Reporters can breath a sigh of relief today. Michael Grimm probably won’t be threatening to toss any of them over the balcony after next week. The controversial New York Republican Congressman is resigning, after pleading guilty to felony tax evasion. The Staten Island based Congressman, who just won re-election, is calling it quits as he awaits sentencing for his crime. His sentencing date has been set as June 8, 2015.
Grimm was indicted earlier this year on 20 criminal counts, stemming from illegal activities that he was allegedly involved in while running a Manhattan restaurant. He pleaded guilty to tax evasion. As part of the plea agreement, the other charges were dropped. At one point, he did also admit to knowingly hiring undocumented workers, and to lying in a 2013 deposition. He was not ultimately charged with either of those crimes, however. The violations had taken place before he was elected to serve in Congress.
Even with the ethical cloud hanging over him, Grimm coasted to re-election in 2014. He won 53 to 41 percent over Democrat Domenic Recchia. In the GOP wave year of 2014, voters seemed strangely fond of their corrupt Congressman. Grimm, however after repeatedly vowing not to resign, caved in to the idea. He could face up to three years in prison. His constituents who wanted to be represented by a thuggish Congressman will have to wait for a special election to be called, and hope that somebody similar steps up to fill Grimm’s shoes.
Grimm was a former FBI agent. His federal law enforcement past made it difficult for him to claim ignorance of federal tax and labor laws. Grimm is probably best known for bullying reporter Michael Scotto. Grimm said he would break the reporter in half and throw him off a balcony.
With the seat being vacated, Democrats have an opportunity to win the seat in a special election. Republicans have a slight advantage. The Staten Island based (NY-11) district is the most conservative in New York City. In 2008, McCain received more votes in its boundaries than Barack Obama. However, the president defeated Romney in the district in 2012. Many attribute his victory that year to his strong response to superstorm Sandy, which had wreaked havoc on Staten Island just days before the election. Regardless of who prevails in the special election, Michael Grimms’ congressional career will end next Monday when he formally resigns.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.