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House Ethics Committee confirms Matt Gaetz investigation ongoing

By Chris Benson
The House Ethics Committee first opened its investigation into Matt Gaetz (pictured 2023), a Florida Republican, in 2021 to look into the allegations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, among other charges. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 6 | The House Ethics Committee first opened its investigation into Matt Gaetz (pictured 2023), a Florida Republican, in 2021 to look into the allegations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, among other charges. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

June 18 (UPI) -- The House Ethics Committee on Tuesday shared new details of its three-year investigation into Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, saying its probe into alleged sexual misconduct and drug use remains ongoing.

"Based on its review to date, the committee has determined that certain of the allegations merit continued review," read part of a statement Tuesday in a rare public update on an investigation by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee.

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The committee first opened its investigation into Gaetz, a Florida Republican, in 2021 to look into the allegations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, sharing "inappropriate images or videos" on the House floor, alleged misuse of state identification records, converting campaign funds to personal use, allegedly accepting a bribe and a series of other supposed violations of House Rules "or other standards of conduct."

But the committee, saying it is "confident in the integrity of its process," added it will "take no further action at this time on the allegations."

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"There has been a significant and unusual amount of public reporting on the committee's activities this Congress," the bipartisan panel said. But that "much of that reporting has been inaccurate."

Specifically, the committee say it still is looking at allegations that 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."

While it acknowledged Gaetz has "categorically denied" all the allegations, the committee expressed the difficulty it had working with Gaetz to get information.

"The committee notes that the mere fact of an investigation into these allegations does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred," the joint statement read.

During the course of its investigation, it said, after more than a dozen witnesses, 25 issued subpoenas, and "reviewed thousands of pages of documents in the matter," it "identified additional allegations that merit review."

Gaetz, a top House ally of former President Donald Trump, has denied all allegations of wrongdoing. He lashed out Monday on social media, saying how his past ethics investigations, he claimed, resulted in his "exoneration."

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"Instead of working with me to ban congressional stock trading, the Ethics Committee is now opening new frivolous investigations," Gaetz posted Monday on X.

The bipartisan House Ethics Committee -- comprised of five Republicans, five Democrats and lead by Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., who was appointed by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. -- as recently as May undertook an investigation into the bribery case of Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Tex.

"They are doing this to avoid the obvious fact that every investigation into me ends the same way: my exoneration," said Gaetz.

Gaetz, who was a leader behind the successful Republican effort to oust McCarthy, was critical of the former House speaker Monday.

"This is Soviet," the Florida Republican said. "Kevin McCarthy showed them the man, and they are now trying to find the crime."

The House Ethics Committees' efforts have included actions such as the 2023 resolution to expel former Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y.

However, investigations have spilled over to both major political parties, with investigations into the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in 2022, Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., in January for alleged misuse of campaign funds for personal security, and Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., for triggering a fire alarm when there was no fire at the Capitol last fall.

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Ethics Committee investigations have also included Gaetz' colleague and fellow Florida Republican, Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick for alleged campaign finance law violations in her 2022 campaign.

"I work for Northwest Floridians who won't be swayed by this nonsense and McCarthy and his goons know it," Gaetz said Monday.

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