Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) against Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday for his misconduct toward a reporter a day earlier.
“When a member of Congress abuses the privileges of his position, it is incumbent on the House to clearly and quickly reprove such conduct,” the complaint reads. “Many Americans already believe members of Congress are arrogant and not bound by the rules applied to everyone else. … The OCE should therefore commence an immediate investigation into Rep. Grimm’s behavior and forward this matter to the House Ethics Committee,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said.
The independent and nonpartisan OCE reviews allegations of misconduct against lawmakers, officers and House staffers.
CREW had already labeled Grimm, who’s in his second term, one of the most corrupt members of Congress.
The House Ethics Committee has been investigating Grimm for any violations he might have committed regarding his 2010 campaign finances.
CREW’s complaint says Grimm violated House Rule 23, which requires all members to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.”
The complaint also says Grimm “abused” his position as a lawmaker and his conduct was “entirely unprovoked."
After the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, NY1 News reporter Michael Scotto asked Grimm about the latest allegations concerning his campaign finances.
Instead of responding, Grimm walked away and Scotto told viewers the congressman refused to answer his questions on that issue.
While the camera was still running, however, Grimm walked back into the shot and threatened Scotto.
"Let me be clear to you: If you ever do that to me again, I'll throw you off this f---ing balcony," Grimm said.
Scotto replied that he had asked a “valid question,” but the congressman said, “I’ll break you in half.”
On Wednesday, Grimm said in a statement that he had apologized to Scotto.
“I was wrong. I shouldn't have allowed my emotions to get the better of me and lose my cool. I have apologized to Michael Scotto, which he graciously accepted, and will be scheduling a lunch soon,” he said.
Scotto also confirmed on Twitter that he accepted Grimm’s apology. He did not respond to a request for comment about the ethics complaint but said Wednesday morning he would not pursue the case any further.
CREW also notes in the complaint that the House Ethics Committee found former Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) to have “demonstrated poor judgment” in an altercation with an airport employee in the Washington, D.C., area.
CREW’s Sloan says the federal investigation Grimm currently faces might be affecting his behavior.
“Rep. Grimm’s behavior last night was completely unacceptable and reflects discreditably on the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, his total meltdown is in keeping with the congressman’s refusal to come clean about the allegations surrounding his shady fundraising practices. Perhaps the pressure of the ongoing federal investigation is finally starting to get to him.”