As the ongoing drama over the vandalism of Rep. Michael Grimm's campaign office continued to unfold today, the New York Republican took aim at a nameless campaign volunteer and a familiar conservative bogeyman: the liberal media.
Revelations that a local teenager is responsible for the act of vandalism at the Staten Island campaign office and that there may be nothing wrong with the campaign's computer hard drive, as Grimm first asserted, negate his version of the Sunday incident as a "politically motivated" attack.
But in a statement released this afternoon, the freshman lawmaker insisted that his original assessment of the situation was a reasonable one, in the context of recent incidents.
"At the time, when we saw three large window panes broken, following a consistent pattern of lawn sign thefts and after several locations with Grimm signs and posters were barraged with eggs, it was not hard to come to any other conclusion," Grimm, a former FBI agent, said.
"In addition to that, the gentleman in charge of operating the main computer system found the computer not functioning and a new operating system installed. Again, under the circumstances, it could very easily lead one to believe that this was all connected," Grimm said.
The New York City Police Department's computer crimes unit is continuing to explore what might have happened to the computer that held what Grimm said was sensitive polling data and other critical information.
Grimm now concedes that "it is possible that a volunteer could have inadvertently compromised the computer and failed to report it."
Since the campaign headquarters were first discovered in disarray on Sunday, Grimm has been decrying the act as an "assault on Democracy." This afternoon, following news that a teenager was to blame for breaking the windows, he blamed another party: reporters.
"What is most troubling about this series of events is the shameless media spin and speculation fueled by unscrupulous sources," Grimm said. "This is no more than another blatant attempt by the liberal media to generate more bogus allegations against me and continue their ongoing smear campaign."
Over the past three days, the story of what occurred at Grimm campaign headquarters has morphed significantly. After Grimm characterized the vandalism as politically motivated, the New York Times reported a law enforcement official saying there was no evidence of an intrusion into the office or hacking of the computer system.
All this occurs as Grimm battles for re-election to a seat he won in 2010 as part of the Republican wave that ousted the Democrats from their majority in the House.
As for Grimm's allegation of a smear campaign, the FBI is investigating a former Grimm fundraiser for campaign finance irregularities. Earlier this year, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics ended a preliminary probe of Grimm's fundraising. National Democrats have seized on the probes to target Grimm's race.
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.