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Matt Gaetz is using sex-trafficking allegations to raise money, asking for donations to 'fight back against the fake news'

Business Insider logo Business Insider 4/7/2021 acollman@businessinsider.com (Ashley Collman)
Matt Gaetz wearing a suit and tie: Rep. Matt Gaetz. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images © Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Rep. Matt Gaetz. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • The Justice Department is investigating whether Rep. Matt Gaetz violated sex-trafficking laws.
  • On Tuesday, the GOP representative mentioned the investigation in a fundraising email.
  • He told supporters: "The Swamp is out to drown me with false charges."
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is trying to capitalize on the sex-trafficking investigation into him by complaining about the inquiry to raise money.

Last week, The New York Times reported that the GOP representative was facing an investigation into whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her travel, which could have violated federal sex-trafficking laws.

Gaetz has confirmed the existence of the DOJ investigation but has denied the allegations, giving several interviews in which he said the accusations were part of an extortion attempt. One of the men Gaetz accused of extortion, a former federal prosecutor, said Gaetz was just trying to distract from the investigation into his personal life.

On Tuesday, Gaetz mentioned the scandal in an attempt to rile up his supporters to donate to his campaign.

"The far-left New York Times has been publishing salacious allegations against me in an attempt to end my career fighting for the forgotten men and women of this country," Gaetz wrote in the email obtained by Talking Points Memo.

Gaetz went on to say the "mainstream media is publishing lies to try to take me down" while accusing it of ignoring scandals facing prominent Democrats, such as Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's handling of nursing-home deaths in New York during the state's initial coronavirus outbreak.

"It is a shame that the Left tries to drag my dating life into their political attacks, but it's no surprise - when your ideas suck, you have to stoop this low," the Gaetz email said.

"The Swamp is out to drown me with false charges, but I'm not giving up."

The email includes a button users can click to donate, which asks supporters to "fight back against the fake news."

Gaetz has said he will not resign from Congress over the investigation. Despite Gaetz's being one of former President Donald Trump strongest supporters, no one in Trumpworld has come to Gaetz's defense during the scandal.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Gaetz tried and failed to obtain a preemptive pardon from Trump before Trump left office, for any crimes he might later be convicted of.

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