Earlier this morning, The New York Times reported that Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm amended a financial disclosure to report that he took a privately-funded trip to Cypress in June of last year, paid for by Peter Papanicolaou, the president of the Cyprus Federation of America. This amendment raised eyebrows because it came a day after Mr. Papanicolaou was arrested in Brooklyn under federal corruption charges.
Now, Mr. Grimm’s Democratic opponent Mark Murphy is stoking the fires.
“If he refuses toaddress the latest revelations about his shady relationships and unethical behavior, he will continue to give voters reasons to think he is fundamentally unﬁt to serve in Congress, where no one will take him seriously,” Mr. Murphy said in a statement. “The people Staten Island and Brooklyn demand honest and representation.”
Mr. Grimm has been beaten up in the media under a variety of allegations, most notably another New York Times report earlier this year alleging he extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a mystic Rabbi’s congregation during his 2010 campaign, which Mr. Murphy also alluded to.
“Day after day, we read about yet another criminal indictment from someone with whom Congressman Grimm has a close ﬁnancial relationship,” he said.
For his part, Mr. Grimm has steadfastly argued that he is innocent of any wrongdoing, and the latest amendment was simply fixing a paperwork error.
Update: Mr. Grimm isn’t amused with either the Times or Mr. Murphy. In a statement, the congressman labeled the publication as one with a liberal agenda:
“This is nothing more than the NYT continuing to carry the water for the DCCC’s smear campaign. As the NYT was informed, the trip to Cyprus was pre-approved by the House Ethics Committee and thus never hidden in any way; however, they chose to ignore the facts. It’s clear that the NYT’s liberal agenda is at odds with any strong Conservative Republican with an effective record representing NYC, which is why they insist on this ongoing witch hunt to mislead voters in a pathetic attempt to steer the election to a Democratic victory. Given my strong record representing the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn, they have resorted to baseless character attacks in lieu of facts, a strategy far too obvious to fool the voters in my district who continue to support me for the results I’ve delivered over the false accusations fabricated by the liberal media and the DCCC.”
“The Facts: The August 2011 trip to Cyprus was pre-approved by the House Ethics Committee and was timely reported to the House Clerk on the appropriate post-travel disclosure form. The House Ethics Committee informed Congressman Grimm’s office on June 1, 2012 that the Cyprus trip was omitted from his 2011 Financial Disclosure Statement, and he promptly filed a corrective amendment on June 6, 2012.”