This story with Matt Gaetz is getting stranger by the day.
News broke early this week that the Florida congressman is under investigation by the Department of Justice over allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl. Then he went on Fox News to try to defend himself, but ended up making himself look worse—and perhaps digging himself in a hole legally.
Then on Thursday, news broke that he boasted about his sexual escapades on the floor of Congress. He reportedly showed nude photos and videos on his phone of some of the women he had sex with to colleagues. One person said “It was a point of pride” for him. It is not clear if these photos and videos are connected to the investigation.
But this wasn’t the only news that broke Thursday. Now, we’ve learned that federal investigators are trying to determine if Gaetz used campaign funds to pay for travel and other expenses for the 17-year-old girl, CNN reports.
These claims are part of an ongoing investigation that started at the end of the Trump administration under William Barr’s Department of Justice.
Here is some background to that story, as summarized by CNN:
The investigation of Gaetz began in the closing months of the Trump-era Justice Department under then-Attorney General William Barr and was initially part of a broader probe into trafficking allegations against another Florida politician, Joel Greenberg.
The New York Times reported Thursday evening that investigators believe Greenberg recruited multiple women online for sex and that he introduced the women—who received cash payments—to Gaetz, who had sex with them too, according to three people with knowledge of the encounters.
The Times reviewed receipts from Apple Pay and the mobile payment Cash App that show payments being made from Gaetz to Greenberg and then to one of the women, along with a payment from just Greenberg to a separate woman. The women had told their friends the payments were for sex with Gaetz and Greenberg, two people familiar with the conversations told the newspaper.
Gaetz and Greenberg had told the women to meet at specific places and times during encounters in 2019 and 2020 along with the amount of money they’d be willing to pay, according to interviews and messages reviewed by the Times.
Gaetz has denied all allegations connected to the federal investigation.
The feds, at least from the reporting done so far, seem to have some solid evidence against him. This may explain why Gaetz was planning to not seek reelection next year and to pursue a gig with Newsmax. This is the same dude who made numerous references to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s looks. He was such a frat boy that former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s staff reportedly had to give him a prep talk on how to behave in a professional setting.
Whether the allegations Gaetz is facing are true or not, we can all agree he is pretty gross.