FBI is told rabbi donated illegally
NEW YORK | The FBI is considering whether to open an investigation into allegations that followers of a New York City rabbi made illegal campaign contributions to Rep. Michael G. Grimm, according to a law enforcement official.
Followers of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, an influential figure in Israel with headquarters in Manhattan, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mr. Grimm when he first ran for office in 2010, according to campaign records. Some donors have since said that they broke rules to donate more cash to the Republican’s campaign than allowed by law.
Mr. Pinto hasn’t commented publicly, but former Rep. Anthony D. Weiner, a Democrat who had been close to the rabbi, said in interviews with several media outlets Friday and Saturday that Mr. Pinto approached him in the fall of 2010 to complain that Mr. Grimm had extorted him for the money.
Mr. Weiner, who resigned last year amid a scandal over sexually explicit texts and Twitter messages, told the political newspaper Roll Call that he didn’t know whether the allegations were true, but reported them to the FBI anyway. He declined to discuss in detail why the rabbi felt he had been threatened.