- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday that Rep. Michael Grimm’s decision to step down from the House Financial Services committee in the wake of getting charged with tax fraud and other crimes on Monday was the right one, but stopped short of calling for his resignation.

“Listen, I think all members should be held to the highest ethical standard,” Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, told reporters. “Mr. Grimm is under indictment. He resigned from his committee assignment, and I think he made the right decision.”

Federal prosecutors unveiled a 20-count indictment Monday charging Mr. Grimm with tax and wire fraud and perjury, among other crimes, related to his role in running a Manhattan restaurant before he was elected to Congress.

Mr. Grimm entered a not guilty plea to the charges Monday and vowed to fight “tooth and nail” until he is exonerated.

In a letter to Mr. Boehner Monday requesting that he be removed from the committee, Mr. Grimm said he intends to resume his responsibilities on the committee once his legal matters are resolved.

Two top House Democrats tread cautiously in reacting to the indictment, saying the Staten Island Republican is entitled to his day in court but that members of Congress need to have the trust of their constituents.

“He’s been indicted and the justice system will work its will and, ultimately, the people of his district will make [a] determination,” said House Democratic Caucus vice chairman Joe Crowley, New York Democrat.

Caucus chairman Xavier Becerra, California Democrat, said Americans want and deserve leaders they can trust.

“It’s up to Mr. Grimm to decide what he does, because he got elected rightfully, for him to determine whether or not his constituents back home in New York can trust him, have confidence in him,” Mr. Becerra said. “But I do know this: the moment you lose the trust of the folks back home, you’re done.”