Ethics panel confirms review of Alan Grayson

Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee publicly acknowledged Monday it is conducting a review into Florida Senate candidate Rep. Alan GraysonAlan GraysonTrump campaign's taco truck gaffe underscores Latinos' political power Dem polling shows Rubio in a dead heat Canova refuses to congratulate Wasserman Schultz on victory MORE.

In a statement, the panel said it will issue a decision by April 5 on whether to open a formal investigation into Grayson’s activities related to his management of a hedge fund while serving as a member. 

If the committee decides not to proceed with an investigation, it must release the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) report on the case. 

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Grayson’s hedge fund has been looming over Florida's Aug. 30 Senate Democratic primary. 

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBlack Caucus demands Flint funding from GOP Report: Intelligence officials probing Trump adviser's ties to Russia White House preps agencies for possible shutdown MORE (D-Nev.) earlier this month called on Grayson to drop out of the primary one day after a New York Times report showing emails from top aides urging Grayson to close his hedge fund to avoid media scrutiny.

House ethics rules prohibit members from earning outside income beyond $27,495. 

Monday’s statement from the House Ethics Committee indicates that the OCE, an independent watchdog, has recommended a full investigation. The Ethics panel has a maximum of 90 days to decide to follow through with a probe or release the report once OCE makes the recommendation. The Ethics Committee statement did not explicitly mention the allegations surrounding the hedge fund, but media accounts have reported that the panel has been reviewing the matter.

Establishment Democrats have been rallying around Grayson’s opponent, Rep. Patrick Murphy, in the primary for the seat being vacated by Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenate rivals gear up for debates Rubio: End of Obama's term could be 'most damaging yet' Fifteen years since pivotal executive order, STORM Act could help fight terror finance MORE (R-Fla.), who is running for president. Many Democrats believe Murphy would be more competitive in a general election and see Grayson as too much of a firebrand.

Murphy’s campaign quickly seized upon the Ethics Committee’s acknowledgment Monday.

“Alan Grayson has demonstrated a pattern of unethical and reckless behavior, using his elected office to promote his offshore hedge fund. Mr. Grayson needs to come clean with congressional investigators — and owes his constituents an apology for failing to put them first,” Murphy said in a statement.

Grayson, through a spokesman, expressed confidence that the committee's review would show no wrongdoing.

"Neither the OCE’s recommendation, nor this delay, is any indication of the Congressman’s culpability in this matter. The Congressman is confident that, should an investigation occur, he will be shown to have acted ethically and within the letter and spirit of all House ethics rules," spokesman Ken Scudder said.

The hedge fund was created in 2011 after Grayson lost reelection to the House. He later won election back to the lower chamber in 2012.