The House Ethics Committee on Friday said it launched an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz, the embattled Florida Republican who is facing a federal sex-trafficking investigation.
The ethics probe piles yet more scrutiny on Gaetz, who has vigorously denied wrongdoing since The New York Times first reported last week that federal investigators are looking into whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her travels with him.
One Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, has already called on Gaetz to resign. Gaetz, who has not been charged with a crime, declared this week he is “absolutely not resigning” from Congress.
In a statement announcing the investigation into Gaetz, the ethics committee said it is aware of public allegations that the GOP lawmaker “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.”
A separate statement said the panel was aware of allegations that Reed “may have engaged in sexual misconduct, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct.”
Last month, Reed apologized to a woman who accused him of rubbing her back and unhooking her bra at a Minneapolis bar in 2017. Reed said he would not seek reelection in 2022.
The two statements from the ethics committee, revealing apparently separate probes into Gaetz and Reed, both noted that an investigation “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”
The press releases were attributed to Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and ranking member Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.
“Once again, the office will reiterate, these allegations are blatantly false and have not been validated by a single human being willing to put their name behind them,” Gaetz’s office said in a statement to CNBC.
Reed’s office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment, but said in a statement to Politico: “We have already publicly addressed this situation and consistent with that are cooperating with the House Ethics Committee to bring this matter to conclusion.”
This report first appeared on CNBC.