Grimm Tidings

Staten Island’s Michael Grimm emerged from obscurity two years ago to win a seat in Congress based in part on his compelling personal narrative. Mr. Grimm is a former Marine and a onetime FBI agent. At a time of national anxiety over global terrorism, he was able to address security issues based on his experience and expertise.

But Mr. Grimm’s clean-cut persona has taken a hit in recent weeks amid reports of fund-raising irregularities that should attract the attention of his onetime colleagues in law enforcement. The allegations, it should be noted, concern not just his campaign’s actions, but Mr. Grimm’s personal contacts, fund-raising methods and slippery business practices.

Mr. Grimm’s top fund-raiser two years ago, Ofer Biton, is under federal investigation. Donors told The New York Times that Mr. Grimm and Mr. Biton told them that they would accept unlawful donations during the 2010 campaign. Mr. Grimm’s business partner and onetime FBI colleague, Carlos Luquis, served 18 months in prison on charges that he and five accomplices stole $2 million from electricity customers in Texas. And two workers in an East Side restaurant in which Mr. Grimm had an interest, Healthalicious, are suing the congressman and others, charging that they did not pay minimum wages and overtime.

Not a pretty picture. In response to these and other troubling issues, Mr. Grimm has chosen to remain silent, save to insist that these allegations are politically motivated. He told his hometown newspaper that those who have raised these questions “are picking on the wrong Marine.”

Nice try, congressman, but it’s time to go beyond flag-waving. The Times stories suggest a very troubling pattern involving Mr. Grimm’s political fund-raising and private business dealings. The congressman had been emerging as a second-tier surrogate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but last week the campaign announced that Mr. Grimm would no longer make appearances on the candidate’s behalf.

Democrats in Mr. Grimm’s district, which includes all of Staten Island and portions of Brooklyn, have a chance to recapture a seat they won in 2008 after three decades of a Republican monopoly, only to see it slip away in 2010. Mr. Grimm has a lot of explaining to do, but unless he faces a vigorous challenge, he will be content to attack his critics and hide behind the flag. That would be a disservice to the district and to the city as a whole.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

     CNN exclusive: FBI misconduct reveals sex, lies and videotape

    By Scott Zamost and Kyra Phillips, CNN Special Investigations Unit
    January 27, 2011

    Washington (CNN) — An FBI employee shared confidential information with his girlfriend, who was a news reporter, then later threatened to release a sex tape the two had made.

    A supervisor watched pornographic videos in his office during work hours while “satisfying himself.”

    And an employee in a “leadership position” misused a government database to check on two friends who were exotic dancers and allowed them into an FBI office after hours.

    These are among confidential summaries of FBI disciplinary reports obtained by CNN, which describe misconduct by agency supervisors, agents and other employees over the last three years.

  2. Grimm has not been silent one bit about these baseless allegations of illegal fundraising, coming from anonymous sources that refuse to be involved in an investigation. If Grimm perchance is telling the truth, what else what you expect them to say but that they are lies?

    If you bothered to read the local paper on Staten Island, you could see by the letter submitted that no one wrote in about these baseless charges except in support of Grimm. The Advance also showed that the Times was totally wrong about the charge that Grimm worked for Whale Securities.

    Finally, if Grimm is wrong for his continued association with his close friend who served time in prison, where is your condemnation of his Democratic opponent Mark Murphy, who according to Board of Elections records lives with former felon who did time for crimes against the United States of America, his father Jack Murphy, famous for taking a bribe during the Abscam sting.

    Your paper is being as one sided and politically biased about this whole matter as was the Times. Fortunately, no one read this rag or the Times.

    We elected Michael Grimm and we elect Republicans most of the time for that matter. Your adoption of the Times biased stance on Grimm amounts to nothing more than trying to interfere with this election with innuendos. Cut it out and butt out of our affairs!