Matt Gaetz is already having one of the worst weeks that any U.S. House member has had in quite some time. He’s under federal criminal investigation for alleged underage sex trafficking, among numerous other crimes. His ally Joel Greenberg is cutting a plea deal against him. And now evidence against Gaetz from apps such as Venmo is beginning to publicly surface.
Even as Matt Gaetz’s life continues to get set on fire in the criminal justice arena, his political career is now officially on the line as well. The House Ethics Committee has launched a probe into Gaetz’s behavior. This is notable because it includes not only Gaetz’s alleged criminal behavior, but also Gaetz’s unethical behavior such as showing nude photos of the women he’d slept with to other House members on the House floor.
While the House Ethics Committee can’t bring criminal penalties against Matt Gaetz, it can help expose his inappropriate and illegal actions, and help establish his guilt in the court of public opinion. This also sets up a potential expulsion vote against Gaetz once the committee probe is complete. This would place House Republicans in the no-win position of either having to alienate Trump’s base by voting to expel Gaetz, or alienate voters in the middle by not voting to expel Gaetz.
Notably, Matt Gaetz isn’t the only House member who’s now under investigation. The House Ethics Committee also announced today that it’s launching a separate probe into House Republican Tom Reed, who stands accused of inappropriate sexual touching of women. Reed has already apologized and announced that he’s retiring at the end of his term. But this probe could prompt Reed to resign before the end of his term.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report