Updates to our Terms of Use

We are updating our Terms of Use. Please carefully review the updated Terms before proceeding to our website.

Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ethics probe into Matt Gaetz now reviewing allegations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug use

Gaetz blamed Kevin McCarthy for the Ethics Committee's review, even though the investigation began before Republicans took the majority in the House.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee on Tuesday gave an unusual public update into its long-running investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., saying its review now includes whether Gaetz engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, accepted improper gifts and sought to obstruct government investigations of his conduct.

The committee also announced that it was no longer reviewing four other allegations involving the congressman, including that he shared inappropriate images or videos with colleagues on the House floor or that he accepted a bribe or converted campaign funds to personal use.

Gaetz has categorically denied all the allegations before the committee.

In a tweet Monday pre-empting the committee's announcement, Gaetz noted that the ethics panel closed four probes and said those investigations had “emerged from lies intended solely to smear me.”

Courthouse News’ podcast Sidebar tackles the stories you need to know from the legal world. Join our hosts as they take you in and out of courtrooms in the U.S. and beyond.

“Instead of working with me to ban Congressional stock trading, the Ethics Committee is now opening new frivolous investigations. They are doing this to avoid the obvious fact that every investigation into me ends the same way: my exoneration,” Gaetz said on the social platform X.

Gaetz led the effort to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy from office last fall. Seven Republicans joined him in deposing McCarthy, along with 208 Democrats. Many House Republicans remain angry with Gaetz, arguing that McCarthy's ouster was a selfish and destructive act that hurt the party.

Gaetz blamed McCarthy for the Ethics Committee's review, even though the investigation began before Republicans took the majority in the House.

“This is Soviet. Kevin McCarthy showed them the man, and they are now trying to find the crime,” Gaetz wrote on X. “I work for Northwest Floridians who won’t be swayed by this nonsense and McCarthy and his goons know it.”

The committee began its review of Gaetz in April 2021, deferred its work in response to a Justice Department request, and renewed its work in May of last year after the DOJ dropped its request that lawmaker hold off an investigation. That was shortly after Gaetz announced that the Justice Department had ended a sex trafficking investigation without bringing charges against him.

The ethics committee said that despite the difficulty of obtaining relevant information from Gaetz and others, it has spoken with more than a dozen witnesses, issued 25 subpoenas and reviewed thousands of pages of documents.

One thing under investigation is whether Gaetz “dispensed special privileges and favors to individuals with whom he had a personal relationship,” the committee said.

The ethics committee cautioned that the existence of an investigation does not itself indicate that any violation of law or House rules occurred. The statement said that no other public comment will be made on the matter.

__

By KEVIN FREKING Associated Press

Categories / Government, National, Politics

Subscribe to Closing Arguments

Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.

Loading...