Politics

Rep. Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty To Tax Fraud, Political Career In Question

| by Edward Arnold

Rep. Michael Grimm of New York is in a heap of trouble. Whether or not he chooses to resign, the fight to stay in Congress will require a long battle against the media and his fellow members of Congress.

Yesterday, Congressman Grimm plead guilty to one count of felony tax fraud. He pleaded guilty to the fourth count of a 20-count indictment brought by federal prosecutors in April. The scandal results from Grimm's ownership of Healthalicious, an Upper East Side restaurant.

His sentencing hearing is not until June 8th of next year, allowing him to be swore into his third term of Congress on June 6th. He faces up to three years in jail.

This isn't the first time Congressman Grimm has been in the news for outlandish behavior. Last January, when a reporter asked him a question about his legal troubles, he threatened to throw the reporter off a balcony. Here is the video:

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

But here faces the problem of a Congressman who has been convicted of tax evasion. How are we to trust this man with our tax money?

Politico explains that majority House leader John Boehner has historically had little tolerance for beleaguered lawmakers. Former Representatives Chris Lee (R-NY) and Mark Souder (R-IN) were forced to resign after sexual affairs. Representatives Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Don Young (R-AL) were forced to give up top committee seats after they faced criminal investigations.

Given the history, Boehner will most likely punish Grimm in some form or fashion. However, Politico reports that Boehner's spokesman has said that the speaker Boehner will not have any announcements until he meets with Congressman Grimm in person.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi thinks otherwise.

“Now that the election is over, Congressman Grimm is finally admitting the truth to his constituents,” Pelosi said. “Clearly, Speaker Boehner must insist that Congressman Grimm resign immediately.”

Although there is no requirement that a member of Congress must resign after pleading guilty to a felony, the Daily Beast has found two ways Congress could punish him.

House Rule XXIII shows that Grimm should be refrained from voting because he could be convicted of more than two years in jail. He could also be expelled from Congress with a two-thirds vote of the House.

Mr. Grimm has continued to say he will not resign.

"As I said before as long as I am able to serve I will serve," he said after pleading guilty. “As of right now I'm still in a capacity to serve and that's exactly what I plan on doing."

He also explained why he was guilty.

It's difficult to admit when you're wrong. I was. I under-reported the gross sales receipts of the restaurant to pay business expenses, including payroll for employees that were off the books. It's true. I had, for example, delivery boys that were paid off the books. And as a result, the taxes were not accurate."

Grimm acknowledged his mistakes but made sure to explain that these mistakes happened before he was in Congress.

...Every single thing we're talking about here happened before I was in congress, and for the past four years I've been a very effective, strong member of congress, that I've served the people of Staten Island very well, and I think the proof of that is the will of the people."

Sources: Huffington Post, Politico (2), The Daily Beast, Silive, NPR / Photo Credit: Politico