By Will Bredderman
The pro-Democrat House Majority Political Action Committee launched a new site earlier this week called TheGrimmFile.com targeting embattled Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm.
The independent spending group–which, though officially unaffiliated with the Democratic Party, seeks to turn the House of Representatives blue through investing in advertising–depicts the indicted Republican representative as a wanted criminal, outlining his 20-count federal indictment for allegedly hiring illegal immigrants at a restaurant he owned prior to his 2010 election and allegedly lying about it to investigators.
“Michael Grimm doesn’t have a criminal record. He has a rap sheet,” the site reads.
The site features a black-and-white photo styled like a mug shot, alludes to the congressman’s nickname “Mikey Suits,” given to him when he was a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent infiltrating the mafia and links to the FBI press release announcing his indictment. The page advises “IF SEEN: DON’T RE-ELECT.”
The House Majority PAC said TheGrimmFile.com is one piece of a massive effort to flip the district, which covers all of Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn.
“This part of House Majority PAC’s six-figure online advertising buy aimed at helping the voters of the 11th district understand the magnitude of the federal indictments Michael Grimm is facing. By providing easy access to the FBI’s website, voters can see just how little regard Grimm has for the law he vowed to uphold,” said spokesman Matt Thornton
Mr. Grimm has not been convicted of any crime, and his case is set to go to trial in December, a month after he will face former Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr. in the general election.
TheGrimmFile.com recalls an earlier “The Grimm Files” site the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched during Mr. Grimm’s successful 2012 re-election bid against challenger Mark Murphy. “The Grimm Files” focused on as-yet unsubstantiated allegations that Mr. Grimm had engaged in illegal fund-raising practices, including strong-arming Israeli nationals into donating to his 2010 campaign.
Federal investigators arrested one of Mr. Grimm’s fund-raisers, Israeli citizen Ofer Biton, on immigration charges in 2012–which Mr. Biton pleaded guilty to in August 2013. Mr. Murphy, son of convicted Congressman Jack Murphy, produced campaign literature showing Mr. Grimm in a prison jumpsuit.
Another Grimm associate, Diana Durand, pleaded guilty earlier this month to using straw donors to funnel illegal contributions into the 2010 campaign. Mr. Grimm has never been charged with any wrongdoing in his campaign, and has maintained his innocence since the indictment on the charges related to his former business.
Federal campaign finance rules bar the House Majority PAC from coordinating its efforts with the DCCC or Mr. Recchia’s campaign.
The Grimm campaign responded with a blast against Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Recchia, while defending Mr. Grimm’s successes in office.
“Once again, since Nancy Pelosi and the rest of Recchia’s ultra-liberal backers in Washington can’t talk about his record of raising almost every middle class tax on Staten Islanders and Brooklynites, supporting more tolls, and voting himself a third term against the people’s will, they resort to desperate smear attacks against Congressman Grimm,” said spokesman Nick Iacono. “We challenge these Washington liberals to find one Democrat Congressman that has been as effective for their district as Congressman Michael Grimm has been for the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn: from securing $60 Billion for Sandy aid to passing landmark flood insurance reform.”
From The New York Observer on September 12, 2014.