The House Ethics Committee said Monday that Rep. Michael Grimm is beingÂ investigated for possible campaign finance violations but will defer to theÂ Justice Department, which is conducting a separate probe.
The Republican-controlled committee said the inquiry started in July afterÂ being informed by the Office of Congressional Ethics that Grimm, R-N.Y., mayÂ have violated campaign finance laws by soliciting and accepting prohibitedÂ contributions, which might have resulted in false information being included inÂ campaign finance reports.
Among the allegations is that Grimm improperly sought assistance from aÂ foreign national, by soliciting contributions in exchange for offering to useÂ his official position to assist the person in getting a green card, according toÂ a committee statement.
Grimm has denied knowledge of improper donations or any other illegalÂ activity.
“Today’s announcement by the House Ethics Committee comes as no surprise,” said Grimm’s lawyer, William McGinley, of Patton Boggs LLP.Â “Any fair andÂ objective review of all of the facts in this matter will conclude thatÂ Congressman Grimm engaged in no wrongdoing.”
The independent Office of Congressional Ethics had recommended dismissal ofÂ the case because it could not establish with sufficient certainty that aÂ violation occurred after Grimm became a congressman.
However, ethics committee Chairman Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., and rankingÂ Democrat Rep. Linda Sanchez, of California, said the panel previously hasÂ investigated conduct that occurred during a first-time House campaign.
The committee said the Justice Department asked that its probe be deferred,Â and members, following protocol, unanimously agreed.
Grimm, whose district covers Brooklyn and Staten Island, is a former FBIÂ agent. He was elected in 2010 with 51 percent of the vote and re-elected thisÂ year with 53 percent.
It has been previously reported that the FBI was probing money donated toÂ Grimm’s 2010 campaign by followers of an Israeli rabbi. Agents last summerÂ arrested an Israeli businessman with links to the adult entertainment industryÂ who had helped Grimm raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from the rabbi’sÂ followers in New York.
Some donors have said they broke campaign finance law by donating more moneyÂ than allowed, or by funneling donations from foreigners who aren’t legallyÂ allowed to give to U.S. candidates.
Source: Fox News