For the last few weeks, Matt Gaetz has been in deep doo-doo. In late March, it was revealed the Florida representative and ride-or-die Trumpist has been under investigation for his ties to an alleged sex trafficking ring — a probe that has since expanded to campaign finance irregularities. On top of that, James Carville made fun of how he looks. Throughout it all, Gaetz has alternately asserted his innocence and tried to pretend nothing was wrong, even as longtime cohorts, including former president Donald Trump, have kept their distance.
But a new report by The Daily Beast claims that he’s done far more than that. A new campaign finance report, covering January through March, reveals he’s been dropping tons of cash during what is usually a quiet time, in an apparent attempt to sway public opinion his way. For instance, of the $170,000 he’s spent in that time on direct mail outreach to supporters, $116,543 was spent on March 31 alone — the day after the New York Times piece revealing the DOJ investigation went live.
Gaetz has also dropped $160,000 for fundraising consulting — $10,000 more than his campaign spent on such services in 2019 and 2020 combined. There’s also the six-figures he spent on TV ads — 30-second spots aired in his home district and on some national cable networks, in which he asked supporters to “fight back” against places like CNN.
There was also one alarming deposit: $5,000 on “strategic political consulting” to Drake Ventures, which is owned by notorious smear artist and pardoned former felon Roger Stone, who was recently sued by the DOJ over millions in alleged unpaid taxes. The department claims Drake Ventures is little more than a shelter for more than $1 million.
Where is Gaetz getting his money? In part by fundraising off the scandal. Earlier in April he sent out an email to supporters, asking for cash and slamming the “far-left New York Times” for publishing “salacious allegations against me in an attempt to end my career fighting for the forgotten men and women of this country.”
But he’s not getting any help from his fellow congresspeople. The Daily Beast reports that not even close friends like Jim Jordan — with whom Gaetz has been roundly mocked as “Beavis and Butt-head” — have given him financial support in thus far this calendar year.
(Via The Daily Beast)