The investigation by the House Ethics Committee into Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida seems to be picking up steam as of late.
ABC News cites sources who said that the committee reached out to one of Gaetz’s close friends, Joe Greenberg, recently regarding the investigation. Greenberg pleaded guilty to federal charges not long ago, and received a criminal sentence of 11 years in jail.
The probe into Gaetz was reopened during last summer. Sources to ABC News that the investigation is ramping up, with the committee contacting new witnesses to see if they can move the investigation forward.
One of the witnesses who was contacted recently was the woman who had alleged that she had relations with Gaetz when she was a minor, according to ABC News sources.
The Ethics Committee is investigating two angles here. The first are the trafficking allegations that have been made against Gaetz. The other revolves around potential lobbying violations that the Florida congressman participated in.
Last July, the House reopened its investigation into Gaetz. It had initially deferred that investigation in response to a request from the Department of Justice, which was conducting its own probe into Gaetz.
That concluded last year, though, without the DOJ bringing any formal charges.
That apparently paved the way for the committee to reopen its own case.
Gaetz issued a statement to ABC News responding to the recent developments. In it, he said:
“It’s great to see the Ethics Committee has interests beyond trading stocks. They seem to be quite the unusual whales.”
Members of the Ethics Committee not surprisingly declined to comment on the ongoing probe.
Greenberg will very likely be a key witness for the Ethics Committee. The former tax collector in Florida agreed to cooperate with the DOJ in its probe into Gaetz, sources said. In December of 2022, he received his prison sentence for multiple crimes that included wire fraud and trafficking.
As part of the plea deal he reached in May of 2021 with investigators, Greenberg agreed to give them “substantial assistance” as they continued to look into Gaetz’s involvement in any potential crimes, sources told ABC News.
Part of that assistance was Greenberg providing investigators with years of financial transactions that took place over Cash App and Venmo, access to personal social media accounts, as well as thousands of videos and photos.
Gaetz has long been critical of the Ethics Committee’s investigation into him, saying they were “trying to weaponize their process.” When the probe was reopened last July, he said:
“I was cleared by the Department of Justice and the FBI, who looked into my life for years. Now, I believe that the House Ethics Committee is trying to weaponize their process against me because every once in a while up here I’m a rabble-rouser and I don’t go along to get along. And right now, I’m forcing this body to have to deal with our debt and our spending.”