The campaign fundraising questions that Rep. Michael Grimm was so eager to avoid Tuesday night have been dogging for him for years, and while he has long denied wrongdoing, he has been quiet about some recent developments in the case. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
Tuesday night, Rep. 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.
Grimm is currently under federal investigation amid allegations that he took illegal donations. 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?
Grimm, December 2012: Absolutely not to my knowledge whatsoever.
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.
"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," said political consultant Leticia Remauro.
After initially calling the question disrespectful and a cheap sot, 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 on February 12.