The House Ethics Committee said Monday that Rep. Michael Grimm is being  investigated for possible campaign finance violations but will defer to the  Justice Department, which is conducting a separate probe.

The Republican-controlled committee said the inquiry started in July after  being informed by the Office of Congressional Ethics that Grimm, R-N.Y., may  have violated campaign finance laws by soliciting and accepting prohibited  contributions, which might have resulted in false information being included in  campaign finance reports.

Among the allegations is that Grimm improperly sought assistance from a  foreign national, by soliciting contributions in exchange for offering to use  his official position to assist the person in getting a green card, according to  a committee statement.

Grimm has denied knowledge of improper donations or any other illegal  activity.

“Today’s announcement by the House Ethics Committee comes as no surprise,” said Grimm’s lawyer, William McGinley, of Patton Boggs LLP.  “Any fair and  objective review of all of the facts in this matter will conclude that  Congressman Grimm engaged in no wrongdoing.”

The independent Office of Congressional Ethics had recommended dismissal of  the case because it could not establish with sufficient certainty that a  violation occurred after Grimm became a congressman.

However, ethics committee Chairman Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., and ranking  Democrat Rep. Linda Sanchez, of California, said the panel previously has  investigated conduct that occurred during a first-time House campaign.

The committee said the Justice Department asked that its probe be deferred,  and members, following protocol, unanimously agreed.

Grimm, whose district covers Brooklyn and Staten Island, is a former FBI  agent. He was elected in 2010 with 51 percent of the vote and re-elected this  year with 53 percent.

It has been previously reported that the FBI was probing money donated to  Grimm’s 2010 campaign by followers of an Israeli rabbi. Agents last summer  arrested an Israeli businessman with links to the adult entertainment industry  who had helped Grimm raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from the rabbi’s  followers in New York.

Some donors have said they broke campaign finance law by donating more money  than allowed, or by funneling donations from foreigners who aren’t legally  allowed to give to U.S. candidates.

Source: Fox News


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