Federal prosecutors investigating US Congressman Matt Gaetz for alleged sex trafficking and prostitution is also looking into whether he discussed running a fake candidate in a Florida Senate election to skew the results in his associate’s favor, according to The New York Times.
Investigators were told about a conversation Gaetz had with a prominent Florida lobbyist named Chris Dorworth about running a third party candidate to take votes away from Democrat Patricia Sigman and boosts his associate Jason Brodeur chances of winning.
A third-party candidate, Jestine Lannotti, did run in the race. Brodeur ultimately beat Sigman by more than 7,000 votes, more than Lannotti got.
Dorworth told The Times that he does not recall ever having a conversation with Gaetz about a third party candidate and that he has never met Lannotti.
“I never met the woman who did run,” Dorworth said. “Never spoke to her, communicated by any written device, gave her any money or anything else.”
It is not illegal to run a third party candidate. But, paying the individual to run is a violation of campaign finance laws, The Times noted.