Reports are circulating that Republican Congressman Michael Grimm may soon be investigated by Federal authorities for taking illegal campaign contributions and laundering money. The Associated Press is reporting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into allegations surrounding Grimm’s relationship with Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto.
Followers of Pinto collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for Grimm during his 2010 campaign. But now these donors claim they were pressured into to contributions that exceeded the amount allowed by law.
Grimm, whose congressional district spans Staten Island and covers much of southern Brooklyn also allegedly received donations from Israeli citizens from a money laundering operation, even at one point accepting envelopes stuffed with as much as $5,000 cash. Campaign finance laws bar those who aren’t U.S. citizens from donating to federal campaigns. Grimm raised a princely $500,000 from Pinto’s followers.
According to NY1, former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner said he was contacted by Pinto, and that he forwarded the information he learned to the FBI. While Weiner is not talking to the media about his interaction with Pinto, the AP claims that Pinto told Weiner that Grimm was extorting him.
Pinto is a Kabbalist and heads a global ministry, Mosdot Shuva Israel. In addition to his religious work, he is known for his work and influence with business and political leaders. In December 2011, The New York Times reported that the FBI was looking an alleged embezzlement and extortion plot against Pinto.
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