Watchdog files ethics complaint against GOP lawmaker Grimm

A watchdog group filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday against Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) over allegations that he accepted illegal campaign contributions.

The charges against Grimm, which he has repeatedly denied, come as a result of a New York Times article published last month alleging that the freshman lawmaker accepted campaign contributions exceeding the legal limit and promised to help a top fundraiser with his green card application.

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Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed the complaint with OCE on Thursday and submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Homeland Security asking for communication records between the agency and Grimm about green cards.

“Campaign fundraising can sometimes be shady, but Rep. Grimm has sunk to a new low,” said Melanie Sloan, the executive director for CREW.

“In addition to the illegal campaign contributions, it also appears Rep. Grimm may have promised to use the powers of Congress to assist a fundraiser in procuring a green card. In other words, Rep. Grimm may have engaged in bribery. These are serious allegations that demand an immediate investigation.”

In a statement, Grimm called CREW's complaint a "publicity stunt" and pointed to his full cooperation with officials looking into the allegations as evidence that he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.   

“This publicity stunt is a repackaged and embellished version of the original anonymously-sourced New York Times allegations and it comes more than a week after I publicly stated that, at my instruction, my team already had communicated with appropriate personnel at the Federal Election Commission, the Department of Justice, and the House Committee on Ethics to work constructively with them to put these false allegations to rest," said Grimm in a statement. "Let me state very clearly once again that I unequivocally deny all those allegations against me.” 

In the days after the allegations arose, Staten Island Democrats backed calls for the Federal Election Commission to investigate the matter.

— This story was updated at 4:39 p.m. with a statement from Rep. Grimm.