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House Ethics panel opens investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz as he faces sex-trafficking allegation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) speaks at "Women for American First" event in Doral, Fla., on Friday, April 9, 2021. The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation of Rep. Gaetz, citing reports of sexual and other misconduct by the Florida Republican. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
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The House Ethics committee on Friday said it would launch an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who has been accused of sexual misconduct, among a litany of other things. The Justice Department is investigating Gaetz for an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

In a statement Friday, the committee chairman said they were aware of allegations that Gaetz “may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct.”

Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes and has denied the allegations, claiming he and his family are the victims of an extortion plot.

President Biden’s first budget request to Congress, unveiled Friday, reflects far different priorities than his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. Biden’s blueprint seeks $1.5 trillion in federal spending, with major increases for education, health and the environment, while keeping defense spending essentially flat.

Meanwhile, Biden announced a bipartisan commission Friday to study possible changes to the Supreme Court, fulfilling a campaign promise prompted by pressure from liberal groups to expand the number of justices.

Here’s what to know:

  • Biden will meet Monday at the White House with congressional Republicans and Democrats as he makes the case for his ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.
  • The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) who has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former lobbyist.
  • Former House speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) in a new memoir derides today’s Republican Party as unrecognizable to traditional conservatives like himself.
  • The Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), on Friday announced its support for the reelection of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), whom Trump has vowed to defeat.
  • A Florida politician at the center of an investigation into Gaetz is negotiating with prosecutors to resolve his own sex-trafficking charges, a potentially ominous sign for Gaetz.