Earlier in the afternoon, the congressman's lawyer had issued a statement revealing that the U.S. attorney in New York was preparing to indict him.
There are few details for now about what the indictment will contain, but past reporting about the investigations into Grimm's campaign fundraising give us clues. Politico writes: "The Justice Department was looking into Grimm’s relation with Ofer Biton, an Israeli citizen who pleaded guilty last year to a visa violation. Grimm—with Biton’s help—raised more than $500,000 from Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto’s followers, including alleged improper donations."
The New York Times has more:
The charges against Mr. Grimm, 44, a Republican who was first elected in 2010 and represents Staten Island and a portion of Brooklyn, will include mail fraud and wire fraud and focus on his conduct in connection with a health food restaurant he owned on the Upper East Side of Manhattan after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2006, one of the people said.The last time Grimm was in the national news was when he physically threatened a reporter in January. "I'll break you in half. Like a boy." And that was only the latest of Grimm's many outbursts.
Grimm's district (NY-11) covers Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. In 2012, President Obama carried it with 52 percent of the vote, so Grimm already was a Democratic target. He should be even more vulnerable now. His Democratic opponent is Domenic Recchia. New York's filing deadline just passed this Thursday, so it is too late for a primary challenge to materialize.
2:49 PM PT (David Jarman): There are several ways this scenario could play out, none of which bode well for the Republicans: with filing already closed, Grimm could run against Recchia while still under indictment, which would be a significant drag on his chances. Alternatively, Grimm could withdraw (either voluntarily, requiring him to ... get this ... either move out of state or accept a judgeship, under New York state law, or else involuntarily, if he's convicted before November), leaving the Staten Island and Brooklyn GOP committees to try to agree on a replacement candidate.
As you may recall from the amazing 2008 election following Vito Fossella's implosion, the two county committees don't agree on much of anything, creating the possibility of a compromise candidate nobody likes much. Either way, the Democrats' chances of picking up this swingy district (52-47 Obama in 2012 right after Hurricane Sandy; 51-48 McCain in 2008) are significantly improved, so we're moving this race from Likely Republican to Tossup.