Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has been caught breaking House ethics rules by funneling taxpayer money to a private speech-writing consultant who also happens to be a scandal-plagued former aide to President Donald Trump.
Politico reports that Gaetz's office improperly sent $28,000 in taxpayer money to a limited liability corporation linked to Darren Beattie, a Trump aide who was ousted in 2018 after it was revealed he spoke at a conference featuring several prominent white nationalists.
Politico notes that "House rules explicitly prohibit spending taxpayer dollars on speech-writing consultants," although Gaetz's office tells the publication that this was the result of a "clerical error" that it is working to correct.
In an additional potential violation, Politico found that Gaetz has built a taxpayer-funded television studio in his father's house that he uses for television appearances.
"Taxpayers foot the bill to rent the television camera, and the private company that built the studio -- which Gaetz refuses to identify -- takes a fee each time he appears on air," Politico writes. "It’s unclear how much it cost the private company to construct the studio... This may run afoul of the House gift rule, which prohibits any lawmaker, aide, and their family members from accepting gifts worth more than $50."
Gaetz is claiming that the TV studio was approved by the House Ethics Committee, although he declined to provide any documentation to back up this claim.