Politico Reports: In a boost for his embattled reelection campaign, GOP Rep. Michael Grimm (N.Y.) has been cleared by the Office of Congressional Ethics — an independent watchdog — of any fundraising violations.
OCE, which makes recommendations to the House Ethics Committee for further action, voted unanimously to end its probe of Grimm last month, according to sources familiar with the case.
Grimm, in his first term, still faces a Justice Department investigation of his dealings with Ofer Biton, an Israeli citizen with close ties to Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, who has a large following in New York.
According to a Jan. 27 article in the New York Times, Grimm — with Biton’s help — raised more than $500,000 from Pinto’s followers, including allegations of improper cash donations or contributions from non-U.S. citizens.
Biton allegedly wanted help from Grimm in obtaining a green card.
Grimm vehemently denied wrongdoing, but Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog, filed a complaint with OCE asking for an investigation into the New York Republican.
Following its own probe, OCE has now dropped the case against Grimm, sources said.
In a statement, Grimm and his defense counsel said they were pleased by OCE’s decision.
“I welcome the unanimous recommendation of the Office of Congressional Ethics to dismiss this matter, and respect the system in place to uphold the highest ethical standards for those who serve in Congress,” Grimm said. “I continue to remain focused on working tirelessly for the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn by fighting for the issues that matter most to them, whether it’s toll relief, creating local jobs, or protecting Social Security and Medicare for our seniors.”
“The OCE made the correct recommendation to dismiss this matter,” said William McGinley of Patton Boggs. “As we have said before, the allegations against Congressman Grimm are unfounded and any fair and objective inquiry will confirm that Congressman Grimm engaged in no wrongdoing.”
Defending himself from the dual OCE-DOJ investigations has proven costly for Grimm, both in financial and political terms.
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