July 14, 2024

In a virtually unprecedented action, the House Ethics Committee released a statement Tuesday confirming that the investigation into allegations of sexual impropriety and drug use by Florida Republican Matt Gaetz is continuing.

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Pursuant to Committee Rule 7, the Committee on Ethics (Committee) determined to release the following statement:

On April 9, 2021, the Committee announced it had initiated a review into 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 deferred its consideration of the matter in response to a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ).  In May 2023, the Committee reauthorized its investigation after DOJ withdrew its deferral request. 

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 Committee’s investigations are conducted confidentially, but the Committee’s confidentiality rules do not prohibit witnesses from disclosing information about the Committee’s requests or conversations with Committee investigators.  The Committee is confident in the integrity of its process. 

Representative Gaetz has categorically denied all of the allegations before the Committee.  Notwithstanding the difficulty in obtaining relevant information from Representative Gaetz and others, the Committee has spoken with more than a dozen witnesses, issued 25 subpoenas, and reviewed thousands of pages of documents in this matter.  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.

Accordingly, the Committee is reviewing allegations pursuant to Committee Rules 14(a)(3) and 18(a) that Representative Gaetz may have:  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.  The Committee will take no further action at this time on the allegations that he may have shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe or improper gratuity. 

The Committee notes that the mere fact of an investigation into these allegations does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.  No other public comment will be made on this matter except in accordance with Committee rules.

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The announcement seems to be a response to leaks by committee witnesses and to Gaetz’s attack on the proceedings.

In recent weeks, House Ethics Committee investigators have conducted a string of interviews behind closed doors with numerous women who were witnesses in the yearslong Justice Department sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz, multiple sources familiar with the committee’s work tell ABC News.

Investigators have interviewed at least half a dozen women who allegedly attended parties where the Florida congressman was also present and who were paid by Joel Greenberg, Gaetz’s one-time close friend. Greenberg was sentenced in 2022 to 11 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges including sex trafficking a minor and introducing the minor to other “adult men,” sources tell ABC News.

The House Ethics Committee has closed four probes into me, which emerged from lies intended solely to smear me. Instead of working with me to ban Congressional stock trading, the Ethics Committee is now opening new frivolous investigations. They are doing this to avoid the obvious fact that every investigation into me ends the same way: my exoneration.  

This is Soviet. Kevin McCarthy showed them the man, and they are now trying to find the crime. I work for Northwest Floridians who won’t be swayed by this nonsense and McCarthy and his goons know it.

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What does former Speaker Kevin McCarthy have to do with this? 

“I’ll give you the truth why I’m not speaker,” McCarthy said, at an event at Georgetown University in Washington.

“Because one person, a member of Congress, wanted me to stop an ethics complaint because he slept with a 17-year-old, an ethics complaint that started before I ever became speaker. And that’s illegal and I’m not gonna get in the middle of it.

“Now, did he do it or not? I don’t know. But ethics was looking at it. There’s other people in jail because of it. And he wanted me to influence it.”

The House ethics investigation of allegations against Gaetz opened in 2021, when Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, was speaker.

The House investigation was paused when Gaetz was investigated by the US Department of Justice for sex trafficking, over allegations that he paid for sex and had sex with an underage woman. In December 2022, Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector whose arrest led to the investigation of Gaetz, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for offences including sex trafficking a minor.

In February 2023, prosecutors said they would not issue charges. The House ethics investigation then restarted.

Gaetz denies wrongdoing. On Tuesday, he told Politico: “Kevin is a liar. Which, actually, is why he isn’t speaker. Just ask any of the 224 people who voted to remove him.”

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While this will not affect Gaetz’s reelection chances—Florida’s 1st District is R+30—he is in great jeopardy from the Ethics Committee, which can impose punishments ranging from a fierce glare of disapproval to expulsion. Gaetz doesn’t have friends on that Committee.

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