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 Mark GraysonPolitiFact cancels Alan Grayson hire after backlash Eighth Franken accuser comes forward as Dems call for resignation Pennsylania Dems file ethics complaint against Rep. Barletta 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 Mason ReidGOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism 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 Antonio RubioGOP Senate candidates trade barbs in brutal Indiana primary Students gather outside White House after walkout to protest gun violence Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes 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.