Well, that escalated quickly. After the New York Times revealed that the House Committee on Ethics had been investigating Alan Grayson’s moonlighting as a hedge-fund manager, the House Democrat has found himself persona non grata in the upper chamber — at least according to Harry Reid. The retiring Senate Minority Leader didn’t mince words, either:
Reid said in a statement that Grayson claims to be progressive but seems to have “no moral compass.” He said Grayson used his office to unethically promote a hedge fund that until recently had been based in the Cayman Islands. …
“His actions aren’t just disgraceful to the Democratic Party, they disgrace the halls of Congress,” Reid said.
On one hand, this is hardly surprising. The Democratic Party leadership has wanted Grayson out of the Senate primary for months; they see Patrick Murphy as a much more attractive candidate than the always-grating Grayson. Grayson alluded to this dynamic in Eric Lipton’s report, in fact:
Mr. Grayson accuses Democratic Party leaders of trying to undermine his campaign so the nomination will go to Representative Patrick Murphy, a Democrat who they say has a better shot at helping the party win a Senate seat that is being vacated by Marco Rubio, a Republican who is running for president.
The focus, Mr. Grayson said, should be on the fact that he introduced more pieces of legislation during the last Congress — 96 bills or resolutions — than any other member of the House, and many more than Mr. Murphy.
Mr. Murphy declined through a spokesman to comment.
Go figure that Reid, the party’s establishment leader in the Senate, would take advantage of a prime opportunity to push Grayson under the bus. But it’s curious that Reid chose not just to push Grayson under the Senate-campaign bus, but go full nuclear on Grayson’s character. Grayson represents Florida’s 9th CD, which straddles the key I-4 Corridor and has a Cook rating of D+4. If Grayson couldn’t run for the Senate, he could possibly have been persuaded to run for re-election in his House seat — theoretically, at least, giving Democrats an edge in a close district. Instead, Reid cast him as a complete disgrace, ending any hope Grayson would have in rehabilitating himself in this cycle for any office. Maybe Reid had tried reasoning with Grayson before now, got stiffed, and was waiting for the right moment to demolish the gadfly.
That, however, brings up another curiosity. When exactly did Reid conclude that Grayson had “no moral compass” and that these actions were disgraceful enough to repudiate Grayson publicly? As I noted in the earlier post, Grayson’s hedge-fund moonlighting has been public knowledge for months. I wrote about it in May, when questions about the hedge fund prompted the disgraceful “sh—–g robot” response to Adam Smith at the Tampa Bay Times. Four months later (!), the House Committee on Ethics finally got around to looking into it.
So what made this so disgraceful to Reid — the fact that Grayson was operating a hedge fund out of the Caymans while emoting progressive pieties, or the fact that the New York Times finally got around to reporting on it? It’s clearly the latter … and that does make the timing of that report curious, too.
Update: So … pass the popcorn, y’all:
Suggesting that Reid “may well prefer corrupt Establishment errand boy” and rival Democrat Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Grayson excoriated the retiring Nevada Senator in an email to Independent Journal Review:
“I’m running against a rigged system and the Washington Establishment, so it’s no surprise that its departing figurehead, who failed so badly in the 2014 Senate races, relies on a false and misleading hyped story to try to pressure me out of this race. The reason why he is making such an absurd statement at all is that he knows that I’m well ahead in the polls, and heading for a strong primary victory.” …
“Sen. Reid managed to find a way to lose six out of seven open Senate seats in 2014, and lose six incumbent Democrats when the GOP lost none. Now he is personally attacking the clear choice of Florida Democrats, making the party into a circular firing squad.”
Golly, I can’t imagine why Democrats don’t want Grayson’s charm and cool leadership around the Senate.