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View Full Version : FBI Investigates TParty Favorite-illegal Campaign



Gayle in MD
06-21-2012, 11:09 AM
The FBI has questioned at least four people who worked on Congressman Michael Grimm’s 2010 campaign as part of its on-going probe into allegations the Tea Party favorite took illegal election donations.

The four, either campaign operatives or volunteers, were questioned in the past two weeks. In one case, the interview was conducted by a fed tag-team that included an Assistant U.S. Attorney, sources told the Daily News.

The FBI opened an inquiry into the Republican’s fund-raising after members of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s New York congregation complained he was strong-arming them for donations, as the New York Times reported in January.

One of the people questioned by the FBI told the Daily News the recent interrogation involved “general kinds of questions” and described them in this fashion:

“Who was in charge? Who contacted donors? How was money collected? Who went and collected the donations?”

Another person who was questioned said the feds wanted to know who had donated, how much and why — and they wanted the names of the big donors.

“Did they give up what they knew? No. Are they very serious about their questions? Oh, yes,” the person said.

Grimm has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

“We are of course familiar with the FBI inquiry and we welcome the news that it is heading towards completion,” Grimm said in a statement released by his lawyer.

“I look forward to a speedy resolution and am confident that I will be fully vindicated. I’ve done nothing wrong and any fair and thorough inquiry will come to the same conclusion.”

Grimm’s campaign has spent some $321,209 on legal fees paid to the firm Patton Boggs, according to the latest financial tallies filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The legal bill was more than twice what Grimm’s campaign raised in the latest fund-raising period.

Grimm, a former FBI agent who burst on the political scene in 2010 with an unexpected win, raised more than $1.3 million in his first attempt at public office.

Congregants of the influential Rabbi Pinto alleged Grimm pressed for cash payments well above campaign limits, including one donation of $5,000 in cash that was given to Grimm in an envelope as he stood outside the FBI’s New York offices, a law enforcement source confirmed.

At least one of the individuals questioned by the FBI was asked about one of Grimm’s major fund-raisers, Ofer Biton, an Israeli citizen and conduit between Grimm and Pinto’s congregation.

“Biton would be the one who would take (Grimm) around the room at fund-raisers, introducing him to donors, talking up how (Grimm) would be a friend to Israel and communities here in New York,” said a third person who was questioned by the FBI in the probe.

The congregation’s complaints mirrored an allegation made to the FBI about Grimm’s fund-raising in October 2010.

Former Queens Congressman Anthony Weiner told The News earlier this year that the rabbi — who counsels politicians, celebrities and sports figures — had privately reached out to Weiner in October 2010 to complain that he felt pressured to press his congregants to contribute to Grimm’s campaign.

Weiner told The News that he immediately called the FBI and let them handle it from there.

An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

Grimm’s lawyer had said Weiner’s comments were about as truthful as Weiner’s denials during “Weinergate,” when the Democratic congressman was caught in a sexting scandal that resulted in his resignation.

Grimm is running for a second term in the newly drawn 11th Congressional District. Democrat Mark Murphy is challenging him.



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/fbi-...9#ixzz1yRqvhlhP (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/fbi-questioned-people-worked-staten-island-gop-congressman-michael-grimm-2010-campaign-probe-accusations-fund-raising-improprieties-article-1.1099399#ixzz1yRqvhlhP)