- The Washington Times - Friday, May 23, 2014

The House Committee on Ethics said Friday that it would put on hold its investigation of a GOP congressman to allow a separate Justice Department inquiry to proceed.

On May 8, the committee voted unanimously to create a special subcommittee to investigate allegations against New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm.

Mr. Grimm faces some 20 counts from a federal indictment for misconduct, fraud, tax evasion, employment of aliens, and perjury.

In a statement, the subcommittee relinquished its jurisdiction to the Justice Department for now.

One Washington watchdog quipped that the committee’s decision to stand down was another example of ineffective bureaucracy.

“Beware the House Ethics Committee: Break the law and get indicted, and years later they may form an inactive subcommittee investigating you,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington tweeted Friday afternoon.

Mr. Grimm has been accused of withholding over $1 million from the federal government and committing multiple fraud schemes related to his ownership of a health food store before his election in 2010.

He denied the charges in court on Monday but it is unclear whether or not he will seek a speedy trial before running for re-election in the midterms.

The congressman made headlines in January when he threatened to throw a reporter off of a balcony on Capitol Hill after a contentious interview following the State of the Union address.

Mr. Grimm has stepped down from his seat on the Financial Services Committee in wake of the recent accusations. He must appear before court again on July 21, giving his legal team just under two months to review 70,000 pages of documents and 8,000 emails that government prosecutors have submitted as evidence.

Rep. K. Michael Conaway, Texas Republican, and Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, California Democrat, were names to serve as the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the ethics investigative subcommittee.