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U.S. House ethics panel launches investigation into Republican Gaetz

PoliticsApr 10, 2021 12:00AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Representative Matt Gaetz, (R-FL), speaks during a hearing in Washington

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee said on Friday it has opened an investigation into Republican congressman Matt Gaetz involving allegations including possible sexual misconduct and illicit drug use.

The panel's Democratic chairman and top Republican said in a joint statement they had become "aware of public allegations" that Gaetz, one of former President Donald Trump's most prominent supporters in Congress, may have violated "House rules, laws or other standards of conduct."

Gaetz is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for possibly violating sex-trafficking laws by paying travel expenses for a 17-year-old female with whom he was romantically involved, according to a U.S. law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Florida congressman has not been charged with any crimes and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

The ethics committee leaders said the allegations included whether 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."

Gaetz's office responded in a statement: "Once again, the office will reiterate, these allegations are blatantly false and have not been validated by a single human being willing to put their name behind them."

Speaking at a "Save America Summit" at the Trump National Doral resort in Miami on Friday, Gaetz said that "wild conspiracy theories" were being used to smear him.

"I'm built for the battle, and I'm not going anywhere," Gaetz said.

The summit was organized by a pro-Trump group called Women for America First. That group also organized a Jan. 6 rally near the White House that preceded the deadly rampage by a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol.

Earlier, Representative Adam Kinzinger became the first congressional Republican to call for Gaetz to quit his post.

"Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Kinzinger, an outspoken critic of Trump, said in a Twitter post on Thursday night.

A friend of Gaetz, a former Florida county tax collector named Joel Greenberg, is expected to plead guilty in a sex trafficking and fraud case in a Florida federal court, officials said on Thursday.

Greenberg's attorney Fritz Scheller told reporters on Thursday, "I'm sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today." Scheller may have been referring to media reports that Greenberg could cooperate with federal investigators in their probe of Gaetz.

Two New York criminal defense lawyers on Friday confirmed they had been hired by Gaetz.

"Matt has always been a fighter ... and he's going to fight back against the unfounded allegations against him. His legal team, led by Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner, will take the fight to those trying to smear his name with falsehoods," said a statement on the lawyers' behalf by Erin Elmore of the Logan Circle Group.

U.S. House ethics panel launches investigation into Republican Gaetz
 

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Comments (12)
Red Riley
Red Riley Apr 11, 2021 9:49PM ET
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I can almost guaranteed NG. but where are the other investigations into some way more credible allegations.
Casey Connor
Casey Connor Apr 10, 2021 4:30PM ET
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Joel youre spineless
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Apr 10, 2021 1:16PM ET
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Sometimes it is not the cream floating to the top.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 10, 2021 1:16PM ET
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oh snap, that;s a good one!
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Apr 10, 2021 8:03AM ET
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Cuomo must be on the purity US House Committee
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 10, 2021 8:03AM ET
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Cuomo is so happy that the media is now focusing on someone even more disgusting
Joel Hauser
Joel Hauser Apr 10, 2021 7:46AM ET
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Evangelicals only care about their profit margins,rapture and izrael.No punishment for misogynist pusssay grabbers or pedos.
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Apr 10, 2021 7:46AM ET
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What IS an "Evangelical" ??
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Apr 10, 2021 4:52AM ET
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Weird how Reuters never comment on Como (nursing home deaths & 9 *******) but will mention a black mail issue where no women came forward yet
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 10, 2021 4:52AM ET
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Como se llama?
Kevin Eddlemon
Kevin Eddlemon Apr 10, 2021 12:06AM ET
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US house "ethics" commitee. LOL. What a joke
Ad Cline
Ad Cline Apr 09, 2021 2:22PM ET
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if he was a Democrat the party would already have disowned him. the Republican party has become the party of sexual perversion. with Trump and his allies as their leaders what else should Americans expect.
Kris GE
Kris GE Apr 09, 2021 2:22PM ET
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Hahaha. Did you conveniently forget Sleek Willie, I mean Bill Clinton? How about that recent NY Andrew Cuomo predator, who also is responsible for 15K deaths in old folks homes?
Me comment
Me comment Apr 09, 2021 2:05PM ET
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Republicans are all wanna be Christians and don't practice the Christian doctrine just talk about it and try using it against others, not a Christian value.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 09, 2021 2:05PM ET
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if Jesus returns today he would be a perfect target for GOP's standard "socialist radical" attacks
Notvery Goodathis
Peteymcletey Apr 09, 2021 12:23PM ET
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If he was a Democrat, it would be innocent until there's a video. Since he's a republican, it's guilty regardless of what happened.
Me comment
Me comment Apr 09, 2021 12:23PM ET
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If he were Democratic he would have been removed from committee already and the republicans would be trying to remove him from office.
Kris GE
Kris GE Apr 09, 2021 12:23PM ET
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Me comment  How about that Andrew Cuomo NY mafia boss and *****predator. Untouchables.
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Apr 09, 2021 11:35AM ET
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This Guy should be a rising star in the Trumpublican party !!
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 09, 2021 11:35AM ET
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he already is
Me comment
Me comment Apr 09, 2021 10:01AM ET
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The longer Gaetz wait or is forced to resiegn the more it makes the GOP look like they do not care how their followers treat women or how the republican party preaches follow Christian values but in reality they won't follow it. Big talk but little action showing the care.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 09, 2021 10:01AM ET
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you think at this point there are still people who doesn't know that the republican party preaches Christian values but not follow them?
 
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