Grimm Time for GOP as Congressman Faces Fraud Charges

Image: Grimm Time for GOP as Congressman Faces Fraud Charges

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 10:53 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The Republican Party is caught in a Catch-22 dilemma involving their vulnerable New York Rep. Michael Grimm following reports that he would be indicted on federal fraud on Monday.

Grimm, a former FBI agent and U.S. Marine, will be the GOP candidate for the midterm election after the deadline passed two weeks ago for him to decline the nomination, The New York Times reported.

The only GOP congressional member in New York City, Grimm was already facing a tough challenge from Democrat Domenic Recchia Jr. in the November race, which the party's Washington leaders view as a rare chance to capture a Republican seat.

But his 20-count indictment on tax fraud and other charges pertaining to a restaurant he once owned now has the GOP concerned that he has little chance of winning re-election.

Election lawyer Jerry Goldfeder told the Times that it would be "next to impossible" for Grimm to get off the ballot, noting that the only way out for GOP is to nominate him for a judgeship or other public office.

Grimm, the congressman for the Staten Island and southern Brooklyn district, is continuing with his campaign while his lawyer has called the investigation a "politically driven vendetta."

John Antoniello, the Staten Island Republican chairman, is standing by him, along with Guy Molinari, the former Staten Island borough president and congressman, who has acted as his mentor.

But Michael Long, chairman of the state's Conservative Party, suggested that Grimm should pull out, saying he "ought to give some serious thought to the citizens of his district and do the right thing for those citizens."

He added, "I don't know what the truth is, but I do know that I think it's going to be very difficult for him to mount a serious campaign when this is hanging over his head."

New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has declared that the race is "one of our best pickup opportunities in the country."

And Recchia appeared to be thrilled that he could throw some mud at his opponent.

"People are tired of what's been going on with him — all these investigations," he said. "They think it's time for our Congress member to focus on them 100 percent."

The expected mail and wire fraud charges against Grimm center on a health food restaurant he owned in New York after he left the FBI in 2006, according to the Times. He may also be charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly lying under oath in a federal lawsuit.

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