Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) on Tuesday pleaded guilty in a federal court to willfully dodging taxes, a charge that could lead to a prison term of up to three years and seems likely to force him to resign from the House.
"With today's guilty plea, Michael Grimm has admitted that while running his business he chose lies and deception over honest dealings with federal and state authorities as well as his own employees," said Loretta Lynch, a U.S. attorney who has been nominated to be the next U.S. Attorney General. Lynch said Grimm signed a statement admitted to several other crimes.
"Michael Grimm has now publicly admitted that he hired unauthorized workers whom he paid 'off the books' in cash, took deliberate steps to obstruct the federal and state governments from collecting taxes he properly owed, cheated New York State out of workers' compensation insurance premiums, caused numerous false business and personal tax returns to be filed for several years, and lied under oath to cover up his crimes," Lynch said.
As part of his plea deal, Grimm agreed to pay the IRS, and New York State for taxes owed.
While many are expecting Grimm to resign, Grimm released a statement Tuesday indicating he was not quite ready to give up his seat. "As long as I'm able to serve, I'm going to," he told Reuters.
Grimm's refusal to resign could force House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to push Grimm out. Earlier in the day, Boehner's office said it would have no comment on the situation until the two men spoke.
Democrats were already pushing for his removal or resignation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Grimm's plea means he needs to resign.
"Clearly, Speaker Boehner must insist that Congressman Grimm resign immediately," she said.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) tweeted that Grimm now has to resign under U.S. law:
Rep Michael Grimm is now a self-admitted felon. He must resign his seat in Congress or be expelled. No convicted felons in the House— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) December 23, 2014
Last year, Grimm threatened a reporter in the Capitol for asking questions about controversy surrounding his campaign finances. "I'll break you in half," Grimm said. "Like a boy."