The FBI has begun collecting information about whether Rep. Michael Grimm attempted to extort campaign contributions from an influential rabbi during the 2010 campaign and could be on the verge of opening a formal investigation.
According to an AP report from today, FBI officials have confirmed they are considering a probe of the New York Republican, who has found himself in the midst of several scandals in recent months.
Roll Call first reported Friday that Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto told former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) in the fall of 2010 that Grimm had attempted to extort campaign funds from him. Weiner said he informed the FBI of those allegations immediately following his meeting with Pinto.
Although Grimm has strenuously denied Weiner's claims, the AP also reported Saturday that FBI officials confirmed that Weiner reached out to them in 2010.
Earlier this year, the New York Times reported on hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable donations Grimm and Ofer Biton, a former associate of Pinto, collected from members of the rabbi's congregation. Biton is under investigation by the FBI for allegedly embezzeling millions in donations to Pinto's synagogue.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.