Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty
The outlet reports that the committee's investigators have begun re-examining allegations surrounding the controversial lawmaker, months after it deferred an investigation into 41-year-old Gaetz following a request from the Department of Justice, which was conducting its own investigation.
Ultimately, after a grand jury investigated whether the Florida Republican had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid her to travel with him, investigators recommended not moving forward with trafficking charges against the lawmaker.
According to Punchbowl, the Ethics Committee is now reexamining allegations against him, but hasn't yet decided whether it will move forward with a special investigative subcommittee, but if it does, the move would be publicly disclosed.
Gaetz’s office declined to comment, and requests for comment from members of the House Ethics Committee and Speaker Kevin McCarthy were not immediately returned.
The committee first announced it had begun an investigation into Gaetz in April 2021, saying in a statement, "The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt 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."
But in a January report, the committee said it "had not completed its investigation into this matter," and had "deferred consideration of the matter in response to a request from DOJ."
Gaetz, who assumed office in 2017, was reelected to the House in 2022.
News of the investigation into the Florida lawmaker first broke in March 2021. According to The New York Times, it was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under then-Attorney General Bill Barr.
Sources told NBC News at the time that Gaetz was being investigated for three separate alleged crimes: sex trafficking the 17-year-old; violating the Mann Act by taking a woman or women across state lines for prostitution; and obstruction of justice.
Gaetz denied any wrongdoing, previously insisting to multiple news outlets that the overarching case was "rooted in an extortion effort" against him.
The probe involving Gaetz reportedly spun out of another investigation, into Joel Greenberg, his friend and former GOP official from Seminole County, Florida.
Greenberg was indicted on a range of charges, including sex trafficking of a child, in 2020. In May, he pleaded guilty to multiple charges including sex trafficking a minor and was believed to be cooperating with authorities.
Greenberg and Gaetz have been photographed together in the past.
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Gaetz was allegedly among those who asked the Trump White House for a pardon, according to several witnesses who testified in the Jan. 6 hearings.
Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Gaetz had been seeking a pardon since early December 2020, saying he had requested a meeting with chief of staff Mark Meadows "about receiving a presidential pardon."
Hutchinson's testimony was backed up by several others in Trump's orbit, including former White House senior advisor Eric Herschmann, who said: "The pardon that [Gaetz] was discussing, requesting, was as broad as you could describe, from... the beginning of time up until today, for any and all things."