Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had a sharp exchange Wednesday on Capitol Hill with a House member and fellow Democrat running for a Senate seat amid an ethics probe.
The incident started when Reid, a Nevada Democrat, was speaking to the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The House member, Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, interrupted Reid to challenge him about statements Reid has made about Grayson regarding the probe.
The Office of Congressional Ethics recently released a report detailing what it found to be questionable practices by Grayson, lending his name to a hedge fund that operated in the Cayman Islands.
The often-combative Grayson upbraided Reid, a former boxer, on Wednesday to the point that Reid's security detail was summoned to the room.
Reid is endorsing Grayson's opponent in the Florida Democratic primary, Rep. Patrick Murphy, for the open seat of GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, who is retiring.
Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said the minority leader took the face-to-face opportunity to “express his low opinion” of Grayson and point out that he’s talked about the probe because “these things are true."
Grayson's office said in an email response from the congressman: "I have a low opinion of Reid's low opinion."
In February, Reid called on Grayson to end his Senate bid and said that Grayson’s maneuvers in managing a hedge fund “disgrace the halls of Congress.”
Grayson told Fox News after the incident Wednesday that he asked Reid if he knew who he was.
He said Reid didn’t know his name, though sources tell Fox that Reid replied, “Yes. Alan.”
Grayson then badgered Reid to say his full name.
Reid reiterated to Grayson that he wanted him to lose the primary against Murphy.
Grayson said he asked Reid what evidence he had that Grayson may have violated ethics rules.
“He couldn’t come up with anything, except ‘I want you to lose,’ ” Grayson said. “Whether he wants me to win or he wants me to lose, he shouldn’t lie about me.”
Grayson said he decided to challenge Reid in person “because he’s a bully.”
Rep. Raul Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and caucus co-chairman, pulled no punches in his criticism of Grayson.
“There has to be certain decorum,” he said. “You don’t do that.”
The OCE, a quasi-formal ethics watchdog, turned over its report about Grayson to the full House Ethics Committee, which has yet to decide whether to launch a full inquiry into Grayson’s conduct.
Fox News Channel’s Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.