FBI Arrest of Friend/Donor Puts Pressure on Congressman
Posted at 9:54 a.m. on Jan. 17
In an action that may be part of a strategic plan to bring pressure on someone under investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested a person who is a friend and donor to a Congressman who is currently under investigation for campaign finance violations.
Diana Durand, of Houston, Texas, was arrested last Friday and accused of a contribution scheme to use the names of others to funnel $10,000 to the 2010 campaign of Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y. She allegedly lied to federal agents about her actions. Rep. Grimm’s 2009-2010 campaign finance records show he received $41,550 from contributors in Texas, including $22,700 from employees of Sun Coast Resources.
Grimm’s attorney stated, “We are saddened that the government took the extraordinary step of arresting a single mother on these allegations, and hope the matter will be resolved quickly. The complaint does not allege any improper conduct by Congressman Grimm, and he denies any wrongdoing.”
Durand is also accused of funneling other funds to a second candidate. Durand, an employee of Sun Coast Resources, who contributed $2,400 to Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., is accused of giving $4,800 to co-worker to be a ‘straw donor’ and asking the money be passed on in contributions to Rep. Schock. Schock’s campaign finance records shows he received $13,309 from contributors in Texas, including several who also gave to Grimm.
News reports have stated Durand is a ‘social friend’ of Grimm, who had traveled to Texas when he owned Austin Refuel.
Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., is currently under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, New York, for possible fundraising violations during his 2010 campaign. View earlier Roll Call posting about the case. In November of last year The House Ethics Committee stated it would defer its investigation of Rep. Grimm while the Department of Justice investigates.