Federal investigators are seeking to determine whether Rep. Matt Gaetz was provided travel and women in exchange for political favors as part of a broader probe, people familiar with the investigation tell CNN.
The investigation includes scrutiny of a trip to the Bahamas and whether women were paid to travel for sex with the Florida Republican congressman and others, a potential federal crime, according to the sources.
CNN has previously reported that investigators also have been examining allegations that Gaetz had sex with an underage girl who was 17 at the time and with other women who were provided drugs and money in violation of sex trafficking and prostitution laws.
Lawyers for Gaetz declined to comment.
CBS News, which first reported on the trip to the Bahamas, was told by a spokeswoman: “Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with an underage girl. What began with blaring headlines about ‘sex trafficking’ has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults.”
Investigators are considering Gaetz’s connections to several associates in Florida who may have benefited politically in return for providing the congressman with benefits including escorts, travel and campaign donations, according to the sources.
The investigation includes allegations from witnesses and other evidence that Gaetz may have used cash and drugs in his dealings with young women, CNN previously reported.
No charges have been brought against Gaetz.
The Gaetz investigation grew out of an examination of Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg, a former county tax collector in Florida. Greenberg was indicted last year on allegations of stalking, harassing a political opponent, wire fraud, creating fake IDs and sex trafficking charges. He has pleaded not guilty and has a court appearance scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Investigators believe Greenberg recruited multiple women online for sex and he introduced the women — who received payments — to Gaetz, the people familiar with the investigation said.
Gaetz has denied those allegations too. In a Washington Examiner op-ed this week, Gaetz said “I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.”