“I, a 38 year old man, was dating/not dating a 17 year old girl”

Well, this isn’t surprising. Matt Gaetz is under investigation for a relationship with a 17 year old teenager.

The Justice Department is investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz — a Florida Republican considered a close political ally of former president Donald Trump — over an alleged sexual relationship with an underage girl, according to people familiar with the matter, though the probe has been complicated by the congressman’s assertion that his family is being extorted.

The investigation into Gaetz began some time last year, when Trump was still in office, after a criminal case against a different Florida politician led investigators to allegations that the congressman had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her travel, a person familiar with the matter said on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. As that probe was underway, the person said, Gaetz’s family raised allegations that the congressman was being extorted, and the FBI is separately exploring those claims.

“Under investigation” does not mean he’s guilty, of course. There could be an innocent explanation. What’s suspicious, though, is his response. He went on Tucker Carlson, and his argument was: a) Hey, Tucker, you were once falsely accused, too; b) he denied that he travelled with a 17 year old and had travel records to prove it, and c) someone tried to extort $25 million from his daddy to hide the evidence.

That’s just weird. Trying to recruit Carlson as a supporter is irrelevant; that Carlson might have been falsely accused does not mean Gaetz is also innocent. No one thinks that being on a plane with a teenager is a crime. The accusations have emerged out of a federal investigation of a sex trafficker, so what he should have denied was that he was dating or had sex with her, which he didn’t do. Was he dating someone less than half his age or not? The next phase in his denial is right here:

What really mystifies me, though, is why is the extortionist running to Daddy Gaetz? Matt Gaetz is 38 years old and presumably an autonomous adult human being. If I were trying to blackmail or extort money from a victim, I’d go straight to them, terrify them with my wicked claims, and let them go running to a big-money source.

It’s all very strange. I’m sure more info will be emerging. Perhaps Gaetz will consult with a competent lawyer and come out with a logical, coherent explanation. Although it seems he’s sounding out an alternative strategy.

Separately, Axios reported Tuesday that Gaetz was telling confidants he was contemplating not seeking reelection and possibly leaving his post early for a job at Newsmax, a conservative media outlet.


  1. Snarki, child of Loki says

    The evergreen bumper-sticker:

    GOP 20062012…2022: COME FOR THE CORRUPTION,

    Greasy Old Perverts, one and all.

  2. davidc1 says

    I bet he is on record somewhere railing against teens having sex ,that is the usual background .

  3. anthrosciguy says

    You go to the guy with the money who set his ne’er-do-well kid up in politics, not to the brat whose father no doubt the nod, correctly, that he son is a dim-bulb. Dim-bulb runs to daddy and says I need money, daddy says no; blackmailed goes directly to daddy and maybe it gets done.

    That’s assuming there was blackmail.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    Was he dating someone less than half his age or not?

    Hey, she’ll be half his age in just four years – cut a guy some slack, willya?

  5. kome says

    His defense of “they’re just trying to criminalize me being a generous partner” is… well par for the course for right-wingers, who are nothing if not completely oblivious to the idea that raping someone is wrong. Still, this helps put into context the reason why Gaetz was the only no vote for a bill that would improve the government’s ability to combat sex trafficking; a bill that even Jim Jordan voted for, by the by. Because, as much of a pervert and ally to pedophiles that Jim Jordan is, he’s “smart” enough to know how to manage his public image. By contrast, Gaetz is literally the guy who went crying to daddy to have a DUI taken care of when he was 26. He has no clue how to do anything on his own to protect himself, and sincerely believes it isn’t fair that that he should ever face any consequences for his actions (which, y’know, typical conservative). His interview on Carlson was particularly telling, because Gaetz was preemptively offering suspiciously specific denials of things that are not currently being publicly alleged, like photographs/videos of Gaetz with underaged prostitutes.

  6. says

    Was he dating someone less than half his age or not?
    Hey, she’ll be half his age in just four years – cut a guy some slack, willya?

    I find myself pedantically compelled to point out that he is under investigation for potential sexual contact with a 17 year old girl – which would be sexual assault or rape.

    However, the conduct investigated and the girl’s age are both from 4 years ago.

    Therefore, the investigation relates to Gaetz’s behavior when he was 34 years old. The now-woman is 21 years old by the reverse calculation, but being a 17 year old girl at the time that means that when the behavior that might have included sexual assault and/or rape occurred, she was exactly half his age, and 4 years from now she will be 25/42nds of his age, which is not half, but ~60%.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    Crip Dyke… @ # 9: … when the behavior that might have included sexual assault and/or rape occurred, she was exactly half his age…

    I sit corrected.

    Gee, Gaetz is hardly another Roy Moore after all. Maybe he won’t even have to move a few miles across the state line to continue his political career.

  8. raven says

    c) someone tried to extort $25 million from his daddy to hide the evidence.

    This quite likely never happened.
    It’s already been denied by the Justice Department.
    You have to remember that Gaetz isn’t known for telling the truth about anything.
    I wouldn’t believe anything he says without outside corroboration.

    The fact that he is already talking about abandoning his political career and going to Newsmax, a right wingnut troll site, makes it look like these accusations may have some truth behind them.

  9. Bruce Fuentes says

    Even if the extortion did happen, it is irrelevant to the charge of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of a minor. Not a great defense, but then again I venture to guess matty boy wasn’t much of a lawyer.
    Florida is an 18 age of consent state. If the allegations are true not only can he be charged with a federal sex trafficking charge, he can be charged with state statutory rape laws. That is why I think no one has called this statutory rape. Not enough info and statutory rape would be a state charge, not a federal charge. I am not a lawyer, so if anyone wants to correct me, you are more than welcome. As Florida is DsSantis fiefdom, I do not expect to see any state charges. As other states seem to be included maybe he will be charged somewhere else.

  10. robro says

    “…already denied by the Justice Department.”

    I gather that Gaetz implicated someone in the Justice Department for the extortion effort. While that part of the story is probably BS, I don’t find it difficult to imagine Trump having Barr dig up dirt on Republicans to keep them in line, and even “donate” money to him in exchange for killing an investigation.

  11. xmnr says

    The reason a blackmailer, should they actually exist, might have gone to directly to daddy and not to sonny may be found at said daddy’s Wikipedia page:

    “[Don] Gaetz founded VITAS Healthcare Corporation with a group of investors, which he later sold for nearly half a billion dollars in 2004.

  12. tacitus says

    I find myself pedantically compelled to point out that he is under investigation for potential sexual contact with a 17 year old girl – which would be sexual assault or rape.

    Would it be sexual assault or rape if he committed the act in D.C. where the age of consent is 16?

    Presumably this is where the sex trafficking angle comes in — paying for a minor to travel from Florida to another jurisdiction for the purposes of having sex with them.

  13. robro says

    This is rich: Gaetz is the only member of Congress to vote against the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act in 2017.

  14. weylguy says

    #2 — Yeah, he referred to her as a 17-year-old woman. I suppose that’s better than a 12-year-old woman.

  15. says

    I gather that Gaetz implicated someone in the Justice Department for the extortion effort.

    He was stupid enough to name a name: David McGee.

    Not that Gaetz needs the warning, but
    1) McGee is a lawyer
    2) Blackmail and extortion at this dollar value are felonies
    3) A false accusation of committing a felony is defamation per se in most jurisdictions
    4) Florida lawyers can comment on Florida law, but since the accusation was made over the internet, networking into a television production that was then broadcast to the entire country, there’s some wiggle room in jurisdiction & choice of law here
    5) In a case of defamation per se one need not enumerate specific damages to recover money from the defendant
    6) If McGee wasn’t intending to collect $25M from Gaetz before, well, that’s pretty much what he’ll be asking for now.

    Sorry/not sorry, Matt Gaetz!

  16. dstatton says

    In the typical blackmail scheme, the person being blackmailed is actually guilty.

  17. robro says

    Criip Dyke @ #19

    “He was stupid enough to name a name”

    Hadn’t seen that he named a name…that is particularly stupid. And Gaetz is a lawyer…nominally anyway.

  18. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Very suspicious that he was the SINGLE vote against strengthening Sex Trafficking laws. (gee, unanimous with a single exception, his entire Party voted for it)
    Rachel Maddow also laid out a very suspicious relationship between him and a bizarre Florida civil servant (tax collector) who used his office to market underage girls to “sugar daddies”. I kept wanting Rachel to call this TaxCollector dude a pimp.

  19. Akira MacKenzie says

    “Punch a Nazi”

    A libertarian would NEVER punch a Nazi. Instead, they would give them a platform to spread their beliefs, putting them to the test in the intellectual crucible that is the Marketplace of Ideas (TM). They’d defend their freedom of association and private property rights so they can hire, fire, do business (or not) with whoever they’d want. They’d will stand up for their second amendment rights to stockpile weapons to defend themselves from liberal governments, Muslims, MS-13, Antifa, and BLM. They’ll defend their right to self-government by allowing them to create a homeland for themselves.

    In short, the polar opposite of “Shoot the Nazi” (and the author writes that if it were a BAD thing) is “Let the Nazi’s do what they want and defend them.”

  20. robro says

    slithey tove @ #22 — I think you’re referring to Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector from Seminole county, Florida. The DoJ’s investigation of Greenberg led to the investigation of Gaetz. Greenberg is described as a “political ally” of Gaetz. Greenberg was indicted last summer and resigned his position. He is also charged with stalking a political opponent. Greenberg is currently back in jail for violating the conditions of his release.

  21. says

    Over 20 comments in and nobody has yet brought up Gaetz’s “son”? The young adult who lives with him and is not his son in any recognizable manner (he didn’t father him and never adopted him).

  22. robro says

    Tabby @ #25 — Yeah, I know. It’s another weird facet to Gaetz. Difficult to know what to make of it. Along the more weird stuff line, the Gaetz family lives in the house that was used in the movie The Truman Show. They even have a sign on the picket fence in front of the house that says “The Truman Show”. Life imitates surreality?

    WaPo has story about the “extortion” investigation: Gaetz investigation complicated by overture to his father about ex-FBI agent who went missing.

  23. dean56 says

    “A libertarian would NEVER punch a Nazi.”

    True. Support them. Emulate them. Praise them, but not shoot them.

  24. raven says

    …The young adult who lives with him and is not his son in any recognizable manner .

    There is never just one cockroach.

    Gaetz is clearly a creepy guy.
    Cthulhu knows what else he has gotten up to.
    People like him, white, ultra-rich, politically powerful think they are above the law.
    Usually they are right.
    Look at how long Jeffry Epstein and his friend Ghislaine Maxwell had their run before getting caught.
    For that matter, look at how long…Donald Trump has been running and the law is just now slowly getting around to him.

  25. tacitus says

    His father, Don Gaetz is a piece of work too. He made his fortune by building the largest private hospice business in the country after first lobbying the Florida state government to end its own hospice care program to create the gap in the market. He then went on to lobbying Congress to pass a law allowing Medicare funds to go to non-profits, like his business.

    He eventually sold his “non-profit” business for $400 million and went into state politics.

    So Matt Gaetz’s father is a literal ghoul who amassed a fortune profiting from the death and suffering of millions of Americans.

    Why am I not surprised?

  26. brucej says

    What really mystifies me, though, is why is the extortionist running to Daddy Gaetz? Matt Gaetz is 38 years old and presumably an autonomous adult human being.

    Same reason Willie Sutton gave for robbing banks, actually.

  27. sharkar TV says

    If u thinking, A 50 -70 years old women dating or just using to slave her dirty minded sex 30 years old young guys. When it’s called ?
    Every Human (male or female) needs sex but don’t crossed real happen.

  28. KG says

    From consciousness razor’s link @11 – dated 27 October 2020:

    You could be forgiven for wondering whether, in the top offices of Democratic Party HQ, there’s actually a real appetite for winning this election.

    Americans tend to like their Presidents to be assertive, positive and with an energetic presence. Alas, they also almost always elect the taller candidate. Trump, in all his awfulness, ticks those boxes.

    Even Obama’s vigorous campaigning for Biden may backfire. It seems to underline the comparative inadequacy of the carry-over from the previous administration.

    Well, they really got that absolutely dead on, didn’t they, CR? I mean, Biden scarcely managed more than a record 81 million votes and a 7 million popular vote margin over Trump! Hopeless, absolutely hopeless. Obviously, the top offices at Democratic HQ weren’t even trying to win!

  29. KG says

    His interview on Carlson was particularly telling, because Gaetz was preemptively offering suspiciously specific denials of things that are not currently being publicly alleged, like photographs/videos of Gaetz with underaged prostitutes. – kome@7

    Has Gaetz denied that there is video of him biting the heads off live kittens? No? Clearly the denial kome cites is just a distraction tactic!

  30. F.O. says

    @Akira MacKenzie #23
    “libertarian” was originally used to describe anarchists, and today “libertarian socialism” is an umbrella term that contains several left-wing, anti-authoritarian ideologies, such as anarchism, democratic communalism and neo-zapatism.

    The term was later co-opted by US right-wingers: what USians call “libertarians” is for most of the rest of the world “right-wing libertarian”.

  31. says

    Nice use of the kettle defense:
    I didn’t do it.
    If I had done it it would be absolutely OK.
    I didn’t do it, and if I had, it would be ok, but somebody is blackmailing me with evidence of a deed I didn#t do and that would be totally OK if I had, so I’m the real victim here.

  32. birgerjohansson says

    Why don’t the Republicans just elect Roy Moore to Congress? I thought the name of the game was to “own the liberals”.
    Suggestion : come primary season, those of you in Roy Moore’s district should register as Republicans and vote for him to be the candidate. It would be hilarious.

  33. Ishikiri says

    @Akira MacKenzie, #23:

    You appear to have the quadrants confused. Lower left would imply anarchist, for whom punching a Nazi would be appropriate. Lower right is more Dave Rubin’s style, although he’s probably more upward that he would care to admit.

  34. quotetheunquote says

    @naturalistguy #31:
    Ha! By an extraordinary coincidence, I was just listening to TMBG this past weekend, that very album in fact. Very apropos.

    (But I think you need to include “They have a fight, Mann Act Man wins” in the middle there.)

  35. consciousness razor says

    KG, #33:

    Well, they really got that absolutely dead on, didn’t they, CR?


    Also, who gives a shit?

    Using the chart and its categories, Gaetz is a right-wing authoritarian, like Biden and many other politicians in my country, because that is what we are fed by our corporate/party overlords. That accurately characterizes both those who win and those who lose most of our elections, even when they try to brand themselves as something else such as “libertarian,” “centrist,” etc. Of course, in a society dominated by capitalists, we’re no strangers to the illusion of variety, so this really isn’t anything new.

    If you’ve got nothing coherent to say about that and are just hoping for some kind of diversion or deflection from it, then … I don’t know, then I guess you might write something like #33 instead.

  36. rrhain says

    @11 consciousness razor:

    I think what that shows is that Political Compass isn’t exactly accurate.

  37. rrhain says

    With regard to the “extortion,” this is just Gaetz lying. The claim is that in 2007, Robert Levinson was taken hostage in Iran. Gaetz is claiming that David McGee, a lawyer who was working on the Levinson case, used Bob Kent, an intelligence officer for the Air Force who was also working on the Levinson case, to approach Don Gaetz, Matt Gaetz’s father, with a request for $25M. With that money, they would free Levinson, who is actually presumed to be dead, and make the sex-trafficking case against Matt Gaetz go away.

    That isn’t extortion. That was soliciting a bribe. Extortion is threatening someone in order to obtain something. Give us X or we will Y. But the sex-trafficking case was already underway. They weren’t threatening to start an investigation into Gaetz over a trumped-up charge of sex-trafficking. They were actually saying they could make that case go away. That isn’t extortion.

    That’s bribery, if it’s true.

    But again, it could only be true if Matt Gaetz were already under investigation for sex-trafficking.

    So it seems Gaetz is admitting he is legitimately under investigation for sex-trafficking.

  38. naturalistguy says


    That hoary old libertarian compass has always been a gimmick because it pre-supposes that all political problems can neatly be assigned a place on an X-Y graph of two stereotyped characteristics. Political variation is more complex than the compass supposes.

  39. Rob Grigjanis says

    rrhain @41:

    I think what that shows is that Political Compass isn’t exactly accurate.

    Yes, but it gives cr and his ilk the opportunity to lecture us, yet again, on what we already know. The graph implies there is hardly any difference between Biden and Trump, and in some very limited senses that has some merit. But it also ignores little details like, for just one example, the number of people who unnecessarily died from COVID-19. I’d put that in the hundreds of thousands in the US, thanks to the sociopathic and inept leadership of Trump and his cronies. But what are hundreds of thousands of lives weighed against a chance to show how smart one is?

  40. naturalistguy says

    As they say, shit just got real for Gaetz.

    Justice Dept. Inquiry Into Matt Gaetz Said to Be Focused on Cash Paid to Women – New York Times

    The congressman and a former official in Florida sent money to the women using cash apps, receipts showed.

    WASHINGTON — A Justice Department investigation into Representative Matt Gaetz and an indicted Florida politician is focusing on their involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments, according to people close to the investigation and text messages and payment receipts reviewed by The New York Times.

    Investigators believe Joel Greenberg, the former tax collector in Seminole County, Fla., who was indicted last year on a federal sex trafficking charge and other crimes, initially met the women through websites that connect people who go on dates in exchange for gifts, fine dining, travel and allowances, according to three people with knowledge of the encounters. Mr. Greenberg introduced the women to Mr. Gaetz, who also had sex with them, the people said.

    One of the women who had sex with both men also agreed to have sex with an unidentified associate of theirs in Florida Republican politics, according to a person familiar with the arrangement. Mr. Greenberg had initially contacted her online and introduced her to Mr. Gaetz, the person said.

    The Times has reviewed receipts from Cash App, a mobile payments app, and Apple Pay that show payments from Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg to one of the women, and a payment from Mr. Greenberg to a second woman. The women told their friends that the payments were for sex with the two men, according to two people familiar with the conversations.

    In encounters during 2019 and 2020, Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg instructed the women to meet at certain times and places, often at hotels around Florida, and would tell them the amount of money they were willing to pay, according to the messages and interviews.

    One person said that the men also paid in cash, sometimes withdrawn from a hotel ATM.

    Some of the men and women took ecstasy, an illegal mood-alerting drug, before having sex, including Mr. Gaetz, two people familiar with the encounters said.

    In some cases, Mr. Gaetz asked women to help find others who might be interested in having sex with him and his friends, according to two people familiar with those conversations. Should anyone inquire about their relationships, one person said, Mr. Gaetz told the women to say that he had paid for hotel rooms and dinners as part of their dates.

  41. KG says

    consciousness razor@40,

    It was you who introduced this completely irrelevant link in order to satisfy your bizarre need to tell us all for the umpty-zillionth time that Biden is a conservative. We know. But the absurd nonsense at your link does rather suggest that the Political Compass placing of Biden as scarcely distinguishable from Trump might itself be questionable.

  42. rorschach says

    So Matt Gaetz, a guy so dumb and such a pathological liar that he looks like an advert for fetal alcohol syndrome, is implicated in paying minors for sex and god knows what else. Color me not surprised. Tucker fucking Carlson almost swallowed his tongue when he interviewed him the other day. Gaetz is Roger Stone style idiocy on steroids. Dunning Kruger doesn’t even cut it. I’m quite frankly in awe of people like him, wondering how this kind of thing can even happen.

  43. DLC says

    Calling Joe Biden a conservative is folly. Biden may not be your favorite flavor of politician, and you’re entitled to your opinions, but given the times he’s not doing too bad. No conservative, Paleo, Archeo, Arch or otherwise would do anything Joe Biden is doing or wants to do. He may not be the progressive you want. He may not be the progressive we need. But he’s the progressive we have.
    * * * * *
    Getting back to the topic at hand — Gaetz is lacking in wisdom, vision, foresight and moral character. Aside from that, he’s … oh let’s face it, he’s a Visigoth* whose passing resemblance to Butt-Head is remarkable. Except I think Beavis’ pal would probably do a better job as a member of the House of Representatives. (* I apologize to Visigoths for insulting them.)

  44. KG says

    I’d say his long record as senator and VP (on the invasion of Iraq and other foreign policy issues, racial issues, abortion, gay marriage, crime, corporate power, bailing out the banks without enforcing significant reform, health policy…) marks him as a conservative.Certainly he’s shifted on some of these in line with public opinion, and his record as President so far suggests some further pragmatic shift to the left; as I suggested before he was inaugurated, he and Harris were likely to do this if they thought it would pay electoral dividends. But he’d still fit happily into a lot of European centre-right parties. However, since most of those called “conservatives” in the USA are now Trumpoid proto-fascists, I’m happy to agree he’s not a conservative in that sense,

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