MANHATTAN — The fundraising efforts of Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm may come under FBI scrutiny because of potentially illegal campaign contributions made by followers of a powerful Midtown rabbi, according to an online report.
Congregants of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the 2010 campaign of Grimm, a former FBI agent, and some donors have said that they've skirted rules to donate more cash than the law allows, according to the Associated Press.
Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner has said in interviews that Pinto told him that Grimm had extorted him for the money, the report said. Weiner subsequently turned the information over to the FBI, although he was unsure if the allegations were true, according to the AP.
A law enforcement official confirmed to the wire service that Weiner had contacted the FBI in 2010 and that the agency was considering opening a formal investigation into the allegations.
In a statement, Grimm called the allegations "laughable," according to the AP.
"These allegations are so profoundly absurd that they serve as proof of the coordinated, Democratic smear campaign designed to recruit a stronger opponent to challenge me," Grimm said.
Representatives for Grimm did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.
Representatives for Rabbi Pinto, whose congregation meets on East 58th Street, had no comment.