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House ethics probe into Rep. Matt Gaetz picks up steam with new witnesses contacted: Sources

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(WASHINGTON) — The reopened House ethics probe into Rep. Matt Gaetz continues to ramp up, as the committee in recent weeks has contacted multiple new witnesses as part of its ongoing investigation into the Florida congressman, sources tell ABC News.

In recent days, the Republican-led House Ethics Committee has reached out to multiple new witnesses, expanding its contact with individuals who have ties to the initial Justice Department investigation into Gaetz, said sources, who told ABC News that committee investigators have begun conducting interviews.

Sources say in recent days, in addition to focusing on possible lobbying violations by Gaetz, the Ethics Committee has reached out to witnesses who were questioned as part of the Justice Department’s sex trafficking investigation into the Florida congressman.

The House probe into Gaetz’s conduct was reopened last July after the Ethics Committee initially deferred its investigation at the request of the Justice Department, which conducted its own years-long probe that concluded without charging Gaetz in 2023.

Responding to the new developments, Gaetz told ABC News in a statement, “It’s great to see the Ethics Committee has interests beyond trading stocks. They seem to be quite the unusual whales.”

Members of the Ethics Committee declined to comment to ABC News regarding the probe.

Fritz Scheller, the attorney for Joel Greenberg, a one-time close friend of Gaetz who was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges ranging from wire fraud to sex trafficking a minor, told ABC News that he would not “confirm or deny” being in contact with the House Ethics Committee.

Gaetz, when the probe was reopened in July, blasted the Ethic Committee for “trying to weaponize their process.”

“I was cleared by the Department of Justice and the FBI, who looked into my life for years,” Gaetz said at the time. “Now, I believe that the House Ethics Committee is trying to weaponize their process against me because every once in a while up here I’m a rabble-rouser and I don’t go along to get along. And right now, I’m forcing this body to have deal with our debt and our spending.”

“I think all the days in Congress, there are probably in the seven years I’ve been in Congress, there have only been tens of days when I haven’t been under one form of ethics investigation or another,” Gaetz said. “I’ve never been found to have violated any ethical laws. I won’t be found to have violated them in this matter either.”

The news comes weeks after Rep. George Santos was voted out of Congress following the release of a scathing report by the Ethics Committee that alleged the New York congressman used the prestige of political office to defraud victims of tens of thousands of dollars.

Since the Santos probe concluded, the Ethics Committee has refocused its efforts toward Gaetz, sources said, with the committee expecting to schedule more interviews and receive documents related to the probe in the coming weeks.

Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing. The Justice Department, following a yearslong sex-trafficking probe into the Florida congressman, informed Gaetz last February that it would not bring charges against him.

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