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Matt Gaetz accused of ethics violation for paying shady company to build personal TV studio

Matt Gaetz accused of ethics violation for paying shady company to build personal TV studio

Congress’s most belligerently obnoxious member once again finds himself in the limelight and once again it’s for thoroughly unscrupulous reasons. Politico reports that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a frothingly pro-Trump creature with a reputation for bad faith and mendacity, appears to have violated House ethics rules.

Politico’s investigation discovered that Gaetz diverted tens of thousands of government dollars to an LLC with connections to Darren Beattie, a speechwriting consultant who served in the Trump White House until he was expelled for appearing at an event crawling with white supremacists. The expenditures violate House rules that prohibit members from using tax dollars to pay for speech consultants. Gaetz’s office claims the violation was due to a “clerical error.”

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An even more flagrant abuse appears to be Gaetz’s use of tax dollars to pay a company to create a TV studio inside his father’s house in Florida as well as to rent the camera used in the studio. The Congressman uses this installation to film his seemingly endless stream of television appearances but for some reason refuses to reveal which company he paid for the project.

Suspiciously, the company in question collects a fee from television networks every time Gaetz uses the studio to appear on one of their shows meaning that the arrangement has essentially become a black hole for money flowing to unknown parties.

Politico observes that the studio expenditures may violate House ethics rules on gifts since it certainly exceeds the maximum $50 value Representatives are allowed to accept.  Laughably, Gaetz is insisting that the House Ethics Committee signed off on the studio expenses but so far he has failed to provide any evidence of his claim. More likely, he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and is trying to lie his way out.

It’s still unclear if Gaetz will face any consequences for his actions but the voters in his Congressional district would be well-advised to pay closer attention to his behavior. This man takes after our deeply corrupt president in both style and substance and like Trump he has made it abundantly clear that he is far more interested in furthering his own political and financial interests than serving this nation. There should be no place in government for men like this.

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Original reporting by Jake Sherman and Josh Bresnahan for Politico.

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