute to the Great Orange.  You could come out for a visit.  And, should you run across Ministry of Truth, he lived here for awhile and he can give you a current comparison between the two, though he has his wife and bouncing baby girl flavoring his perception of NY.

  •  The blatant disregard (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eyesbright, Odysseus, ColoTim

    of anything remotely approaching ethics continues to - I'm not sure if the word I want is "entertain" or "appal" - me.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 08:38:22 AM PST

  •  What's "single mother" got to do with it? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, stlsophos

    I'm struck by this:

    His attorney William McGinley said: "We are saddened that the government took the extraordinary step of arresting a single mother on these allegations,
    What's single mother got to do with anything? I suppose it might be relevant in sentencing, although no one seems to care when it's poor mothers getting arrested and jailed (or even worse, deported) -- or even sent off to Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever the next war is.

    What's extraordinary is a NY politician raising money by sketchy and illegal methods in Texas, and then complaining when someone notices.

    •  Single mother BTW (0+ / 0-)

      who Grimm had a relationship with.  She's Grimm's ex girlfriend.  No word on whether the child is his or whether he has another family tucked away in DC somewhere like his GOp predecessor.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:18:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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