The campaign committee for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has now revealed that it ended 2021 with a $94,838.65 loss, having spent considerably more money than it raised, even though the rate of fundraising on Gaetz’s behalf was formidable. Gaetz continues to face a federal criminal investigation for possible offenses including child sex trafficking and obstruction of justice, and a substantial chunk of the campaign’s money went to expenses related to this situation. Over $100,000 covered attorneys’ fees, at least some $140,000 went to campaign finance law compliance services, and some $850,000 went to the Logan Circle Group, a public relations firm that’s done work for Gaetz. Despite all of these costs, the Gaetz campaign was able to close out 2021 with a little over $1.5 million in cash on-hand.
Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz are a dangerous and disastrous duo.
Neither of them should be in Congress.
— Marcus Flowers (@Marcus4Georgia) January 26, 2022
The lawyers who raked in checks from Gaetz’s campaign include Marc Fernich, who was paid $75,000 — and who has represented convicted sex traffickers Jeffrey Epstein and Keith Raniere, among other disturbing figures. As for the campaign finance law compliance-related fees, The Daily Beast notes that the investigation into the Florida Congressman includes the question of “whether his campaign broke the law in furthering any of those possible crimes,” adding that the campaign has seen its “accounting under the microscope.”
Dear @GOPLeader: When are you going to remove Rep Matt Gaetz from the House Judiciary Committee? He should not be on the Committee that conducts oversight over the Department investigating him for sex crimes with a minor. https://t.co/1sywmNUvvl
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 27, 2022
Meanwhile, Gaetz apparently didn’t receive any donations from other officials or their campaign groups in the last quarter of 2021, although such donations are often seen — including from Gaetz himself, who gave $2,000 during that time to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), the far-right member of Congress who was recently kicked off his committee roles in the House for posting a partly animated video that had been crafted to show him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The Daily Beast calls Gaetz “politically exiled” — also noting, interestingly, that a joint fundraising operation that the Florida Congressman set up with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) appears to have essentially ground to a halt, with no more money on-hand and no donations from supporters for months on end.
NEW: Matt Gaetz's campaign lost nearly $100,000 in 2021, according to his latest filing. It would have been a banner fundraising year, but he spent more than a million dollars on costs related to the federal sex crimes probe and fallout. Me @thedailybeast https://t.co/z8M7xPTfI1
— Roger Sollenberger found true love, suckers (@SollenbergerRC) February 1, 2022
The investigation into Gaetz recently hit a couple of high-profile developments. An ex-girlfriend of the Congressman was granted immunity and testified in front of a grand jury doing work related to the case; that former girlfriend was, among other things, apparently on a trip to the Bahamas with Gaetz and others that may have involved sex trafficking. In addition, Joe Ellicott — an associate of Gaetz’s previous ally Joel Greenberg, the latter of whom has since pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking — recently pleaded guilty to a pair of offenses and was revealed to be cooperating with prosecutors. Joe Zwick, who has served as an attorney for Ellicott, “told The Daily Beast that his client has been cooperating in the sex trafficking case against Gaetz,” that publication explains. Gaetz continues to maintain his innocence, alleging that the whole thing is some kind of political plot to take him down.
As the probe into possible sex trafficking allegations against Rep. Matt Gaetz continues, new financial filings show his campaign's fundraising has been dwindling. https://t.co/LMhbQAqYn3
— ABC News (@ABC) February 2, 2022