Ethics forms panel to investigate Grimm

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The House Ethics Committee voted to form a subcommittee to investigate Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) after he was indicted on 20 criminal charges last month. 

However, it also recommended that the panel defer any action at the request of the Justice Department.

If and when the committee proceeds, it is is slated to investigate whether he broke House rules and other standards of conduct relating to last month’s charges of "obstructing the tax law, conspiracy to defraud the United States, aiding and abetting tax evasion, healthcare fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, unlawful employment of aliens, obstruction of an official proceeding, and perjury."

House rules give the committee a 30-day deadline to decide whether to open an investigation or give explanation for opting against one after a member is indicted on criminal charges. Grimm was indicted April 28 and the committee's deadline was approaching next week. 

“Under the House Rules, today’s routine announcement by the Committee on Ethics was fully expected," Grimm's lawyer William McGinley of Patton Boggs said in a statement. 

For years, the Ethics Committee had been asked to look into separate allegations that he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions, among other things, but had continuously differed to the Justice Department. 

Chairman of the Ethics Committee Michael Conaway (R-Texas) and ranking member Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) will head the subpanel. Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) will also sit on the committee. 

The congressman pleaded not guilty to a host of charges last month resulting from his alleged concealment of more than $1 million in revenue from a New York restaurant that he owned. The charges include falsifying tax returns, conspiracy to obstruct the law, mail fraud and perjury. 

The charges appeared to be the result of a separate investigation into allegations of campaign finance violations. 

Grimm has said he won't step down and is running for reelection, though privately many Republicans admit his seat, already a swing district, is likely gone.  

—Updated 4:15 p.m.