For weeks it’s been clear that Matt Gaetz is trying to save himself by using the Trump playbook. Of course the Trump playbook is a failure, and it’s left Donald Trump defeated, irrelevant, and sitting at home waiting to be criminally indicted. Yet Gaetz has persisted in trying to bombastically blow up the federal criminal investigation into him, instead of mounting a legal defense.
Now it turns out Matt Gaetz has gone so far as to pay off longtime Trump henchman Roger Stone. According to Media Matters, Gaetz paid $5,000 in campaign money to Stone’s consulting firm, and then Stone went out and publicly defended Gaetz to right wing propaganda outlets. This could get ugly for a couple reasons.
First, using campaign money to pay for anything like this is always iffy – and politicians tend to go down for campaign finance violations more than anything else (see former Congressman Duncan Hunter). This comes weeks after major news outlets reported that the Feds are already investigating whether Gaetz used campaign funds to pay the women and/or underage girls he was having sex with.
Second, Roger Stone is involved in the Matt Gaetz – Joel Greenberg scandal, to the point that he was seen partying with Gaetz and Greenberg at Greenberg’s hotel during the same weekend in which Greenberg allegedly paid a woman for sex. Even if Stone isn’t incriminated in the Gaetz-Greenberg scandal, he’s certainly a material witness – and now Gaetz is giving him a $5,000 payoff? In campaign funds, no less.
We’ll see where this goes. But this is exactly the kind of dumb panic move that a dummy like Matt Gaetz would make. And now the Feds have yet another angle for following the money when it comes to unraveling Gaetz. If the Feds can demonstrate that Gaetz paid Stone in exchange for not cooperating with the investigation, they’ll both go down for it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report