The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it is officially launching investigations into Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Tom Reed (R-NY) for various allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gaetz is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department to determine whether he had sex with and trafficked a minor, an investigation stemming from the indictment of his friend, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last summer on a trafficking charge, among others.
“The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct,” the committee said in a press release.
In the days since news of the DOJ investigation broke, there has been a steady drip of further allegations and reporting, including that Gaetz showed nude pictures of women he’d slept with to other members on the House floor and sent money through Greenberg to women, at least one of whom was a teenager.
Things took a potentially even more dire turn for Gaetz late this week, as Greenberg’s attorney indicated that his client intends to cooperate with prosecutors.
Gaetz has maintained his innocence, dispatching a former employee and the unnamed “women” of his office to vouch for his credibility in a respective press conference and release.
Reed was accused of sexual misconduct by a former lobbyist last month, and has since apologized.
The lobbyist, Nicolette Davis, described an episode in 2017 where Reed unhooked her bra from outside of her shirt and moved his hand up her thigh until she asked a coworker sitting next to her to intervene.
While he initially said the account was “not accurate,” Reed put out a statement days later saying that “I hear her voice and will not dismiss her.”
“In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant,” he said. “Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility.”
He said that he was struggling with alcoholism at the time, and has since received treatment. He added that he will retire after his current term, as he had long planned to do, but will not run for any other office. There had been speculation that he would run for governor of New York.
He was replaced as co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus earlier this month.