U.S. House of Representatives Opens Investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz

Angelina Astic, Copy Editor

Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, accused of various illegal activities and the subject of an ongoing Justice Department investigation, is now under investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee. 

Gaetz, who represents Florida’s 1st congressional district, is accused of a multitude of crimes, including child sex trafficking, illicit drug use and the acceptance of briberies. The allegations come a few weeks after the New York Times reported that the DOJ was investigating an alleged relationship between Gaetz and a then-17-year-old girl, whom he paid to travel alongside him. 

During the end of President Donald J. Trump’s presidency, Attorney General William P. Barr opened the ongoing DOJ investigation. After much media coverage and public announcements of additional allegations, the House Ethics Committee announced that they had launched an investigation headed by Democratic Representative and Chairman Ted Deutch and Republican Representative and Ranking Member Jackie Walorski. 

In a statement released by the Ethics Committee on Apr. 9, 2021, members announced that they had received notice of the various allegations, which include the sharing of inappropriate pictures and videos on the House floor. They stated that, if true, these all violate House regulations. The Committee also stated that the allegations had not been officially confirmed and the investigation does not reflect the opinions of the Committee. 

Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector and acquaintance of Gaetz, has also been investigated for various offenses, including defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program and alleged sex trafficking of a minor. He has received a plea bargain, which officials expect him and his counsel to finalize by May 15. This investigation into Greenberg may have led to the investigation into Gaetz. 

Federal investigators are also looking into the possibility that Gaetz spoke with a lobbyist to support a sham candidate in the 2020 Florida State Senate race in order to take votes away from another candidate. 

Representative Tom Green, a Republican Congressman from New York, also remains under investigation by the House Ethics Committee after a former lobbyist accused Reed of alleged sexual assault that took place in 2017. Reed has since apologized for the incident, initially reported in the Washington Post, and announced that he would not challenge New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the next election and would not seek reelection to Congress. 

Gaetz has repeatedly denied the various allegations, and claimed that a former DOJ official instigated the investigation in order to extort him and his family.