- It felt like a slow news week until the New York Times reported what would become the tip of the iceberg in an unfolding scandal involving Trump loyalist Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
- There’s a lot to dig into here. The initial NYT report said Gaetz was being investigated for a possible sexual relationship with a minor.
- Gaetz has denied the allegations, and claims the reporting stems from an extortion plot against him.
- Gaetz has claimed a former federal prosecutor approached his father with an offer to make the sex allegations go away if Gaetz and his father hand over $25 million to fund a rescue effort to free former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who was taken hostage by Iran and is believed to be dead. The former prosecutor, David McGee, denies Gaetz’s allegations of extortion.
- Former FBI agents have a lot of questions about Gaetz’s extortion alibi.
- The sex trafficking investigation into Gaetz apparently stems from a probe into a former Seminole County, Florida tax collector named Joel Greenberg. Here’s a who’s who guide to the sprawling scandal.
- The story took a dramatic turn Thursday evening when the New York Times reported that DOJ investigators are focusing on cash payments Gaetz allegedly made to women, who told friends that the cash was for sex.
- CNN also reported late Thursday that Gaetz showed nude images of women he says he slept with to congressional colleagues — even on the House floor.
Backlash To Voting Restrictions Grows
- Now that Georgia’s restrictive voting legislation has been signed into law, the corporate and legal fallout has been swift.
- At least three lawsuits have been filed challenging various elements of the law.
- Corporations with ties to Georgia have come out with increasingly stern statements expressing concern over the law. On Wednesday, the CEO of Delta airlines broke the dam with a statement calling the Georgia law “unacceptable.”
- Microsoft, Coke and Apple quickly followed suit.
- But not all the corporate statements carry the same weight.
- Meanwhile, attention has turned to Texas, where Republicans are pushing similarly restrictive voting measures.
- On Thursday, the Texas Senate passed a bill that will make it more difficult for communities of color to vote.
Infrastructure Week At Last?
- And finally, it might soon be infrastructure week at last. This week, President Biden laid out a $2 trillion plan to bolster the nation’s roads and bridges, as well as providing internet access and clean water.
- Has Washington finally turned its back on deficit fearmongering? It’s probably too soon to say, but the Biden presidency, so far, feels very different than Obama’s in that respect.
- We discussed the future of an infrastructure package, among many other things, on this week’s podcast.