House Ethics wraps part of Matt Gaetz probe, but still looking into sex, drug use allegations

Matt Gaetz
Gaetz called the effort 'Soviet': 'They are now trying to find the crime.'

The House Ethics Committee will continue investigating whether U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz engaged in sexual misconduct or illegal drug use, and whether he granted special favors to romantic interests.

But after two years, the panel said it won’t take any action on a number of other accusations leveled against the Fort Walton Beach Republican.

A lengthy statement from the House Ethics Committee acknowledges an ongoing investigation that started in 2021. It suggests Gaetz has created some of the delay in reaching any conclusion.

“Representative Gaetz has categorically denied all of the allegations before the Committee,” the statement reads. “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.”

Gaetz on Monday indicated that the news was coming. He criticized the committee for continuing its investigation, and said no continued work will ever find that he did something meriting punishment by the House.

“The House Ethics Committee has closed four probes into me, which emerged from lies intended solely to smear me,“ Gaetz posted on X. “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.”

Aaron Dimmock, a GOP Primary to Gaetz, suggested the incumbent’s statement was childish. After the Ethics Committee released his statement he posted on social media about the matter.

“Now we know why Matt Gaetz had a temper tantrum yesterday,: Dimmock posted. “It’s time to vote him out of office on August 20th.”

The allegations go back to a widely reported sex scandal involving Gaetz that stemmed from a probe of crimes by former Seminole County Tax Collector and Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg.

The New York Times in March 2021 first reported on a Justice Department investigation into whether Gaetz had ever illegally sex-trafficked a minor across state lines. But federal prosecutors in February of 2023 ultimately decided not to charge Gaetz with any crime.

The House Ethics Committee, however, continued its investigation into whether Gaetz engaged in improper activity, regardless of whether he faced criminal charges.

The new statement indicated that the committee has dispensed with investigation a number of allegations, including accusations that Gaetz had shared nude pictures or sex videos with colleagues on the House floor.

“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 statement reads.

However, the committee will continue looking into other allegations, including whether 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.”

The statement suggested investigations into the initial scandalous accusations led to the discovery of further matters warranting investigation.

Gaetz last year led the successful effort to oust Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who has repeatedly said animus between himself and the Congressman stemmed from the Speaker’s unwillingness to shut down the ethics investigation. But the matter has continued under new Speaker Mike Johnson. McCarthy in November suggested consequences were still coming for Gaetz based on the investigation.

But the committee statement tamed down speculation about the motivations of the investigation or whether it will conclude soon.

“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 statement reads. “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.”

But Gaetz said political persecution remains the chief motivating factor allowing an investigation to continue.

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

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Michael K

    June 18, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    Persecution? The committee is 50/50 Republican and Democrat. Hardly “Soviet@ or “persecution.” Methinks Matt doth protest too much. He silenced McCarhty but not the committee. At least one person in his circle is already serving time. Matt is not out if the woods, yet.

  • PeterH

    June 18, 2024 at 2:51 pm

    Republicans in Washington should not fear ethics investigations unless they have committed a crime!

    • Michael K

      June 18, 2024 at 3:20 pm

      Matt begged for a pre-emptive pardon from Trump – I wonder what for?

  • Ocean Joe

    June 20, 2024 at 10:12 am

    I think we can all agree that Mr. Gaetz is the poster boy for the ethically challenged which, of course, makes him a permanent, unbeatable star of the Republican party.

Comments are closed.


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