Despite publicly denying any financial ties to embattled Rep. Michael Grimm, a Hudson Valley Congresswoman runs a joint fundraising operation with him. Rep. Nan Hayworth told a crowd in Somers, NY earlier this week that she didn’t “have any directed financial dealings with” Grimm, but records unearthed by a possible Congressional opponent indicated otherwise.
The video of Hayworth’s Somers Town Hall statement is below:
Richard Becker, who is running for Congress as a Democrat in Hayworth’s 19th Congressional District, produced documentation showing that Hayworth raised $62,285 in the past quarter through a joint federal fundraising PAC with Grimm. Becker is calling on Hayworth to return the money. In addition, Becker is questioning Hayworth’s decision to continue raising money through the PAC, known as “New York Congressional Victory Committee 2011,” while Grimm remains affiliated with it.
When pressed by constituents at a town hall meeting earlier this week about whether she was re-evaluating her financial relationship with Grimm, the freshman Congresswoman said, “he’s a colleague in the House of Representatives in the way 433 other people are. I don’t have any direct financial dealings with him.”
The two Congressional members joint venture h the political PAC, proves Hayworth’s statement is false.
“With the Justice Department reviewing Michael Grimm’s fundraising, and his biggest fundraiser in investigators’ crosshairs, it is unacceptable for Nan Hayworth to keep the $62,285.41 the two raised together,” Becker said in a statement. “Continuing to partner with Grimm to raise money while he’s under investigation for illegal fundraising is mind boggling. It’s bad enough to try and ignore or downplay allegations of corruption about a fellow member; it’s much worse when you might directly benefit from those alleged activities. Hayworth needs to give back this tainted money and stop working with Grimm to raise more of it. Anything less would raise serious questions about her commitment to an ethical Congress and the people of the Hudson Valley.”
Grimm, Hayworth, and four other freshman Republican Congressmen formed the “New York Congressional Victory Committee 2011” last October to jointly raise money for their campaigns. According to FEC filings, the committee transferred $62,285.41 to Hayworth’s campaign account in late December. Grimm’s campaign treasurer, Lisa Lisker, also serves as the treasurer for the joint committee. According to group’s organizational papers, which have never been amended, Hayworth and Grimm are both raising money through the committee.
Grimm, whose congressional district spans Staten Island and covers much of southern Brooklyn, has come under scrutiny over multiple unscrupulous — and perhaps illegal — campaign donations to his campaign account.
The New York Times says that Grimm received donations from Israeli citizens via a money laundering operation, even at one point accepting envelopes stuffed with cash. Campaign finance laws bar those who aren’t U.S. citizens from donating to federal campaigns. Grimm, a former FBI agent, might be facing the Justice Department from the other side of the table if allegations of his shady fundraising prove true.
According to the Times, followers of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto claim Grimm or an aide to the rabbi prepped them on sending donations that were either above the legal donation limit, or to mask those that were given by foreign nationals. Grimm raised a princely $500,000 from Pinto’s followers. The rabbi’s aide that allegedly helped get these contributions, Ofer Biton, is an Israeli citizen living in the United States that is under investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorneys for stealing funds from the rabbi’s congregation.
One of the rabbi’s adherents said he donated $5,000 in campaign cash to Grimm while they sat in a car parked outside of the FBI building in Lower Manhattan.
Grimm has denied the allegations, and while has not been officially accused of any criminal wrongdoing, it seems a possible investigation is brewing.
Hayworth has acknowledged that she hadn’t made queries into the allegations or talked about it with her freshman colleague.
“I have not studied it in any way, I have no comment on it,” Hayworth quipped to PolitickerNY.
Hayworth and Grimm also serve together on the Financial Services Committee, and both were delegates for Mitt Romney, until the Romney campaign asked Grimm to step aside.
“Nan Hayworth and the national GOP’s ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ strategy just won’t fly. It’s time for Hayworth to demand answers from her colleague about his alleged criminal misconduct,” said Becker.