New York Rep. Michael Grimm's Friday began with a flurry of good press from the left centered on his change of heart on climate change. It ends with a report from Politico that he will be indicted.
Grimm was most recently in the news after he threatened to throw a reporter off a balcony. But, believe it or not, that's not what the indictment is focused on.
In the wake of that incident, we outlined Grimm's colorful track record in the House, including his alleged involvement in a donor-swapping scheme. Under that plan, donors who wanted to give more than the maximum allowable amount to Grimm were allegedly told to give money to candidates in other states; donors who wanted to give more to those candidates then gave to Grimm. Such a plan would not be legal and, in fact, Grimm's former girlfriend Diana Durand was arrested on criminal charges earlier this year.
Details on the indictment are sketchy, but, Politico reports, Grimm's lawyer confirmed that it was imminent. In a statement, Grimm's lawyer stated that "the U.S. Attorney’s Office has disclosed its intent to file criminal charges against Congressman Grimm." And, of course, "Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing."
Update, Saturday: The New York Times reports that the indictment may be related to a health food store Grimm owned once he left the FBI.
The charges against Mr. Grimm, 44, a Republican who was first elected in 2010 and represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, were expected to include mail fraud and wire fraud, and to focus largely on his conduct in connection with a health food restaurant he owned on the Upper East Side of Manhattan after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2006, two of the people said. He was also expected to be charged with obstruction of justice, for allegedly lying under oath in a federal lawsuit.
And the day started so well for him! Grimm received a number of positive articles focused on his decision to embrace the science of climate change after rejecting it for a long time. Staten Island, the part of New York City he represents, was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes that was filmed as part of a Showtime series on the environment, he said he'd come around to the broader consensus.
Of course, he had a reason for the change of heart. After the balcony-tossing and with this fundraising scandal looming, Grimm faced a tough reelection. When Bill Maher decided he would target members of Congress for defeat, Grimm was one of the people he decided upon. Getting a reputation as one of the few Republicans willing to accept climate change as fact couldn't hurt. Oh well.
Grimm's lawyer stated that Grimm will not resign in the face of an indictment. So members of the House hoping to pass legislation on climate change might want to hurry.