Things are going from worse to terrible for three-term U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, especially now that we know the feds are reportedly pouring through his iPhone looking for evidence in his underage sex scandal. Naturally, his campaign for reelection is in full panic mode, and new documents show just how much they’re freaking out.
The 38-year-old Florida Republican’s latest campaign finance report is quite the revealing document, detailing a public relations blitz dating back to even before he admitted he was under federal investigation.
Between January and March of this year, Gaetz has been nonstop fundraising during what is usually a slow period. He also spent and eye-popping $170K on a direct-mail campaign in an attempt to salvage his rapidly eroding image. $116K of that was spent in a single day–March 31–aka the day after the New York Times reported that the Justice Department was investigating his relationship with a 17-year-old girl and whether or not her paid for her to travel to him.
Another big detail from the documents shows Gaetz paid $5,000 to the sketchy Republican operative Roger Stone. Stone and his wife, meanwhile, are now being sued by the DOJ, which claims the couple failed to pay millions in taxes and used their company, Drake Ventures, to hide money.
We also already knew he’s made several donations to other Republican candidates, none of whom have returned the favor.
GOP lawmakers announced they are donating campaign funds given to them by Gaetz to charity.
Rep. John Katko of New York says he donated $4000 from Gaetz to a local charity. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania says he gave $2000 from Gaetz to a women’s shelter. And Rep. David Valadao of California says he plans to donate $4000 from Gaetz to a domestic abuse center.
Other spending on fundraising consultants and TV ads fighting back against the allegations against him have set Gaetz back several hundred thousand dollars. He clearly thinks he can buy his way out of this mess.
And then there are the legal fees, of which he’s racked up about $85K worth already, according to the Daily Beast.
Of course, he can certainly simplify things and ease up on all that spending if he ends up in jail.