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Gaetz’s Fundraising Cools Down As Sex Trafficking Investigation Heats Up

Gaetz’s Fundraising Cools Down As Sex Trafficking Investigation Heats Up

Matt Gaetz endorsed man accused of child sex trafficking

As Donald Trump’s hand-picked candidates are watching their fundraising efforts sag this financial quarter, another Trump favorite is also seeing his own coffers lagging behind where he should be at this point in his campaign, but it’s not due to the Trump Effect in this case.

The federal investigation into possible sex trafficking allegations against Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has shown a real impact where it counts the most to the Florida Congressman: his campaign coffers. In its latest financial disclosure filed on Monday, the Gaetz campaign reported raising $534,000 in the final three months of last year, showing a major drop from the $1.8 million he raised in the first three months of the year, fresh off the 2020 election and a boost from Trump. Overall, Gaetz’s fundraising has been gradually slowing down, dropping to $1.4 million in the second quarter and then to $527,000 in the third quarter.

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 11: U.S. House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) listens to opening statements during a markup hearing on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

While some political analysts say a dip in fundraising between election years isn’t uncommon, plenty of Gaetz’s GOP colleagues, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, saw a similar drop in fundraising from their earlier hauls. And a joint fundraising operation between Gaetz and Greene’s joint tour also reported bringing in only $19,000 in the final quarter of 2021, compared to the nearly $360,000 it raised in the second quarter.

The investigation into Gaetz’s alleged sex trafficking, which includes testimony from another close friend who had direct knowledge of Gaetz’s illegal activities, has also impacted his bank account as his legal bills have increased. Media reports indicate that from July 2020 through the end of December 2021, the Gaetz campaign reported spending nearly $200,000 on legal bills, minus $25,000 that was returned by a firm named Zuckerman Spaeder LLP two months after the Gaetz campaign paid that amount to the firm. In the first few months of 2021, as news of the investigation into Gaetz and his associates emerged, the campaign also spent more than $800,000 on strategic consulting by PR firm Logan Circle Group — but the campaign’s payments to the firm dropped to under $3,000 in the final three months of 2021.

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Earlier this month Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend, a one-time Capitol Hill staffer, testified in front of a federal grand jury that’s hearing evidence in the investigation, according to multiple sources. The ex-girlfriend, who the media is not naming, was one of the women allegedly on a 2018 trip to the Bahamas with Gaetz and others that prosecutors are investigating. She received immunity in exchange for her testimony.

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