Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) seen earlier this year on Capitol Hill. The… (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated…)
The House Ethics Committee said Monday that it would begin an inquiry into whether Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) violated campaign finance laws.
First though, the committee will defer to a separate investigation from the Justice Department, which is also looking into whether Grimm, who recently won reelection over Democrat Mark Murphy, is guilty of a number of infractions.
The Ethics Committee listed possible solicitation and acceptance of illegal campaign contributions, falsification of information included in campaign finance reports and offering to assist a foreign national obtain a green card in exchange for campaign contributions.
The Office of Congressional Ethics first brought the allegations to the Ethics Committee’s attention in June, though it recommended that the issue be dismissed due to the a lack of proof that Grimm’s alleged actions took place after he was elected to the House. The Ethics Committee dismissed the OCE’s rationale, deciding that Grimm’s possible actions taking place during a congressional campaign places him within its jurisdiction.
Ethics Committee Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) and ranking member Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) said in a statement on the investigation that “the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.”
Grimm spokesman William McGinley said that the announcement from the committee “comes as no surprise.”
“We appreciate the Committee’s decision to defer consideration of this matter while we continue to work with the Department of Justice to favorably resolve the false allegations against Congressman Grimm,” he said in a statement. “Any fair and objective review of all of the facts in this matter will conclude that Congressman Grimm engaged in no wrongdoing.”
Grimm, a former FBI agent and Gulf War veteran, prompted headlines earlier this year when the vandalization of his campaign office in Staten Island, which he deemed an “attack on democracy and the political process,” turned out to be the act of an 8th-grade student.
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