The real reason the FBI was interested in the naked Galilee swim

Turns out, as I sort of suspected, that contrary to earlier reports, the FBI was not interested in why Rep. Kevin Yoder wasn’t wearing a bathing suit during his unsuccessful attempt to follow in Jesus’s footsteps on the Sea of Galilee, but in the more serious but less amusing topic of corruption allegations against Staten ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Turns out, as I sort of suspected, that contrary to earlier reports, the FBI was not interested in why Rep. Kevin Yoder wasn't wearing a bathing suit during his unsuccessful attempt to follow in Jesus's footsteps on the Sea of Galilee, but in the more serious but less amusing topic of corruption allegations against Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm. The Wall Street Journal reports

 Numerous congressional ethics-law experts interviewed Monday said the FBI does not care if lawmakers swim naked and that the investigation must be a matter under the agency’s jurisdiction. “Last time I checked, skinny dipping anywhere, including a foreign country, is not a federal crime,” said Jan Baran, head of the election law group at Wiley Rein LLP.

The person familiar with the investigation said the FBI came across details of the swimming incident while examining the Israel trip and a trip Rep. Grimm made afterward to Cyprus, but that the swimming incident wasn’t relevant to the probe.

Turns out, as I sort of suspected, that contrary to earlier reports, the FBI was not interested in why Rep. Kevin Yoder wasn’t wearing a bathing suit during his unsuccessful attempt to follow in Jesus’s footsteps on the Sea of Galilee, but in the more serious but less amusing topic of corruption allegations against Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm. The Wall Street Journal reports

 Numerous congressional ethics-law experts interviewed Monday said the FBI does not care if lawmakers swim naked and that the investigation must be a matter under the agency’s jurisdiction. “Last time I checked, skinny dipping anywhere, including a foreign country, is not a federal crime,” said Jan Baran, head of the election law group at Wiley Rein LLP.

The person familiar with the investigation said the FBI came across details of the swimming incident while examining the Israel trip and a trip Rep. Grimm made afterward to Cyprus, but that the swimming incident wasn’t relevant to the probe.

Talking Points Memo has more

Grimm, a former FBI agent, has been the subject of plenty of attention from federal authorities over the past year. On Friday, one of Grimm’s top fundraisers was arrested for allegedly lying about the source of a loan on immigration documents. That man, an Israeli named Ofer Biton, traveled around the New York area with Grimm in 2010 to raise money for his congressional campaign. At least four of Grimm’s 2010 campaign workers have been questioned by the FBI. Federal prosecutors have also interviewed several donors, according to the New York Times.

So frolic in the nude to your heart’s content, lawmakers. Your late night bacchanalia won’t make you the target of a federal investigation. Though they may cause you some embarrassment, so it might still be a good idea to wear shorts and, like Rep. Ben Quayle, have a religious justification.   

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: FBI

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