- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2021

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it has opened an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz who is ensnared in a federal sex-trafficking probe.

The panel released a statement where it said it is looking into allegations that the Florida Republican committed a host of improprieties including sexual misconduct, illicit drug use, sharing inappropriate images in the Capitol and accepting bribes.

“The committee, pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a) has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations,” the panel said.

A spokesman for Mr. Gaetz called the accusations “blatantly false.” 

“Once again, the office will reiterate, these allegations are blatantly false and have not been validated by a single human being willing to put their name behind them,” the spokesman said in a statement. 

In the same announcement, the committee also announced a separate probe into Rep. Tom Reed, New York Republican, who has been accused of sexually harassing a lobbyist.

The House probe is the latest headache for Mr. Gaetz. Also on Friday, a key staffer, legislative director Devin Murphy, resigned from his post, making him the second staffer to leave the Congressman’s office in as many weeks.

And on Thursday, it was revealed that a close associate, Joel Greenberg, is expected to enter a plea deal with prosecutors in his own sex trafficking case and cooperate with the Gaetz investigation.

The revelation spurred Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, to call for Mr. Gaetz to step down. He is the first Republican to call for the congressman’s resignation.

Mr. Gaetz has denied the allegations he had sex with a 17-year-old girl and may have violated federal sex trafficking laws. He claims he’s the victim of an extortion plot.

Mr. Gaetz has slugged it out with the ethics committee before. In 2019, the panel probed whether his Twitter boast to expose an extramarital affair by Michael Cohen, the former attorney for ex-President Trump.

He refused to cooperate with the probe and no conclusion was ever reached. 

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