New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, who faces a 20-count federal indictment, pleaded his case in a private meeting with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Wednesday, who did not ask him to resign.
"As far as Mr. Grimm is concerned, I think he’s got to make his case to his constituents and he’ll have to make his case to the court," Cantor, R-Va., told reporters on Tuesday, a day before the meeting, The Washington Post reported
"Look, you know, we've got a system that allows a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and he's going to have to make his case," Cantor told NY1 reported
about Grimm, who is facing charges of tax fraud that allegedly occurred while he co-owned a New York restaurant from 2007 through 2010.
Grimm is accused
of failing to report more than $1 million in sales and wages from the restaurant he owned. In addition, he allegedly attempted to cover up his actions when he was sued by some former employees. He had been under investigation since 2012 for campaign finance violations and that eventually turned up his failure to pay taxes from his restaurant.
If convicted, Grimm could spend up to 20 years in prison.
Grimm was already facing a $450,000 legal bill from the campaign finance investigation. Monday's indictment means that figure will only climb. According to Politico, Grimm will ask the House Ethics Committee for permission to open a legal defense fund.
House rules limit the amount of contributions to $5,000 from a single source.
But while Grimm was not asked to step down, his fellow Republicans are starting to shut down their support for him, the New York Daily News reported.
Two House GOP aides told the Daily News that National Republican Congressional Committee has kicked Grimm out of its "Patriot Program," which helps Republicans in swing districts raise money for their reelection campaigns.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also is not defending Grimm, and has declined to meet with him.
"All members should be held to the highest ethical standard," Boehner said, according to the Daily News. "Mr. Grimm is under indictment. He resigned from his committee assignment. I think he made the right decision."
New York Republicans
are also trying to figure out a way to get Grimm off the ballot for the November election and replace him with someone else. The state's deadline to add candidates to the race has passed, and Grimm is registered as he seeks a second term.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants Republican leaders to demand Grimm return more than $100,000 in campaign contributions he's gotten since 2010.
"So much for a zero-tolerance ethics policy — for House Republican leaders, it’s more like a $100,000 bonanza for Michael Grimm’s legal bills," committee spokesman Josh Schwerin said, according to the Daily News.
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