Matt Gaetz's legal woes could open the door for campaign finance violations

Matt Gaetz's legal woes could open the door for campaign finance violations
Rep. Matt Gaetz speaking s at an "An Address to Young Americans" event, hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona in June 2020, Gage Skidmore

While Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is at the center of a federal investigation into his alleged involvement with a teenage girl, he may be faced with another issue in the very near future.

According to the Brennan Center, Law professor Jennifer Taub's new book "Big Dirty Money" discusses the ins and outs of white-collar crimes. Although the material was written before reports began circulating about Gaetz's case, the publication highlights how it also explains the possible campaign finance violations Gaetz could also face.

The Republican lawmaker's campaign finance records were highlighted since he had already accepted donations from a number of large corporations including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Publix.

Gaetz took a short-lived stance against taking PAC money in the 2020 election stating in particularly colorful turn of phrase, "I've never turned tricks for Washington PACs, but as of today, I'm done picking up their money in the nightstand." Campaign finance records show that he said this after his campaign committee had already accepted PAC money from Boeing, Publix, and Lockheed Martin. In 2021, Gaetz has accepted PAC money from the National Association of Broadcasters.

The publication also notes how the Florida lawmaker has managed to spin the scandal for his own interest. There is also the looming possibility that some of Gaetz's campaign funds were put to personal use, which is certainly a violation of campaign finance laws.

Gaetz has been fundraising off of his blooming scandal, claiming his enemies are out to destroy him. He raised $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2021. Federal investigators have reportedly been looking at whether any of the millions of dollars flowing through Gaetz's campaign committee may have been used in any of the Greenberg-related crimes. If so, then this story might make its way into Duncan Hunter territory — where the California congressman got in criminal legal trouble for using campaign funds to pay for five affairs.

Even if Gaetz manages to sidestep charges in connection with the investigation, the publication notes that his situation should serve as a reminder to any lawmaker or potential politician: "If a candidate uses campaign funds to commit a crime, like say trafficking an underage girl, then he has succeeded in committing two crimes: the trafficking and the illegal personal use of campaign funds."

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