Updated 11:05 a.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi became the first member of leadership on either side of the aisle to call for Rep. Michael G. Grimm's ouster from Congress.
Amid reports that Grimm, a New York Republican, hopes to remain in Congress if he escapes jail time in an expected plea deal in a felony tax evasion case, Pelosi said Tuesday that Speaker John A. Boehner must act. "Now that the election is over, Congressman Grimm is finally admitting the truth to his constituents," the California Democrat said in a statement.
"Clearly, Speaker Boehner must insist that Congressman Grimm resign immediately."
Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, made it clear Tuesday morning that national party operatives were gearing up to pressure Grimm to leave office — and field a strong candidate who could reclaim the seat for Democrats.
“Speaker Boehner has let this go on long enough. It's past time for Michael Grimm to go and it's John Boehner’s responsibility to make it happen. Speaker Boehner and Republican leaders' continued complicity in letting Michael Grimm stay in Congress despite his guilt of felony tax evasion is a disservice to the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn and a stain on the institution of the United States House of Representatives. After Speaker Boehner abbetted Grimm's lies to voters about his guilt in this past election, he owes it to the constituents and the Congress to make sure Michael Grimm doesn't serve in this next Congress."Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an e-mail statement not to expect any immediate reaction from the top House Republican's office.
"We won't have any announcements until the Speaker discusses the matter with Mr. Grimm," Steel said.
A senior GOP aide, meanwhile, suggested that people in glass houses ought not throw stones, saying, "After standing behind Reps. Bill Jefferson, Charlie Rangel, Jack Murtha, and many others, Rep. Pelosi has zero credibility on these issues."
Grimm's plea agreement hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday in New York. Some news organizations have reported that Grimm hopes to keep his seat , but Boehner has traditionally taken a hard line on misbehaving Republicans.
Grimm has maintained his innocence since being indicted on 20 counts of tax evasion and fraud charges in April, and he easily won re-election in November. During the campaign, he indicated he would step aside "if I was not able to serve."