At the behest of the Justice Department, the House Ethics Committee will continue to put off launching a formal ethics probe into alleged misconduct by sophomore Rep. Michael G. Grimm.
The panel’s statement on Tuesday — issued exactly a year after its last release on the matter — signals that federal officials have not yet dropped their own investigation into the New York Republican’s campaign finance activity.
“The Department of Justice has asked the Committee to continue to defer consideration of this matter and the Committee, following precedent, agreed to continue to defer consideration of this matter at this time,” Ethics Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking member Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif., said in a joint statement. “At least annually, the Committee will make a public statement [if] it continues to defer taking action on the matter.”
The committee — then under the chairmanship of ex-Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala. — first received the Grimm case on its official docket on June 29, 2012, via a referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.
At the time, the Ethics Committee disclosed that the OCE had recommended dismissal of the case because it “could not establish with sufficient certainty that a violation occurred after Representative Grimm became a member of Congress.” The panel, however, is permitted to examine pre-election actions related to members’ official duties.
Grimm is specifically being looked at for allegedly “soliciting and accepting federal campaign contributions, caus[ing] false information to be included in campaign finance reports, and improperly [seeking] assistance from a foreign national in soliciting campaign contributions in exchange for offering to use his official position to assist that individual in obtaining a green card.”
The lack of a conclusion in the investigation allowed Grimm to survive re-election in 2012 in a district that includes the New York City borough of Staten Island and portions of Brooklyn.