4/29/14

Grimm Cut Loose by the RNCC

Arraigned on Monday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Congressional Representative Michael Grimm (R-11th CD), pleaded not guilty to a 20-count indictment alleging mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Grimm has been released on $400,000 bail.

Under federal law and House rules, Grimm still has full rights and privileges as a congressional representative.

According to the New York Post, 33-year-old Republican State Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis, within hours after news of Grimm's indictment dropped, was on the phone to supermarket mogul John Catsimididis, positioning herself as Grimm's successor in the House.

Because April 10 was the deadline for candidates to file for the June 24 congressional primary, it’s too late now to take Grimm's name off the ballot. Malliotakis could only get on the ballot if Grimm drops out. Barring that, voters in the 11th CD will choose between Grimm and Democratic opponent Domenic Recchia in November.

According to the non-partisan Cook Political Report, which handicaps House races, Recchia is favored to win that election.

Malliotakis, while she has denied reaching out to the Republican National Campaign Committee, has not ruled out a run for Grimm's seat in the event he withdraws.

On April 29, The Post broke the news that House Republican leaders are pulling out of Grimm’s reelection campaign and shutting off campaign cash from the National Republican Campaign Committee. Without campaign cash from Washington, Grimm is effectively on his own in a competitive race. 

House Speaker John Boehner has stepped back from Grimm, saying that he thinks Grimm made the right move resigning from his Financial Services Committee assignment, and Grimm has been shunned by this fellow House Republicans.

As reported by the Observer on April 30, based on past rulings by the Federal Election Commission, Grimm's mounting legal expenses may not be reimbursable through his campaign because the charges he's facing relate to actions he allegedly took before he was elected.  He will have to ask the FEC for an advisory opinion on how his legal fees will be paid. 

So far, Grimm has been able to pay his legal fees to the law firm Patton Boggs out of his campaign account, now about half a million in the red.  But the federal indictment against Grimm, despite a 2-year investigation into his campaign fundraising, is limited to his pre-election ownership of Upper East Side restaurant Healthalicious.

An Observer review of past cases found that while elected officials indicted on campaign-related charges have been allowed to pay their legal fees out of campaign funds, only partial payment may be authorized for non-campaign-related charges.  Campaign cash may generally not be used as reimbursement for court appearances.  

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