Matt Gaetz Faces Accelerating Ethics Probe as Report Ties Him to Woman Who Claims She Was Paid for Sex

New evidence reportedly shows Congressman Matt Gaetz communicating with a woman whom an associate of his had paid to have sex with other men, including, the woman says, Gaetz.

AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Congressman Matt Gaetz on Capitol Hill. AP/Jacquelyn Martin

The House Ethics Committee probe into Congressman Matt Gaetz could be coming to a head as committee investigators reportedly review texts between Mr. Gaetz and a woman who was paid to attend drug-fueled parties where she had sex, she told prosecutors, with Mr. Gaetz.

ABC News reports that the Ethics Committee is reviewing text messages between a woman who had received payments from a one-time associate of Mr. Gaetz’s who pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking and fraud in 2021, Joel Greenberg, and Mr. Gaetz.

The allegations against Mr. Gaetz were uncovered in a Department of Justice investigation into Greenberg, who claimed that Mr. Gaetz had paid him through Venmo in exchange for sex with a 17-year-old girl, which is considered underage in Florida, in 2017. If accurate, the new texts would be the first piece of concrete evidence of Mr. Gaetz communicating directly with a woman whom Greenberg had paid. The woman in these text exchanges was not underage at the time of the alleged sexual encounters.

According to new reporting from the Daily Beast, this same woman told prosecutors in 2021 that she had sex with Mr. Gaetz at a drug-fueled party that she had been paid to attend by people in Mr. Gaetz’s orbit. She turned over the evidence she had to federal attorneys as part of their child sex trafficking probe that resulted in no charges.

The investigation into Mr. Gaetz’s interaction with this woman is part of a larger Ethics Committee investigation into allegations that Mr. Gaetz paid for sex, used drugs, showed colleagues nude pictures on the House floor, and potentially violated lobbying rules.

Mr. Gaetz had previously been under investigation by the justice department for “sex trafficking” the 17-year-old girl as part of the larger investigation into Greenberg, an elected tax collector in the Florida Panhandle who was good friends with Mr. Gaetz. A year ago, the justice department informed Mr. Gaetz he was no longer being investigated. 

The House Ethics Committee investigation into Mr. Gaetz, though, has moved forward. The congressman has said the investigation, led by his fellow Republicans, is retaliation for his key role in the ouster of Speaker McCarthy last year.

The text messages with the unnamed woman reportedly show that Mr. Gaetz asked if she would fly with him, two other women, and one other man on a trip to the Florida Keys.

“Hey — any interest in flying on a private plane to the keys May 19-21?” Mr. Gaetz allegedly said, adding that there would be “2 guys, 4 girls” on the trip, “A very high-quality adventurous group.”

“Yeah I’m in,” the woman replied, to which Mr. Gaetz said, “Fantastic. As is true with all time you spend w me, it’ll be fun and chill,” later asking whether she had a passport.

The woman is not believed to have ended up going on the trip. 

Mr. Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Sun. In response to a request from ABC News, Mr. Gaetz’s office said, “Rep. Gaetz has no knowledge of these activities by Mr. Greenberg and was not involved in them.”

“Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex,” a representative for Mr. Gaetz said to ABC News. “Rep. Gaetz does not know anything about the woman you’re referencing, though he takes thousands of selfies each year.”

Mr. Gaetz, who was single at the time the alleged events took place — he later married the sister of technology entrepreneur Palmer Luckey — has not denied carousing with friends but has consistently denied having sex with underage women or paying for sex.

Alongside the incriminating texts, the committee also received a photo of Mr. Gaetz standing with the woman. He was wearing a T-shirt with the phrase, “If you think research is expensive, try disease,” a quote from a Planned Parenthood executive who worked to raise funds for medical research, the activist Mary Lasker. The woman reportedly told prosecutors that the sex between her and Mr. Gaetz was consensual. 

The woman’s lawyer described the evidence that she had turned over to federal investigators from the justice department in 2021 in conversation with the Daily Beast.

“She told them that she and lots of girls were provided all kinds of controlled substances at these parties,” the attorney said. “The availability of vast amounts of alcohol and controlled substances gave rise to the lack of control of the hormonal imperative … which inspired people to engage in intimate behavior that may or may not have been because they were financially remunerated.”

The New York Sun

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