Ethics defers inquiry into Grimm's dustup

The House Ethics Committee on Wednesday said it would defer an inquiry into whether Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) broke House rules by threatening to throw a reporter from a balcony after the State of the Union address in January.

The Ethics panel said it was defering the inquiry at the request of the Justice Department, which has repeatedly asked the committee to stand down over allegations that Grimm broke campaign finance laws. 

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A 20-count criminal indictment against Grimm was handed down in April. It alleges he concealed more than $1 million in revenue from a restaurant he owned. 

The Ethics Committee said it would make a yearly public update on the case.

Wednesday was the first time the Ethics Committee disclosed that the independent Office of Congressional Ethics had referred the case on Grimm to it in April. The Office of Congressional Ethics, in a one-page report, said there was substantial reason to believe that Grimm violated the D.C. Code and House rules during the incident with the reporter in January.

Grimm threatened to throw a reporter from "this f---ing balcony" after the reporter asked him about the ongoing investigation during an interview after President Obama’s speech. 

He later added: "I'll break you in half."

Grimm apologized and Capitol Police said it would not pursue a case against Grimm. At the time, the U.S. Attorney's office in the District would neither confirm nor deny any investigation on its part. 

The New York Congressman was uncontested in Tuesday night's primary, but he faces Democratic opponent Domenic Recchia in the November election, which Democrats have pegged as a top pickup opportunity.

Grimm's fundraising has dried up amid the criminal allegations and national Republicans have signaled they have no plans to help fund his campaign.