FBI is told rabbi do­nated il­le­gally

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics -

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.

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