Rep. Grimm Backtracks on Claims that Vandalism was ‘Politically Motivated’
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Staten Island and Brooklyn Congressman Michael Grimm is back peddling on earlier statements about politically motivated vandalism and possible computer tampering at his Staten Island campaign office over the weekend.
This past Sunday, campaign workers for the Republican Congressman arrived at headquarters on Staten Island and found large holes in their windows. Someone appeared to have thrown cement bricks through them. The campaign’s computers were also thought to have been possibly erased and a new operating system installed. Police brought in their cybercrimes unit to investigate.
The campaign released a statement at the time, attributed to the congressman, stating in part, “I do believe this is a politically motivated crime, and will continue to work closely with the NYPD in identifying and prosecuting those responsible.”
By Wednesday, Grimm was singing a different tune.
In a statement, Grimm said “we are very relieved to know this is not politically motivated.”
The NYPD had identified those responsible: A pair of 8th graders confessed to the vandalism. And it didn’t appear the teens were motivated by much more than your normal teenage debauchery.
When a spokesperson for the campaign was asked if the congressman was too quick to assign political motivations to the vandalism, she pointed back to Grimm’s latest statement.
“At the time, when we saw three large window panes broken, following a consistent pattern of lawn sign thefts and after several locations with Grimm signs and posters were barraged with eggs, it was not hard to come to any other conclusion,” Grimm said in the statement.
As for the computers that were possibly hacked or erased, Grimm said there was a reason he thought that had happened.
“[T]he gentleman in charge of operating the main computer system, found the computer not functioning and a new operating system installed,” Grimm said. “Again, under the circumstances, it could very easily lead one to believe that this was all connected, which is why we contacted the NYPD… [I]t is possible that a volunteer could have inadvertently compromised the computer and failed to report it.”
According to an NYPD spokesperson, the police are still investigating the matter. But a police source told The New York Times on Monday that they found no evidence of tampering of erasing.
In addition, the Congressman said in his statement that "the shameless media spin and speculation fueled by unscrupulous sources" was the most troubling aspect of the entire incident.
As events unfolded, allegations were made that perhaps, due to an ongoing investigation Grimm is facing, the incident was made-up or staged. He called such allegations part of an "ongoing smear campaign."
Grimm is under federal investigation for possible illegal contributions made to his campaign in 2010. An Israeli fundraiser was arrest last month and charged with immigration fraud. Grimm has denied any wrongdoing.