Fundraiser for Rep. Grimm arrested

A woman who raised campaign funds for Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) has been arrested for using straw donors to feed money to his first campaign in 2010.  

The fundraiser, Diana Durand, was arrested in Houston on Friday. Several media accounts documented the arrest on Monday.

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Durand allegedly directed a number of associates to donate money to Grimm’s first campaign with the promise that she would pay them back. The money allegedly funneled by Durand totaled more than $10,000. 

Durand had already given Grimm the maximum donation of $4,800.

The court papers do not refer to Grimm by name, but news reports have confirmed Grimm was the congressman. Durand was also accused of using the same tactic to donate money to another, unidentified congressman.

Grimm’s office did not respond for to a request for comment, but his lawyer told The New York Times that Durand’s charges do not implicate the congressman. 

“We are saddened that the government took the extraordinary step of arresting a single mother on these allegations, and hope the matter will be resolved quickly,” said William McGinley, an attorney for Patton Boggs. 

The FBI has been investigating Grimm, a top target for Democrats in 2014, over allegations he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions, among other things, during his first campaign. 

The House Ethics Committee last year said it would continue putting off an inquiry into Grimm at the request of the Justice Department, which suggested the FBI probe was ongoing. 

A former Grimm fundraiser, Ofer Biton, was convicted earlier last year of lying about his finances on a visa application dating back to 2010. A number of Grimm staffers were questioned in the probe.

The Ethics Committee had been asked to investigate whether Grimm received illegal fundraising help from Biton in exchange for helping him receive a green card. 

Grimm’s office has maintained the charges are without merit and are “politically motivated.”

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