WASHINGTON – The House Ethics Committee announced an investigation Friday into Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz as federal prosecutors probing sex trafficking allegations against him are also scrutinizing the actions of some of his political allies and fellow Florida Republicans as part of a broader public corruption inquiry.
Federal agents have, in recent months, been examining Gaetz’s connections to several other influential Florida political figures.
They include Florida state senator Jason Brodeur; Halsey Beshears, the state’s former top business regulator; Chris Dorworth, a lobbyist who had served in the state House of Representatives; and Jason Pirozzolo, a hand surgeon and Gaetz campaign donor who served on the board of the Orlando Airport Authority, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
Brodeur and Beshears did not respond to repeated calls seeking comment. An attorney for Pirozzolo also did not respond to a request for comment. Dorworth didn't comment.
The FBI’s examination of a wide range of topics involving Gaetz and his associates exemplifies the breadth of the investigation.
Gaetz, who has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, has retained two prominent New York attorneys while facing a Justice Department investigation into sex trafficking allegations involving underage girls.
The scrutiny includes an examination of a trip that Gaetz and Pirozzolo took to the Bahamas with a group of women, and federal agents are looking into whether they were paid or received gifts to have sex with the men, the person said. CBS News first reported details of the trip.
The FBI has also started questioning people about that trip and others that Gaetz and his associates took with women, and agents are examining whether any of the women were later hired into government positions as political favors, the person said.