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House Ethics Committee reviewing sexual misconduct, obstruction allegations against Matt Gaetz

Gaetz discusses leading McCarthy's ouster
Rep. Matt Gaetz discusses leading McCarthy's ouster as House speaker 06:15

Washington — The House Ethics Committee revealed in an unusual statement on Tuesday the status of its investigation of GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on allegations ranging from sexual misconduct, drug use and obstruction.

The statement noted there has been a "significant and unusual amount of public reporting on the Committee's activities this Congress," and said "much of that reporting has been inaccurate." The panel disclosed which allegations it is continuing to review about Gaetz and which it is not. 

According to the release, the committee is still examining whether Gaetz may have "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."

The committee, after speaking with over a dozen witnesses and reviewing thousands of pages of documents, said it has found that some allegations merit further review, and it also "identified additional allegations." The statement acknowledged "the difficulty in obtaining relevant information from Representative Gaetz and others." 

Multiple sources familiar with the committee's work tell CBS News that at least four women have told the House Ethics Committee in recent months they were paid to go to parties that had sex and drugs that Gaetz attended. These sources previously told CBS News at least one of those women said she had sexual relations with Gaetz and Justice Department prosecutors were previously looking at whether she was underage when the sexual relationship began. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz questions Attorney General Merrick Garland during a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee, in Washington, D.C., June 4, 2024.
Rep. Matt Gaetz questions Attorney General Merrick Garland during a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., June 4, 2024. ALLISON BAILEY/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images

The House Ethics Committee said it is not taking any further actions on the allegations that Gaetz "may have shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe or improper gratuity."

CBS News reported in January that investigators with the committee appeared to be taking a deeper look at a closed federal probe into Gaetz. The Justice Department last year declined to charge Gaetz in its sex trafficking investigation. The four-term congressman has been under investigation for several years to determine if he violated sex trafficking laws and obstructed justice in that probe. Gaetz has said he has never paid for sex nor had sex with an underage girl. The Ethics Committee put its probe on hold as the Justice Department investigation unfolded.

The committee emphasized that the existence of an investigation does not mean violations of federal law have occurred. Gaetz has denied all of the allegations. 

On Monday, before the committee released its statement, Gaetz accused the panel of "now opening new frivolous investigations," and he blamed former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Gaetz led the charge to oust McCarthy last year. 

"The House Ethics Committee has closed four probes into me, which emerged from lies intended solely to smear me," he wrote on X. "Instead of working with me to ban Congressional stock trading, the Ethics Committee is now opening new frivolous investigations. They are doing this to avoid the obvious fact that every investigation into me ends the same way: my exoneration. This is Soviet. Kevin McCarthy showed them the man, and they are now trying to find the crime. I work for Northwest Floridians who won't be swayed by this nonsense and McCarthy and his goons know it."

Michael Kaplan and Scott MacFarlane contributed reporting.

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