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Ethics Committee Defers Action on Grimm

Grimm dodges an ethics bullet — for now — in the case of the balcony-tossing threat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At the request of the Justice Department, House Ethics Committee has deferred any action on Rep. Michael G. Grimm for telling a reporter on the night of the State of the Union that he would throw him off the Cannon House Office Building balcony for attempting to ask the New York Republican about the federal investigation into alleged campaign finance violations.  

The panel announced Wednesday evening that it had voted to pass on the matter at this time after receiving the request from the Justice Department, adding that it would check in with the public at least once a year if it continues to defer action. The committee also released the official report it received from the Office of Congressional Ethics, in which the quasi-independent entity unanimously recommended that the ethics panel pursue a full investigation into Grimm's actions, which also included a threat against NY1 reporter Michael Scotto that he would break him in half "like a boy."  

"If Grimm threatened to do bodily harm to or assaulted a reporter, then he may have violated the D.C. Code or House Rules," the OCE report reads.  

The entire exchange was captured on video by the NY1 cameraman, and it quickly went viral. Grimm apologized to Scotto and said the two planned to have lunch sometime to put it all behind them, though it's unclear whether that meal ever took place.  

Meanwhile, months later, Grimm was indicted on 20 counts of federal misconduct unrelated to the other ostensibly ongoing investigation to which Scotto referenced: Grimm now awaits trial on charges that he withheld close to $1 million from the government, among other charges, during the time he owned and operated a health food store called Healthalicious, prior to his election to Congress in 2010.  

The balcony-tossing ethics issue would become moot if Grimm leaves Congress, as the Ethics Committee only has jurisdiction over sitting members.  

Prveviously, the Radio-Television Correspondents Association said it would not pursue the incident on behalf of one of their reporters, and the Capitol Police also eventually declared the case closed.