When NY1 reporter Michael Scotto attempted to ask Rep. Michael Grimm (R– N.Y.) about ongoing investigations of his 2010 campaign fundraising activity, the Congressman quickly ended the interview and stormed off. After Scotto threw back to the station, however, Grimm approached him again and engaged in a bizarre attempt to intimidate the reporter by, among other things, threatening to "break you in half." Pro tip for the Congressman: The next time you threaten a reporter, maybe make sure his camera isn't still running first.
So, aside from the sheer spectacle of watching a duly elected United States Congressman threaten to kill a reporter, why does this matter? Because while Grimm might be one of the more egregious examples — he's been featured on watchdog organization CREW's list of the most corrupt members of Congress for the past three years — he represents a much broader problem: the corrosive effect of money on our current political system.
Last year, the average cost of running a successful Senate campaign was $10.4 million while successful campaigns for the House cost $1.6 million. Those are 62% and 334% increases since 1986 respectively. Between skyrocketing campaign costs and the mind-bogglingly legal use of leadership PACs as political slush funds, there's more and more incentive for our elected representatives to go to increasingly brazen lengths to keep the money coming in. If anything, what makes Grimm truly exceptional isn't greed or corruption — it's the fact that he got caught.