Several weeks ago, the Times reported that Staten Island Representative Michael Grimm may have broken campaign finance laws by requesting large cash donations from members of an influential rabbi’s congregation, allegations that now are being backed up by an unlikely source: disgraced former Queens Representative Anthony Weiner. More than six months before his own tweeting predilections destroyed his career, Weiner met with Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, who said that Grimm tried extorting money out of him and his followers. “I can confirm the Rabbi did bring allegations to me,” Weiner told Roll Call, “and I can confirm that I turned them over to the FBI immediately.” A law-enforcement source confirmed to the Daily News’ Celeste Katz that Weiner did in fact go to the FBI with this information in October 2010.
That same source tells Katz that:
The complaint at the time was that Grimm had mentioned that he was a former FBI agent and let the rabbi know, through his interpreter and staff, that he could help the congregation, or make life tougher for them, and that he was a good person to have as a friend, not an enemy. […] The rabbi and his staff felt that there was a threat — support this candidate, get the congregation to contribute. Those were the allegations at the time.
Neither the source nor the FBI would confirm any truth in the allegations, which congressman Grimm’s lawyers hotly contested.
Anthony Weiner’s latest fantasy is preposterous and untrue. Consider the source: a former Democratic Member who resigned in disgrace after lying to the press and his constituents about someone hacking into his Twitter account and posting lewd images. Mr. Weiner’s false allegations about Congressman Grimm are no more credible than his original claims of innocence in WeinerGate. The Democratic smear campaign against Congressman Grimm has officially jumped the shark. The allegations are so ridiculous that they are not worthy of a comment directly from Congressman Grimm.
It remains unclear whether Grimm himself is under investigation by the FBI, although earlier reports, including the Times story that got this whole scandalous ball rolling, seemed to indicate one of the rabbi’s aides at the center of the FBI case.