Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is in very hot water for spending thousands of dollar in taxpayer money on a speech-writing consultant and to install a private TV studio in his father’s home.
Politico reports that Gaetz funneled money to a former Trump administration aide who was fired for appearing at a conference for racist and white supremacist views:
“Gaetz, a close ally of President Donald Trump from the Florida Panhandle, improperly sent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to a limited liability company linked to a speech-writing consultant who was ousted from the Trump administration, in direct conflict with House rules.
“In another possible violation, a private company installed a television studio in his father’s home in Niceville, Fla., which Gaetz uses when he appears on television. Taxpayers foot the bill to rent the television camera, and the private company that built the studio — which Gaetz refuses to identify — takes a fee each time he appears on air, his office said. It’s unclear how much it cost the private company to construct the studio.”
The TV studio is in direct violation of House rules which strictly prohibit any House member, aide, or family member from receiving any gift valued at more than $50.
Contacted for comment, Gaetz’s office denied he had done anything wrong and asserted that the congressman had received clearance from the House Ethics Committee for both arrangements, but failed to provide any documentation to support the claim.
In the case of the the speech-writing consultant, aides to Gaetz maintain the matter is merely a “clerical error”:
“The Florida Republican concedes that he improperly sent $28,000 in taxpayer funds to a limited liability company connected to the speech-writing consultant, Darren Beattie, a former White House aide who was ousted after appearing at a convention known as a forum for racist and white supremacist views. Gaetz’s aides said it was a clerical error that they are now working to reverse. House rules explicitly prohibit spending taxpayer dollars on speech-writing consultants.”
This isn’t the first time Gaetz has come to the attention of the House Ethics Committee, either. In April, Politico discovered that the Florida Republican had rented his Pensacola, Florida, office from a longtime friend and adviser. That investigation was later dismissed when both Gaetz and the friend — local businessman Collier Merrill — claimed the rental agreement had been arranged in private and was far below market value.
It would appear that Congressman Gaetz, much like his political idol, Donald Trump, is fond of using taxpayer dollars for his own benefit. Apparently, grifting is now the norm among members of the Republican Party.
Featured Image Via NBC News