Democrats definitely want Congressman Michael Grimm gone from Washington.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in calling for Mr. Grimm, a Staten Island Republican, to resign after he pleaded guilty to a single count of felony tax evasion today.
Ms. Wasserman Schultz slammed the Republican National Committee for not yet calling for Mr. Grimm’s ouster. Mr. Grimm said today he would not step aside.
“Michael Grimm’s guilty plea to a felony and admission that he violated the public trust disqualifies him from serving one more minute in office,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “He should step down immediately. The fact that John Boehner and Reince Priebus haven’t joined in the calls for his resignation is baffling. Their silence speaks volumes.”
Democrats have been eagerly calling for Mr. Grimm to step down while Republicans have been mostly mum. House Speaker John Boehner has had little tolerance for unethical behavior among his own ranks in the past and has the power to strip Mr. Grimm of his ability to vote on bills or call a vote to expel him from Congress.
Mr. Grimm sailed to re-election this fall, maintaining his innocence throughout the election season. His guilty plea was related to his management of a Manhattan restaurant before he was elected to Congress and he was set to go on trial in February.
For national Democrats, Mr. Grimm’s departure could mean another chance to pick up a seat after failing miserably to oust Mr. Grimm with Democrat Domenic Recchia Jr. As long as Mr. Grimm stays in Congress, Democrats can also score points by highlighting the fact that Republicans are keeping a convicted felon in their body.
In his Staten Island and Brooklyn-based district, Mr. Grimm still remains popular. It’s not clear if there will be any grassroots movement to push him to resign.