Gaetz has sharply denied the allegations and suggested that he was the victim of extortion that negated the evidence against him.
It is not Gaetz’s first mess with the ethics committee. In 2019, the panel conducted an investigation into Gaetz’s Twitter threat to uncover an extramarital affair involving Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen. That threat came on the eve of Cohen’s testimony before the House oversight committee of alleged financial misdeeds by the former president.
“Do your wife and father-in-law know anything about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for this chat, ”wrote Gaetz in a tweet to Cohen that has since been deleted. “I wonder if she’ll be loyal to you in prison. She’s about to learn a lot.”
When the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent legislature pursuing allegations against House members, began investigating the matter, Gaetz refused to cooperate and prompted the House Ethics Committee to open a full investigation. But Gaetz said POLITICO at the time when he was planning to blow off this probe as well.
“If members of Congress want to spend their time psychoanalytically analyzing my tweets, this is certainly their prerogative,” said Gaetz. “I’m not going to join them. Too busy.”
Separately, the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Rep. Tom Reed (RN.Y.) on allegations of sexual harassment made by a lobbyist who recently shared her story with the Washington Post, who also provided evidence for her report found.
In a statement, Reed said he had “publicly addressed this situation and, in line with it, worked with the House Ethics Committee to bring this matter to a close”.