Monday, January 20, 2014

Will The "Mikey Suits" Grimm Campaign Finance Scandal Take Down Illinois Closet Case Aaron Schock?


Grimm and Schock, 2 corrupt Republicans

When the Republican Party recruited Michael "Mikey Suits" Grimm to run for a House seat on Staten Island and the Mafia-domninated Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, they knew exactly what they were doing. The former FBI agent who crossed over the line and became a Gambino Crime Family operative was perfect for the pathetic shell of the New York Republican Party. And with the kinds of weak and sleazy conservative Democrats who always run in that part of town… well Grimm would have a better than even chance for a career-- as long as he could stay out of prison. Which, it turns out, doesn't look like it will be a terribly long time. His short political career has been marred by one corruption scandal after another, enough to have had him booted out of Congress by voters in almost any district in America. Ever been to Staten Island? Bay Ridge?

Last week we looked at more ties between Grimm and the crooked Israeli rabbi, Yoshiyahu Pinto. Early, early this morning, the New York Daily News broke another Grimm scandal, more campaign fraud. The ex-FBI agent was looking for more ways to get another campaign finance laws and regulations that make political bribery just a tiny bit tough on dumb politicians. Grimm, whose first meeting with Boehner after he was elected, was to demand that Members be allowed to "pack heat" on the floor of Congress, is as dumb a politician as you're likely to find outside of the Deep South.
As the campaign for control of Congress gained steam in 2010, D.C. lawyer Bazil Facchina pulled out his checkbook.

On March 31, 2010, Facchina donated the legal maximum, $4,800, to Michael Grimm, a Republican running for Congress on Staten Island. Facchina was no stranger to financing campaigns-- he already had given the maximum to Bert Mizusawa, a Republican running for Congress in Virginia.

Facchina’s $4,800 donation to Grimm would have been unremarkable but for one thing: On the same day, two Grimm donors-- one of them, his girlfriend, Diana Durand-- gave a total of $4,800 to Mizusawa.

The parallel transactions raise questions whether Grimm-- who went on to win a House seat in 2010-- engaged in “donor swapping,” a controversial practice that allows candidates to sidestep fundraising limits.

The swapping works like this: A donor who gives the maximum to Candidate A then donates to Candidate B. In return, a donor or friend of Candidate B gives an identical amount to Candidate A.

A Daily News review of 2010 fundraising records found more than 20 transactions suggesting supporters of Grimm and candidates in California, South Dakota, Illinois and Virginia swapped donations totaling more than $75,000.

One set of transactions involved Grimm himself:

On March 31, 2010, Grimm and Durand each gave $2,400 to Michael Curb, a Republican making a longshot bid for Congress in South Dakota. On the same day, Allison Bolger, an accountant in a Sioux Falls, S.D., firm headed by Curb, donated $4,800 to Grimm.

“Why would someone in South Dakota be interested in Grimm?” said Melanie Sloan, who heads Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics and examined the transactions at the request of The News. “They certainly are suspicious.”

A thread through the apparent swaps is Durand, 47, of Houston, who was arrested last week on charges she reimbursed donors to mask more than $10,000 in illegal contributions to Grimm.

There was no mention of donor swaps in the charges.

However, the pattern of apparent swaps discovered by The News suggests that Durand was more involved with Grimm’s fundraising than previously reported. And Grimm’s role in one of the apparent swaps ties him for the first time to questionable conduct.

The federal complaint accuses Durand of giving an unnamed couple a check for $4,800 on Oct. 20, 2010, after asking the donor to contribute to a congressional campaign identified as “Committee B.”

According to records examined by The News, on Oct. 28, 2010, Tina and Ruben Sanchez, a Houston couple who had given the maximum to Grimm, contributed $4,800 to Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.). On the same day, Darren and Rebecca Frye, a Peoria, Ill., couple who had given the maximum to Schock, gave $4,800 to Grimm.

Donor swaps exist in a gray area. Illegality is hard to prove, but a lage-scale swap of donations led to the 2010 conviction, later overturned, of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) on money-laundering charges.

None of the donors involved in the apparent swaps responded to requests for comment. Lawyers for Grimm and Durand declined comment. Grimm has denied wrongdoing.

A two-year federal investigation of Grimm’s fundraising has been reported, but not the apparent donor swapping.
Schock is already under investigation for campaign violations involving getting shady funds to Adam Kinzinger, the fellow Illinois GOP congressman he is known to have a major crush on. Being tainted by a connection to the Mob and to Mafia money and tactics won't go over in Peoria as well as it does on Staten Island.

UPDATE: On Those Crooked Aaron Schock Donors

Darren Frye was Aaron Schock's guest to the 2012 State of the Union speech. His wife Rebecca gave $25,000 to Schock in a 2010 fundraiser in order to meet with Laura Bush. This article was ironically written by Schock's future political director Karen McDonald.

And Mr. and Mrs. Frye, along with Congressman Schock, are all members of the Bethany Baptist Church in Edwards, IL  Their wedding anniversary is listed on page 5 on October 30 of this document. Schock's wikipedia page and other numerous webpages can be accessed by googling Aaron Schock Bethany Baptist Church.

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At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least Aaron is having a damn good time:


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