Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) was indicted on fraud charges in connection with a Manhattan fast-food restaurant he partly owned. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Chris Cillizza
Reporter May 2

Michael Grimm, meet irony.

Grimm is a former undercover FBI agent turned congressman from Staten Island who, this past week, was indicted by the U.S. attorney in New York on 20 counts of mail, wire and tax fraud.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House. View Archive

Grimm’s response to the charges? Outrage! The U.S. Attorney’s Office was leaking “all kinds of innuendos and accusations to support a political witch hunt,” Grimm argued. The goal was to “assassinate my character,” he said. “I know I’m a moral man.”

The FBI didn’t hold back in dealing with a former employee. “He cheated, evaded and then lied,” George Venizelos, who runs the FBI’s New York office, said of the congressman.

At issue, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges, is that Grimm concealed more than $1 million in salary and wages for employees of his Manhattan health-food restaurant — known, amazingly, as Healthalicious.

The federal investigation of Grimm began because of allegations that tens of thousands of dollars had been illegally funneled to his winning 2010 campaign by supporters of Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, a celebrity rabbiwho, among other things, has given financial advice to LeBron James. It’s unclear whether any campaign finance charges will result from that part of the probe.

If you’re wondering why Grimm’s name seems familiar, he made national headlines — including his first Worst Week in Washington — after this year’s State of the Union addresswhen he threatened to break a local TV news reporter “in half” or, alternatively, to “throw you off this f---ing balcony.”

Michael Grimm, for turning your congressional career into a future FBI case study, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@washpost.com.

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