He’s got bigger legal woes to contend with, for sure. But Rep. Michael Grimm’s confrontation with a reporter after President Obama’s State of the Union address in January is now officially a matter before the House Ethics Committee.
However, Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and ranking member Linda Sanchez also announced Wednesday that Justice Department officials have asked their panel to defer consideration of what happened between the Staten Island Republican and Michael Scotto, a reporter with NY1. And the committee has agreed.
The committee previously had been asked to delay consideration on other matters involving Grimm, on the heels of Grimm’s federal indictment in April in New York on 20 counts of fraud, perjury, mail and wire fraud, and other charges tied to his Manhattan restaurant.
He also remains under investigation for campaign-finance violations. On Wednesday, the New York Daily News reported Grimm’s former girlfriend is in plea talks with federal prosecutors to resolve her own criminal charges of violating campaign-finance laws.
But as part of their announcement Wednesday that Grimm’s altercation with the reporter is officially before the Ethics Committee, Conaway and Sanchez released a one-page referral report received April 9 from the Office of Congressional Ethics, which essentially vets potential ethics cases.
The report showed that the OCE had voted 6-0 to recommend the Ethics Committee further review Grimm’s actions, “as there is substantial reason to believe that Representative Grimm threatened a reporter with bodily harm and engaged in a threatening or menacing act that created a fear of immediate injury, in violation of the D.C. Code and House rules.”
Grimm has already apologized to Scotto for threatening to throw him over a balcony and, according to press accounts, “break [him] in half.” Scotto had been attempting to ask him about an investigation concerning his 2010 campaign.