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Rep. Michael Grimm (R)

Michael Grimm Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-3371

Address: 512 CHOB, DC 20515

Michael Grimm Biography
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  • Elected: 2010, 2nd term.
  • District: New York 11
  • Born: Feb. 07, 1970, Brooklyn
  • Home: Staten Island
  • Education:

    Baruch Col., B.A. 1994; NY Law Schl., J.D. 2002.

  • Professional Career:

    Special agent, FBI, 1997-2006; owner, Healthalicious restaurant, 2006-08; principal, Austin Refuel.

  • Military Career:

    Marine Corps, 1991 (Persian Gulf).

  • Religion:


  • Family: Divorced

(NOTE: Grimm officially resigned his seat on Jan. 5, 2015, after his guilty plea to felony tax-evasion charges. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo scheduled a May 5 special election for the seat.) Read More

(NOTE: Grimm officially resigned his seat on Jan. 5, 2015, after his guilty plea to felony tax-evasion charges. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo scheduled a May 5 special election for the seat.)

Republican Michael Grimm, who unseated freshman Democrat Michael McMahon in 2010, is a tough-talking Marine combat veteran and ex-undercover FBI agent who once seemed like the ideal GOP candidate. But Grimm’s tenure has been plagued by accusations of ethics violations as well as other controversies, and in April 2014 he was indicted on 20 counts of fraud and other charges.

Grimm grew up in Staten Island and left college during his freshman year to join the Marines, serving in the Persian Gulf War. After he left active duty, he joined the FBI, working as a clerk on the midnight shift and taking college classes during the day. Grimm completed the Federal Police Officer Training Program and became a U.S. marshal and uniformed police officer for the FBI. He then got his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Baruch College and returned to the FBI as a special agent, investigating organized crime and financial fraud. He went undercover for two years as a hedge fund manager investigating fraud and stock manipulation as part of a sting operation that resulted in the arrests of more than 30 traders and brokers in 2003. Grimm left the bureau in 2006 to open a health food restaurant in Manhattan. He also served as the director of a Texas-based biofuels company.

He was a political novice when he decided to take on McMahon in 2010. He first had to get through a competitive Republican primary against public policy analyst Michael Allegretti, who attacked him for health code violations at his restaurant and for passing out campaign photos of himself sporting ribbons that Allegretti said Grimm did not earn. Grimm responded that he was awarded some ribbons erroneously because of an Army administrative mistake that was discovered only after the photos were taken. Grimm had the support of tea party groups, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, while Allegretti was backed by the borough Republican Party. Grimm won with a solid 68% of the vote.

In the general election, McMahon had a decisive edge in fundraising. Grimm attacked McMahon for his support of President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill and dubbed him “Tax Hike Mike.” McMahon focused on his work to help Staten Island, such as seeking federal transportation funds. He also emphasized his independence from the party, touting his votes against the Democrats’ health care overhaul and the endorsement of independent Michael Bloomberg, New York’s mayor. With a strong Republican tide working in his favor that year, Grimm won 51% to 48%.

In the House, he joined fellow New Yorker Peter King as one of the chamber’s most liberal Republicans. He voted against many of the tea party-driven proposals to slash government programs and spending, telling the Advance in February 2011, “I hope people are seeing my independence.” He did, however, join Republicans on such big votes as the health care law repeal and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint. He introduced a flurry of legislation, including measures to set up clean energy business zones and crack down on prescription drug abuse.

With his Wall Street background, he was given a seat on the Financial Services Committee. He worked energetically on local issues, from keeping down toll fares to urging the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to add light rail to any redesign of the Bayonne Bridge linking New Jersey and Staten Island.

But then came a series of negative headlines. The New York Times in January 2012 detailed what it said were fundraising violations by Grimm’s 2010 campaign, accusing him of skirting fundraising limits and accepting $5,000 cash in an envelope. The newspaper also examined his business record, noting a business partnership with a fellow ex-FBI agent who was indicted on charges of racketeering and fraud. Grimm also faced questions over his backing of a natural gas pipeline in Queens; he subsequently accepted campaign donations from pipeline supporters. Grimm called the accusations “absolute nonsense.”

Staten Island Republicans, a more conservative group than others in New York, rallied around Grimm and enthusiastically nominated him for reelection in 2012. Democrats couldn’t attract a big-name challenger and went with Mark Murphy, a real estate investor and former minor movie actor. Murphy’s father, John Murphy, had served as Staten Island’s congressman from 1962 to 1980 before getting caught in the FBI’s Abscam sting operation. As news media outlets reported that a federal grand jury was looking into Grimm’s case, the House Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the Ethics Committee dismiss the charges because the office could not say whether any violations took place after Grimm became a member of Congress. The AFL-CIO, which normally backed Democrats, declined to endorse either Grimm or Murphy.

In the race’s closing days, Grimm reaped some of the goodwill for his energetic response during Hurricane Sandy. He outraised Murphy, $2.3 million to $929,000, and came away with a 52%-47% victory. Three weeks later, the Ethics Committee announced that it had formally opened an investigation of Grimm but said it would defer to the Justice Department’s ongoing probe.

In his second term, Grimm spoke out against Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz over shutting down the federal government in an attempt to de-fund the Affordable Care Act. “When you have Senator Cruz and others constantly going out there on every show imaginable and running ads that we can defund Obamacare, I think that hurts the Republican Party,” Grimm told MSNBC in September 2013. “I think this is an opportunity to maybe start putting an end to that and having maybe a unification of the Republican Party."

But Grimm drew more headlines for his January 2014 confrontation with a reporter from NY-1 TV after the State of the Union address. The reporter, Michael Scotto, tried to ask about the campaign finance investigation, prompting an angry Grimm to threaten to "break [Scotto] in half" and throw him off a balcony. Grimm later apologized, but condemned Scotto for what he called a "disrespectful cheap shot."

Grimm notched a major legislative accomplishment in March, when President Obama signed into law the bill that he sponsored with California Democrat Maxine Waters to curb some of the premium increases in the nation’s flood insurance program. The bill had passed the House on an overwhelming 306-91 vote. But the good news for Grimm ended there. The 20-count indictment against him said he allegedly failed to report more $1 million from a Manhattan restaurant he owned from 2007 to 2010, then tried to cover up his tax-avoidance scheme when former employees of the restaurant sued him in federal court.

Grimm refused to resign and said he would continue to run for reelection, though he did relinquish his Financial Services seat. The Ethics Committee subsequently announced a special investigative panel to look into the accusations, but again said it would defer action because of the indictment. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, smelling opportunity for a takeover of his seat, allocated $950,000 for TV ads to run against him. But some Staten Island political kingpins remained in his corner. ""He's like my son," former Rep. Guy Molinari said in a radio interview. "I love this man. I know him backward and forward. He's clean, he's honest and he loves his country." 

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Michael Grimm Election Results
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2012 General
Michael Grimm (R)
Votes: 103,118
Percent: 52.22%
Mark Murphy (D)
Votes: 92,428
Percent: 46.8%
2012 Primary
Michael Grimm (R)
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (51%)
Michael Grimm Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 54 (L) : 46 (C) 50 (L) : 50 (C) 43 (L) : 56 (C)
Social 54 (L) : 45 (C) 53 (L) : 47 (C) 54 (L) : 46 (C)
Foreign 49 (L) : 50 (C) 48 (L) : 52 (C) 52 (L) : 48 (C)
Composite 52.7 (L) : 47.3 (C) 50.3 (L) : 49.7 (C) 49.8 (L) : 50.2 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
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About Almanac
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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