US House ethics panel drops probe into Bowman fire alarm case

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House Committee on Ethics said on Thursday that it was no longer pursuing an inquiry into Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman for pulling a fire alarm while trying to use a locked exit in September as lawmakers prepared to vote on a measure to avert a government shutdown.

The decision came a month after the House of Representatives voted of 214 to 191 to censure the New York Democrat. He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense, after being charged over the incident by the D.C. attorney general.

House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Guest said in a statement that the panel determined further review of Bowman's conduct would be "moot," given the December censure, and noted that the lawmaker has complied with the relevant terms of his sentencing agreement.

"The committee will not further review the matter," the statement said.

Bowman, who represents a district that includes suburbs just north of New York City, pulled the alarm in a House office building in late September while trying to get to a Saturday vote, according to security camera footage.

He said at the time that he thought the alarm would unlock the door, which is usually unlocked during the week when lawmakers are normally in session.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Sandra Maler)