Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who has already been under federal investigation by the Justice Department over issues including possible child sex trafficking, is now under another federal investigation from the House Ethics Committee. The announcement of the House Ethics Committee investigation into Gaetz came from a letter signed onto by committee chairperson Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and ranking member Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), so the probe has at least the appearance of bipartisanship. It’s not a solely Democratic effort.
The statement from Deutch and Walorski read, in part, as follows:
‘The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct. The Committee… has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations.’
That’s quite a list of possible crimes. Check out the statement below:
NEW: The House Ethics Committee has begun an investigation into Matt Gaetz pic.twitter.com/y8MmaAlmbs
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) April 9, 2021
This week, The Daily Beast revealed that they had obtained Venmo records for ex-county official and noted Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg showing a $900 cash transfer from the Congressman that came with a directive in a memo line to “hit up” a particular 18-year-old. The next morning, Greenberg transferred money to this 18-year-old (and two others) that totaled $900, suggesting that he may have been serving as some kind of intermediary for Gaetz. Why exactly was this 18-year-old getting “hit up” on behalf of the Congressman?
Greenberg is in jail on a slew of charges including child sex trafficking and is preparing to agree to a plea deal, while Gaetz is apparently suspected of having possibly victimized a then-17-year-old girl who was also victimized by Greenberg.
Gaetz has suggested that the scrutiny that he is facing is some kind of political pushback, but the original Justice Department investigation began in the Trump era. As the House Ethics Committee referenced, Gaetz’s other suspected activity includes — among other issues — possibly accepting benefits from a Central Florida entrepreneur named Jason Pirozzolo in exchange for the introduction of cannabis-related legislation that would have financially benefited Pirozzolo if passed. Gaetz visited the Bahamas with Pirozzolo in late 2018 or early 2019, and escorts may have been involved, meaning that Gaetz could have been involved in international human trafficking.