Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm's campaign account has been under investigation for nearly two years, but Grimm's campaign cash is still flowing in, and in fact, he has not one, but two accounts to raise money. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Michael Grimm says he wants safer skies. To do that, he introduced the Safe Skies Act, requiring rest time for all pilots.
That legislation appears to be a boon for his campaign account. In fact, the pilots' union maxed out, giving $10,000 to the congressman's re-election campaign. So it turned elsewhere, to the congressman's "leadership PAC," known as the Grassroots Initiative to Maintain Our Majority.
"People in the campaign finance business say you establish a leadership PAC to make money and to make friends," said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice.
Grimm has one account for his re-election campaign, and the other is for the congressman to curry favor with his colleagues. He uses the campaign account to pay for staff, dinners and travel, including to Chicago and Dallas. The other goes for donations to other Republicans, which include candidates like Robert Dold of Illinois, Kirk Jorgensen of California and Michael Simpson of Idaho so far.
It also allows the congressman's biggest supporters to give not once, but twice. At least five political action committees gave the maximum contribution to Grimm, then turned around and donated to his leadership PAC. Not just the pilots, but also financial titan Deloitte, as well as a local engineering union, a real estate PAC and the group Every Republican is Crucial. That group is affiliated with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
A Washington D.C. insider was another one who maxed out and started giving to Grimm's leadership PAC.
95 percent of the cash in Grimm's leadership account is from other PACs, like Bank of America's, but 100 percent of donors have given to both accounts.
"I think it should be troubling to a lot of people," Norden said. "And I should say, leadership PACs have become almost standard in Congress as of this point."
Grimm is not the only member of the New York delegation to have this type of account. Sources tell NY1 that it is by no means out of the ordinary.