Matt Gaetz Faces House Ethics Committee Probe Over Sex, Drug Allegations

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., one of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's harshest critics, answers questions from members of the media after speaking on the House floor, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. Gaetz has said he plans to use a procedural tool called a motion to vacate to try and strip McCarthy of his office as soon as this week. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

—The House Ethics Committee said Tuesday it is investigating Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz over allegations that the lawmaker may have engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, providing details of its long-running scrutiny of the influential conservative lawmaker.

The secretive 10-member panel released a letter Tuesday in which it said it was clarifying its investigation into the four-term lawmaker because of the significant and unusual amount of public reporting on the case. The committee’s announcement didn’t disclose a timeline for its investigation.

Gaetz has denied wrongdoing. He said on social media on Monday that past probes “emerged from lies intended solely to smear me” and that the committee is “now opening new frivolous investigations.” He said the panel is “doing this to avoid the obvious fact that every investigation into me ends the same way: my exoneration.”

The Justice Department investigated Gaetz for several years, beginning in 2020, for allegations of sex trafficking, which he denied. The investigation was closed without charges, but the House Ethics Committee continued to probe Gaetz.

Gaetz, who represents part of the Florida panhandle, engineered the ouster of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, last year. Gaetz is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump and a frequent presence on conservative media.

Gaetz is facing a primary challenge in his western Florida district from Aaron Dimmock, a former naval aviator, who has made Gaetz’s ethics a centerpiece of the campaign. The primary is Aug. 20.

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