The organization labeled Gaetz “delinquent” after the Republican representative allowed his Florida license to lapse by not paying the required $265 in dues to remain in good standing with the regulating body which means he can no longer practice law in his home state. Obviously, this is not good news for a guy currently under investigation on sex trafficking charges who might need to have other job options lined up should he lose his seat in the House. According to Gaetz’s representatives, the lapse was somewhat intentional.
“Congressman Gaetz is no longer actively engaged in the practice of law. He is focused on representing his constituents in Congress, not the courtroom,” Joel Valdez, Gaetz’s communications director, told The Daily Beast.
But, in speaking with other bar members in the state, the failure to pay such a small amount in dues to remain in good standing with the association seems like proof that Gaetz doesn’t prioritize anything but free press. The Daily Beast reported that four attorneys in the state confirmed that it’s “extremely rare” for lawyers to make such a gaffe considering Gaetz could have paid a smaller fee to simply register as “inactive” but still remain in good standing with the organization.
“He clearly doesn’t take his law license very seriously when he doesn’t take the time to pay the $265 dues,” Daniel Uhlfelder, a Santa Rosa Beach attorney who lives in Gaetz’s district, told The Daily Beast. “He’s not a serious lawyer. He’s not a serious congressman. He’s not a serious person. This is one small but symbolic example of that.”
This isn’t the first time the congressman has gotten in trouble with the Florida Bar — he was under investigation twice before for mishandling client funds and violating the organization’s “standards of civility.” Though Gaetz’s team is trying to play off the delinquency as a consequence of his busy schedule as a state representative on Capitol Hill, the more likely reason for letting his license expire has to do with the impending sex trafficking case. On Thursday night, the New York Times reported that two top prosecutors had been added to the investigation. This follows news of a confession letter from Gaetz’s friend, Joel Greenberg, who he allegedly paid via Venmo transactions to procure him women to have sex with, including one woman who may have been 17-years-old at the time. Gaetz might have just been trying to get the jump on the bar, lapsing on his dues so he could avoid more investigations into his conduct and the bad publicity of having his license forcefully revoked.
Or maybe he just forgot to Venmo them. Who knows?