Several Lawmakers Win Re-Election Despite Ongoing Probes

All elections are tough, but some are tougher than others. A number of lawmakers on ballots Tuesday were campaigning with the burden, whether earned or not, of ethical or criminal investigations.

How’d they fare? Better than you might think. TPM runs through the list:Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) – Won

A former FBI agent who was first elected to Congress in 2010, Grimm won a bitter re-election fight against Democrat Mark Murphy on Tuesday, a week after both candidates suspended their campaigns in deference to the devastation that Superstorm Sandy brought to their Staten Island district.

Grimm won despite the fact that authorities have been reportedly looking into the lawmaker’s fundraising since at least January. In June, news reports said that the FBI had questioned several people who worked for his 2010 congressional campaign. In August, an Israeli man who served as a top fundraiser for Grimm’s 2010 run — and who is connected to prominent New York Rabbi Yosef Pinto — was arrested for allegedly lying on immigration documents.

As of midday Wednesday, Murphy had yet to concede the race, but the Associated Press was reporting that with 91 percent of the vote counted, Grimm was leading 54 percent to 45 percent. Overnight, Grimm didn’t let up in his attacks on Murphy, saying he wouldn’t take a concession call from the Democrat even if it was made.

“He has disgraced himself and his family,” Grimm said.

Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) – Lost

Rivera lost to a long-time rival, Democrat Joe Garcia, on Tuesday night, after spending essentially all of his one term in Congress battling whispers and reports of investigations by both federal and state officials.

Where to start?

There was the Florida investigation that ended without charges, but with a “close-out” memo from the state attorney’s office that lamented the fact that “an elected official over a period of many years may essentially live off of a combination of contributions made in support of public office candidacies, contributions made in support of internal political party position candidacies, and indirect payments made as a consideration for efforts as a political strategist while avoiding penal sanction.” There was the FBI and the IRS reportedly looking into a half-million dollar payment made by a Florida dog racing track to a company connected to Rivera’s mother and godmother. There was the reported federal investigation into a mystery candidate who ran against Garcia in the Democratic primary this year and who apparently received tens thousands of dollars in secret from Rivera, and who recently invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in a filing with the FEC. And then there was Florida’s Ethics Commission, which in late October charged Rivera with 11 counts of violating ethics laws while serving in the state legislature.

With all the votes in, Garcia had 54 percent to Rivera’s 42.9 percent, according to The Miami Herald.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) – Won

Jackson hasn’t been to work since June, when he collapsed in his Washington, D.C. home and then subsequently spent the summer being treated for bipolar disorder in Minnesota and Arizona.

In fact, the written statement Jackson issued on Tuesday, thanking the people of Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District, was just the third time he has been heard from publicly since the spring.

“My deep and sincere thanks to the people of the 2nd Congressional District, I am humbled and moved by the support shown today,” Jackson said in a written statement. “Everyday, I think about your needs and concerns. Once the Doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years. My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better everyday and look forward to serving you.”

But Jackson also reportedly has to deal with a federal criminal probe, related to the alleged misuse of campaign money to decorate his home. In mid-October, The Wall Street Journal reported that the probe was in its final states.

Despite all this, Jackson easily beat his challengers, Republican Brian Woodworth and independent Marcus Lewis, on Tuesday, garnering more than 60 percent of the vote.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) – Lost

Back in June, with Berkley well into her Senate race, House Ethics Committee officials announced they were forming an investigative subcommittee to look into allegations that Berkley intervened with federal regulators on behalf of a Las Vegas hospital that has a contract with her husband.

Berkley has maintained she did nothing wrong, that she intervened to help patients in her state rather than her spouse’s medical practice. But the allegations have dogged Berkley throughout her race against Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV).

On Tuesday, Heller defeated Berkley by a margin of just more than 1 percent, in one of the tightest Senate races of the cycle.

Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) – Won

Andrews came under the scrutiny of the House Ethics Committee for allegedly using money from his congressional campaign and a leadership PAC to cover the cost of a family trip to Scotland, to fly his daughter to Los Angeles, and to pay for her high school graduation party. A report from the Office of Congressional Ethics said that his wife, a lawyer who serves as a volunteer compliance officer, signed off on the expenditures.

Andrews, 55, easily beat Republican challenger Gregory Horton on Tuesday in the 1st District of New Jersey, a safely Democratic seat in southern part of the state. The Ethics Committee announced in late August that it would continue to investigate the allegations against Andrews, but it did not take the step of forming an investigative subcommittee. Andrews, who has been in office since 1990, has claimed he met all of the standards of the House of Representatives.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) – Won

The ongoing House Ethics Committee review of sexual harassment allegations against the 76-year-old Hastings doesn’t mark the first time the Florida Democrat has faced ethical problems. In 1989, long before he was elected to Congress, Hastings was one of the few federal judges ever impeached by the U.S. Senate. One of the eight impeachment articles against him alleged that he conspired to obtain a $150,000 bribe.

Hastings has avoided a full House Ethics Committee probe of the sexual harassment allegations against him, but officials said in January they would continue to review the matter. Hastings had been sued by a former staffer of the Helsinki Commission, independent agency he co-chaired. The female staffer alleged that Hastings made unwanted sexual advances on her and threatened to fire her when she rebuffed him. A judge ruled earlier this year that the suit could continue against the commission but could not continue against the congressman.

On Tuesday, Hastings cruised to victory over an independent in his overwhelmingly Democratic district. He had no Republican opponent.

Disclosure: Ryan Reilly worked as an unpaid intern in Rep. Andrews’ office in the fall of 2006.