Florida Republican Matt Gaetz listens to HR 7120, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC
Erin Scott | Getty Images
The House Ethics Committee said Friday it had opened an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz, the embattled Republican from Florida who was facing a federal investigation into criminal sex trafficking.
In a statement, the ethics committee said it was aware of the public allegations that Gaetz “may have committed sexual misconduct and / or illegal drug use”.
The panel also found that Gaetz allegedly “shared inappropriate pictures or videos on the floor of the house, misused government identification records, converted campaign funds for personal use and / or accepted bribes, inappropriate tips, or improper gifts that violate house rules , Laws or other standards of conduct. “
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38-year-old Gaetz has vigorously denied the wrongdoing since the Justice Department’s investigation first became known last week. He was not charged with a crime.
“The office will repeat once again that these claims are obviously false and have not been confirmed by a single person willing to leave their name behind,” Gaetz’s office told CNBC in response to the new ethics inquiry.
The Democrat-led Ethics Panel announced Friday that it has opened an investigation into Rep. Tom Reed, RN.Y., citing allegations of possible sexual misconduct.
Last month, Reed apologized to a woman who accused him of rubbing her back and hanging off her bra in a Minneapolis bar in 2017. Reed said he would not seek re-election in 2022.
Reed’s office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment, but instead said in a statement to Politico: “We have already publicly addressed this situation and are working, in line with it, with the House Ethics Committee to bring this matter to a close. “
Ethics Committee press releases, attributed to Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., And senior member Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., Stated that an investigation “does not in itself indicate a violation, or reflecting a judgment in the name. ” of the committee. “
Federal investigators are investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her trips with him, the New York Times reported for the first time last week.
The investigation reportedly emerged from an investigation by Gaetz’s associate Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector on criminal charges including underage sex trafficking, stalking, cable fraud and identity theft.
Greenberg had previously pleaded not guilty, but his attorney and prosecutors on his case told a judge on Thursday that Greenberg is expected to make a plea deal.
NBC reported Wednesday that investigators are investigating whether women were being paid to travel to the Bahamas with Gaetz to have sex, and whether Gaetz and Greenberg were using the internet to look for women who could pay them to have sex .
“I’m sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very well today,” Greenberg’s lawyer Fritz Scheller told reporters on Thursday afternoon.
A Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, has already asked Gaetz to resign.
Gaetz said this week that he had “absolutely not resigned” from the congress. As a staunch supporter of the former President Donald Trump, Gaetz has signed Marc Mukasey, a defender of the Trump organization, as a representative.
Gaetz has also hired a PR firm, the Logan Circle Group.