Washington (CNN) – New York Rep. Michael Grimm’s threat to heave a reporter off a balcony in the Cannon House office building rotunda, caught on a still-hot mic Tuesday night after the State of the Union Address, has only brought more attention to an investigation into his campaign finances.
Well done, sir.
After initially defending his tirade, Grimm apologized. But the Staten Island Republican is just the latest in an increasingly long line of New York congressmen behaving badly - on and off Capitol Hill.
Here are five other impulsive New Yorkers who sealed their political fates with dumb decisions:
John Sweeney (NY-20)
In 2006, Sweeney somehow found his way onto the porch of a booze-soaked frat house at Union College. Even in the pre-smartphone era, Sweeney was photographed cavorting with a bunch of college bros like Will Ferrell in "Old School." The photographs quickly went viral. Students at the party later told reporters that Sweeney, slurring his words, was “very loud and cursing.”
Sweeney’s office denied he was drinking, and released a hilariously memorable comment in response: “He was impressed with the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the students – particularly on a Friday evening.” The Republican lost his re-election bid that
November to a hot shot Democratic candidate named Kirsten Gillibrand, now a U.S. senator and possible presidential contender.
Eric Massa (NY-29)
Massa, a Democrat, barely served a year in Congress. He resigned in 2010 in the face of a House ethics investigation into allegations that he groped several male aides. After resigning, Massa denied the charges, saying he was only joking. As he told Glenn Beck at the time: “Not only did I grope him. I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe, and then four guys jumped on top of me. It was my 50th birthday. It was kill the old guy. You can take anything out of context.”
That excuse prompted a tremendous headline in The New York Times: “Ex-Congressman Describes Tickle Fights With Aides.”
Anthony Weiner (NY-9)
Carlos Danger, we hardly knew ye.
Chris Lee (NY-26)
The Buffalo-area Republican managed to get elected to Congress but wasn’t very good at using the Internet. In 2011, Lee went on Craiglist seeking, ahem, female companionship. Claiming to be a divorced lobbyist but using his real name, Lee sent a woman a shirtless selfie. Using something called “Google,” the recipient of the photograph discovered that Lee was, in fact, a member of Congress. And married. She shopped the story to Gawker, and a few days later the world was blessed with a picture of Lee flexing in a mirror for his BlackBerry camera. He resigned a few days later.
Vito Fossella (NY-13)
In the Spring of 2008, Fossella was pulled over by a patrolman in the Washington suburbs and arrested for driving under the influence. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. But it gets worse. Turns out the reason Fossella was cruising through northern Virginia in the middle of the night: He was visiting his love child. The Republican revealed a week after his arrest that had an affair with a retired Air Force colonel, and fathered a daughter in the process. Even worse: he had kept the whole thing a secret from his wife and three children back in New York. Fossella declined to seek another term in his Staten Island seat that fall.