Representative Matt Gaetz confirmed that he is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) over alleged sexual misconduct.
The New York Times was the first media outlet to report on the allegations, although the original story only cited three anonymous sources.
Gaetz later told Axios, “The allegations against me are as searing as they are false, I believe that there are people at the Department of Justice who are trying to criminalize my sexual conduct, you know when I was a single guy.”
The Republican lawmaker said he believes that the investigation against him is an “organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name.”
While Gaetz has not named which DOJ official he believes is responsible for the extortion plot, he said former DOJ official David McGee may be involved.
However, McGee has since said that Gaetz’s claim is “completely, totally false.”
On Tuesday, during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Gaetz claimed that his family has been cooperating with the investigation and said, “I know that there was a demand for money in exchange for a commitment that he [the former DOJ official] could make this investigation go away.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News on Wednesday that Gaetz could lose his seat on the House Armed Services and Judiciary committees if the allegations are proven to be true.