A billboard has appeared in the Florida district that the congressman represents claiming that Matt Gaetz “wants to” date “your child.
The 38-year-old, once tipped as a Republican Party rising star, is under investigation by the Justice Department for allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl.
The DoJ is also investigating separate allegations that Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws and was involved in a plan to recruit and pay women for sex.
The billboard in Crestview, a city in Northeast Florida, was paid for by Mad Dog PAC, who says on its website that it was created to “Fight Fascism.” Stop Trump. ‘
It contains a black and white photo of the controversial congressman with the striking statement, “Matt Gaetz wants to” date “your child.”
Gaetz has vigorously pushed back against the charges he is facing, writing a column in the Washington Examiner Monday that said, “The Swamp is out to drown me with false accusations, but I’m not giving up.”
Gaetz, a third-term congressman from Florida, has not been charged with a crime, and he has vehemently denied the various charges against him, including that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, as a “ lie. ” . ‘
The billboard in Crestview, a town in northeastern Flordia, was paid for by Mad Dog PAC, who says on its website that it was created to “Fight Fascism.” Stop Trump ‘
On the sign is a black and white photo of the controversial congressman with the striking statement, “Matt Gaetz wants to ‘date’ your child.”
Matt Gaetz (R-FL) addresses conservative political action conference to be held in Orlando at the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021
But the troubling arsenal of allegations has called Gaetz’s political future into question, just as he was seen as an increasingly powerful force in the Republican Party.
In the latest turn of events, The New York Times – which last week shared the story the DoJ Gaetz is investigating – reported Wednesday that the congressman had asked for a blanket pardon from the White House in the waning weeks of Trump’s presidency.
Trump had grown fond of Gaetz, a lawmaker who had offered fierce loyalty to the president throughout his four-year term. But a Gaetz pardon never came.
With the scandal explosive, Trump weighed in on Wednesday.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz never asked for a pardon,” said the 45th president. “It should also be remembered that he has completely denied the charges against him.”
The top Republican in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, acknowledged last week that the allegations were “serious” and could lead to serious repercussions, but said he wanted to see more of the facts.
“If it turns out to be true, yes, we would remove it,” McCarthy told Fox News.
Gaetz has vigorously pushed back against the charges and tried to divert attention from the DOJ investigation by insisting that he and his family have been victims of an extortion scheme.
He says two men, including former Air Force officer Robert Kent, approached Gaetz’s father for $ 25 million to fund their bid to locate and free American Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran 14 years ago.
Kent acknowledged that he had texted Don Gaetz, the Congressman’s father, a former Florida Senate president, telling him he was aware of a “ indictment ” that was soon to be filed against his son, and that ‘I have a plan to help his future legal and political problems disappear. . ‘
Speaking to CNN, Kent said that mentioning Gaetz’s legal troubles was just a ‘teaser’, explaining to the father ‘that this was not an extortion attempt,’ but a legitimate offer to help save Levinson, while he may have represented Gaetz in a positive light. .
Levinson’s family said in 2020 that U.S. officials had told them the ex-FBI agent had died while in Iranian custody.
Brash and combative, Gaetz has taken controversial steps in Congress, wearing a gas mask on the floor of the House last year during a vote on an early coronavirus response package.
In 2019, he delayed impeachment proceedings against Trump when he led dozens of Republican lawmakers who stepped in and refused to leave for several hours.
And in January, Gaetz traveled to Wyoming to help spark backlash against senior Congressman Liz Cheney, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
Gaetz, a Republican congressman from Florida, is pictured with his fiancé Ginger Luckey
Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Gaetz has “ never ” asked for a pardon and offers a lukewarm defense of the controversial Florida Republican.
Insane details of Gaetz’s behavior have also emerged. According to CNN, Gaetz bragged about his sexual escapades to fellow lawmakers, showing them nude photos of women he claimed to have slept with.
Gaetz dug in and wrote in the Examiner, “Scandal cycles in Washington are predictable, and sex is especially powerful in politics. First of all, let me remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk and certainly not a criminal. ‘
But the DOJ investigation – started while Trump was still in office and not by Gaetz’s political opponents – could halt the rise of the ambitious Republican.
It revolves around Gaetz and colleague Floridian Joel Greenberg, a former Seminole County tax collector who was charged with a federal child trafficking charge last year.
According to the Times, people close to the investigation said they believe Greenberg met women through websites and introduced them to Gaetz, who had sex with them.
The DOJ is also investigating whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old.
Most Republicans, meanwhile, have not commented on the Gaetz scandal. He is scheduled to speak at a Trump golf club in Miami on Friday during the Save America Summit sponsored by a pro-Trump women’s group.
MailOnline has contacted Gaetz’s office for comment.
TIMELINE OF THE GAETZ SAGA
30 MARCH: The New York Times reports that Gaetz is under investigation for a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Details are scarce, but the relationship is said to have happened two years ago.
Gaetz went to Tucker Carlson’s FOX News show that night to deny the charges and claim he was the victim of an extortion plot.
He cites David McGee as a DoJ official who is blackmailing him. McGee denies it.
MARCH 31ST: Gaetz’s father Don tells Politico the extortion plot is real and he teamed up with his son and the FBI to expose it
APRIL 1ST: Texts appear to support Gaetz’s claim that he was extorted and introduce a new element to the saga – that the extortion plot was part of a ruse to rescue American hostage Robert Levinson from Iran.
WHO IS WHO
Representative Matt Gaetz
Gaetz, 38, is the representative of Florida’s first congressional district.
He is a Trump ally with ties to Roger Stone and is known to have sparked flames of controversy in the past.
He has DUI convictions, has been accused of inciting violence on Twitter, and claimed that facial recognition technology proved that some of the Capitol rioters on Jan. 6 were not Trump fans, but ‘antifa’ posing as them.
Gaetz’s father who was a beloved senator. He sold his business with his partners in 2004 for $ 406 million.
They had founded VITAS Healthcare in the 1980s. He was a senator for ten years from 2006 to 2016.
McGee was a prosecutor at the Justice Department, but he is now a lawyer in private practice.
According to his biography on his law firm’s website, he spent six years as a senior assistant in the United States law firm and seven years as a senior attorney for a Task Force on Organized Crime of the United States Department of Justice.
Kent is an Air Force intelligence officer whose involvement in the alleged plot was only revealed through the texts Wednesday night.
Levinson worked for the FBI for 22 years before disappearing in Iran in 2007. The government claimed they knew nothing about it, but later admitted that he had worked there for the CIA.
The last time he was seen alive was in 2011, when he appeared in proof of life photos. His family say they got reason to believe he was dead this month.