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Gaetz investigated over allegations of sexual misconduct and drug use

The House Ethics Committee confirmed it is investigating allegations that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use as part of its yearslong inquiry.

The committee announced in a rare statement on Tuesday it would close four probes into Gaetz related to allegations he “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.”

However, House Ethics will continue to investigate 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.”

Gaetz blasted the committee on Monday for “opening new frivolous investigations.”

“They are doing this to avoid the obvious fact that every investigation into me ends the same way: my exoneration,” the Florida congressman said in a post to X on Monday.

Gaetz is one of eight House Republicans who voted last fall to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, sending the chamber into a tailspin as the conference argued over whom to elect as the new speaker. In his speech following the ouster, McCarthy took special aim at Gaetz and said the Florida Republican’s vote to oust him was “personal” and “all about his ethics” investigation.

The Florida congressman blamed McCarthy, who resigned from Congress in December, and his allies on Capitol Hill for the ongoing Ethics investigation.

“This is Soviet,” Gaetz said. “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.”

The Ethics Committee said that though Gaetz has not cooperated with the investigation, members have been able to obtain enough witnesses to determine that some of the allegations against Gaetz “merit continued review.”

“Representative Gaetz has categorically denied all of the allegations before the Committee,” the committee said in a press release. “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,” the committee continued. “During the course of its investigation, the Committee has also identified additional allegations that merit review.”

The years-long investigation into Gaetz began in April 2021, when the House Ethics Committee initiated a review of several allegations against the congressman. The committee then deferred the matter to the Department of Justice. The DOJ looked into allegations of lobbying violations, sex trafficking, and obstruction of justice, as well as sex with a minor. It eventually closed its case against Gaetz last year with no charges brought.

House Ethics then proceeded to reopen its investigation in May 2023.

The investigation, which Gaetz said was built on “lies intended solely to smear me,” has brought about a “significant and unusual amount of reporting,” the committee said in its release — insisting that much of the 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,” House Ethics said. “The Committee is confident in the integrity of its process.”

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