The Republican-led panel has reached out to new witnesses, growing its connections to people linked to the initial investigation into Mr Gaetz by the Department of Justice, sources told ABC News. Investigators for the committee have started to conduct interviews.
The investigation into Mr Gaetz was restarted last July after the panel had at first deferred its probe following a request to do so from the Department of Justice. The top law enforcement agency ended its own sex-trafficking probe after several years in 2023 without charging Mr Gaetz.
“It’s great to see the Ethics Committee has interests beyond trading stocks. They seem to be quite the unusual whales,” Mr Gaetz told The Independent in a statement.
Joel Greenberg — once a close friend of the congressman — was sentenced to more than a decade behind bars after pleading guilty to wire fraud, sex trafficking a minor, and other charges.
His attorney, Fritz Schiller, told ABC News that he would not “confirm or deny” having been in touch with the House Ethics Committee.
When the investigation was restarted in July, Mr Gaetz said: “I was cleared by the Department of Justice and the FBI, who looked into my life for years.”
“Now, I believe that the House Ethics Committee is trying to weaponize their process against me because every once in a while up here I’m a rabble-rouser and I don’t go along to get along. And right now, I’m forcing this body to deal with our debt and our spending,” he added.
“I think all the days in Congress, there are probably in the seven years I’ve been in Congress, there have only been tens of days when I haven’t been under one form of ethics investigation or another,” the congressman argued. “I’ve never been found to have violated any ethical laws. I won’t be found to have violated them in this matter either.”
The House Ethics Committee’s investigation into former New York GOP Rep George Santos recently led to him being expelled from the chamber after the panel released a report outlining a litany of charges of wrongdoing against the then-congressman.
After the end of the probe into Mr Santos, the Ethics panel has once again focused on Mr Gaetz. The committee is set to obtain further documents and schedule interviews in the upcoming weeks.