A New York congressman is in the hot seat this morning for threatening a television reporter on air in the Capitol rotunda after he was asked about a federal investigation into his campaign finances.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) was being interviewed by NY1 political reporter Michael Scotto after the State of the Union address when Scotto tried to ask the congressman about the ongoing investigation. One of Grimm’s fundraisers, Diana Durand, was arrested by the FBI this month and is accused of using straw donors to pump more than $10,000 into Grimm’s 2010 campaign. Through his attorney, Grimm has denied any wrongdoing.
“And just finally before we let you go, we haven’t had a chance to talk about some of the…” Scotto asked at the end of the interview before Grimm cut him off, saying he would only talk on the topic of President Obama’s speech.
Grimm walked off; Scotto then turned back to the camera and said, “So Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances…”
The congressman came back and told Scotto in a low voice, still audible on camera, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”
The reporter asked why Grimm would say that since he asked a valid question.
“No, no, you’re not man enough, you’re not man enough. I’ll break you in half. Like a boy,” Grimm said.
The congressman said in a statement afterward he was “extremely annoyed because I was doing NY1 a favor by rushing to do their interview first in lieu of several other requests.”
“The reporter knew that I was in a hurry and was only there to comment on the State of the Union, but insisted on taking a disrespectful and cheap shot at the end of the interview, because I did not have time to speak off-topic. I verbally took the reporter to task and told him off, because I expect a certain level of professionalism and respect, especially when I go out of my way to do that reporter a favor,” Grimm continued. “I doubt that I am the first Member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”