Matt Gaetz Faces House Ethics Probe Into Sex, Drug Allegations

‘The Committee is confident in the integrity of its process,’ the panel says in a statement.

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

In the latest development of its three-year investigation, the House Ethics Committee is expanding its probe into Congressman Matt Gaetz for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a minor and transporting her across state lines, as well as allegedly using illegal drugs. The committee is, however, dropping its probe into whether or not the Republican lawmaker received bribes or misused campaign funds. 

The panel is inquiring about whether or not Mr. Gaetz “engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, accepted improper gifts, dispensed special privileges and favors to individuals with whom he had a personal relationship, and sought to obstruct government investigations of his conduct.” 

Speculation about Mr. Gaetz’s involvement with such a sexual misconduct scheme first kicked off when his friend and political ally Joel Greenberg was arrested on charges of facilitating and participating in a sex trafficking operation. In 2021, Greenberg cooperated with the federal investigation and pleaded guilty to six charges, including sex trafficking a minor. He is serving an 11-year prison sentence. 

In a statement Tuesday, they disclosed that they have issued 25 subpoenas as part of the investigation, spoken with more than a dozen witnesses, and reviewed “thousands of pages of documents.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., left, and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., propose amendments to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill before the House Rules Committee, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. (
Representative Matt Gaetz, left, and Lauren Boebert, at the Capitol on September 22, 2023. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

The committee said on Tuesday that their probe would be expanded to cover additional, undisclosed issues. “Based on its review to date, the Committee has determined that certain of the allegations merit continued review.  During the course of its investigation, the Committee has also identified additional allegations that merit review.”

Mr. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and has refused to cooperate with the panel’s investigation. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Gaetz says the investigations into his conduct “emerged from lies intended solely to smear me.” He says that the Ethics Committee  is “now opening new frivolous investigations” and is “doing this to avoid the obvious fact that every investigation into me ends the same way: my exoneration.”

The committee has been investigating Mr. Gaetz since 2021 for the alleged sexual misconduct, but suspended their inquiry after the Justice Department asked to take the lead on the investigation. When the DOJ decided against charging the congressman with any criminal violations, the Ethics Committee resumed their probe. 

The ten-member Ethics Committee defended its probe of Mr. Gaetz on Tuesday, saying that press attention will not deter them from finding the truth. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks alongside House Republicans during a press conference at Collect Pond Park outside of Manhattan Criminal Court during President Trump’s hush money trial on May 16, 2024 at New York City. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

“There has been a significant and unusual amount of public reporting on the Committee’s activities this Congress.  Much of that reporting has been inaccurate,” the Ethics Committee, an unusually bipartisan, secretive panel, said in their statement. “The Committee is confident in the integrity of its process.”

Criticisms of Mr. Gaetz abounded after he made dozens — if not hundreds — of enemies in Congress after leading the effort to oust Speaker McCarthy from his position. Senator Mullin, who served in the House with Mr. Gaetz for six years, was one of the most aggressive GOP lawmakers in going after the Florida lawmaker. 

In October — just days after Mr. McCarthy was removed as speaker by Mr. Gaetz and seven other Republicans — Mr. Mullin claimed to have firsthand knowledge of Mr. Gaetz’s rule violations, including sharing photos and videos of naked women on the House floor with fellow lawmakers. 

“There’s a reason no one in the [Republican] conference came and defended him” from the sexual misconduct allegations, Mr. Mullin said of his former colleague. “We had all seen the videos he was showing on the House floor … of all the girls he had slept with. 

“He bragged about how he would crush [erectile dysfunction] medicine and chase it with energy drinks so he could go all night. This is obviously before he got married,” Mr. Mullin said. Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, echoed those sentiments around the same time, claiming that Mr. Gaetz had a private penchant for young women. Mr. Short said Mr. Gaetz was less interested in conservative results and more attracted to Congress “for the teenage interns on Capitol Hill.”


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