House Ethics Committee opens investigation into Rep. Gaetz

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it has launched an investigation into U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz’s alleged misconduct, including accusations of sexual misconduct and illegal drug use.  

In its press release, the House Ethics Committee stated, “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.”

Anonymous sources reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently investigating Gaetz for allegedly violating sex-trafficking laws. The DOJ is looking into whether Gaetz paid for a 17-year-old to travel with him while he was having a sexual relationship with her. Gaetz has since confirmed that he is under investigation by the DOJ.

An associate of Gaetz, former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg, was indicted on charges including sex trafficking of a child and fraud. Officials stated on Thursday that Greenberg is expected to enter a plea deal. There are media reports that Greenberg may potentially cooperate with federal investigators in their probe of Gaetz, but it is unclear what kind of information Greenberg may provide.

Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes, as the Committee’s press release explains that the opening of the investigation “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”

Gaetz denies the allegations, asserting that the accusations are “wild conspiracy theories.” On Thursday, Representative Adam Kinzinger was the first Republican to call for Getz’s resignation. Gaetz has hired criminal defense lawyers and stated, “I’m not going anywhere.”