It's been a while since we've heard news about Rep. Matt Gaetz, which once again raises the question: Why the hell aren't we hearing more news about Matt Gaetz? The Republican congressman is purportedly under investigation for the sex trafficking of a minor, but even that phrase hardly describes what's already publicly known about the case. The crooked Florida Republican and Gaetz pal at the center of the sex trafficking investigation is said to be cooperating with authorities; reporters have been able to contact several of the women involved and they have seemingly confirmed Gaetz's involvement; new stories of cocaine-fueled sex parties, an alleged proclivity to share nude photos of his "dates" with fellow Republicans in the Capitol—there's no end to it.
There was once a time when even half of that would have forced a congresscreature into early retirement, but that was before Republicanism decided that grifting serial rapists were presidential material. Gaetz is looking to stick it out, and has even been going on national tours with other, equally tawdry House Republicans in an effort to God-knows-what.
Fear not, however. While Matt Gaetz is sticking close to Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Republican now famous for not giving a damn whether those around him are committing sex crimes, more additions to the "Matt Gaetz is sketchy as hell" pile continue to be stacked gently on the heap. Many of them involve money, because of course they do.
That brings us to today's new news.
Roger Sollenberger at The Daily Beast is reporting on a newly discovered $100,000 donation made by Matt Gaetz's campaign to a bizarre little nonprofit originally formed by pro-Trump Republican Chris Christie, the scandal-plagued former governor of New Jersey, as a Trump-boosting organization. Normally that would be standard-fare political news, but Sollenberger found a whole lot of sketchy under the surface.
Gaetz's campaign made the contribution the very day that Donald Trump's second impeachment trial got underway in the Senate. What's notable about this time period is that it was a time when Gaetz was very publicly giving Trump sloppy kisses of support after evidently failing to procure a much-desired blanket Trump pardon during Trump's last weeks in office. Apparently this behavior extended to funneling $100,000 of campaign funds into a Trump-boosting "nonprofit," but:
• The Gaetz campaign says no, actually it was to support Sarah Huckabee Sanders' bid to be Arkansas governor.
• But the nonprofit has never said it's supporting Sanders, and neither Gaetz nor his campaign have ever donated to Sanders directly.
• Nobody involved with the nonprofit (Christie is no longer associated with it) is willing to say what the group has been doing, there's no record of them doing anything since August 2020, and Gaetz appears to be the only politico who's given money to the group.
• And given that the group, "Right Direction America," is a 501(c)4 nonprofit that by law must devote itself primarily to social welfare causes and not politics, the inability of anyone involved to come up with a reason for the group's existence that doesn't hinge on politics makes the whole thing look a bit scammy. Or a lot scammy.
As with seemingly everything else involving Matt Gaetz, we don't know much but everything we do know points in the vague direction of somebody doing a crime. It's a bit odd that the Gaetz campaign forked over $100,000 to a pro-Trump "nonprofit" on the very day of Trump's second impeachment trial, and odder still for the campaign to be insisting that no, Actually it was meant to support a campaign the nonprofit has shown no record of supporting. It's a bit odd that this all came on the heels of frantic negotiations to try to secure a sex crimes pardon from a sex crimes president. It's a bit odd that the nonprofit in question does not seem to meaningfully exist, or do anything, or have any "social welfare" cause to it at all.
If there's one thing we've learned, however, it's that the Gaetz family has a recent history of attracting (alleged) money scammers. A Florida man was just indicted for attempting to extract $25 million from Gaetz's father in a bizarrely premised scheme promising a Trump pardon. Separately, Gaetz and his fiancee claim to have lost $155,000 after the money they wired to purchase a 41-foot yacht "went missing" due to "malicious actors."
And this isn't even the first sketchy cash transfer the Gaetz campaign itself has been involved with: Several months ago, it was discovered that among the mountains of cash the Gaetz campaign doled out in attempts to steer Gaetz through his sex-crime-premised political shipwreck, was $20,000 to a Roger Stone company the Department of Justice says the Stone family has been using as a tax dodge.
In short, there's been a lot going on here. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Matt Gaetz and his campaign were simply bamboozled out of $100,000 by someone promising to deliver a new boat with a Roger Stone-delivered presidential pardon stapled to the hull, or were trying to get their hands on $100,000 of Sarah Sanders-produced t-shirts with secret presidential pardons stitched into their laundry tags. You really can't go wrong assuming that the real explanation will be wackier than it first appears, when any new Gaetz story appears. The guy's a walking scandal magnet.
Anyhoo, there you go. There's your new Matt Gaetz news. Do you regret knowing it? Yeah. Yeah, so do I. Federal agents could do us all a nice favor here and get on with indicting Gaetz for, honestly, take your pick, but it appears the Gaetz case has gone into the same unseen wormhole every last Trump investigation went into during his tenure. It might pop back up eventually, somewhere in the vicinity of Alpha Centauri.