Federal prosecutors are examining whether Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)’s 2018 Bahamas trip was part of a pay-for-play scheme involving the marijuana industry, CNN reported Friday.
Gaetz went to the Bahamas with a Florida marijuana lobbyist and a longtime friend of his named Jason Pirozzolo, who helped found the American Medical Marijuana Physicians’ Association.
Separate reporting has suggested that Pirozzolo paid for the company of women on the trip.
CNN reports that prosecutors from the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section — based in D.C. — are looking at whether escorts were given to Gaetz in return for political favors.
Gaetz has advocated for marijuana legislation since he was serving in the Florida state house. As a member of Congress, he said that he would support full legalization if it came up for a vote.
But the new reporting from CNN suggests that prosecutors are “searching for pay-for-play arrangements,” in which Gaetz may have received something of value in exchange for legislative favors.
The New York Times first reported last month that prosecutors are also examining Gaetz’s relationship with a 17-year old girl, including whether he took her across state lines.
CNN also reported Friday that Chris Dorworth, a former Florida state rep who reportedly spoke with Gaetz in relation to a supposed scheme to run a third candidate in a state senate race, is facing scrutiny from investigators.
Dorworth resigned from his position at lobbying firm Ballard Partners earlier this month citing media scrutiny.
I always loved working @BallardFirm. Best boss, best coworkers, best clients. The current political environment is nasty, and I told Brian I don’t think it’s fair for the recent media storm to take away from their missions. A classier or more effective group I couldn’t imagine.
— Chris Dorworth (@ChrisDorworth) April 9, 2021