As bad as the unfolding scandal surrounding Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz already is — filled with accusations of sexually trafficking underage girls and being paid off by lobbyists with hookers — a new wrinkle has arisen in the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice.
The New York Times is reporting that Gaetz is also suspected of trying to rig an election in his home state:
“Investigators have also been told of a conversation where Mr. Gaetz and a prominent Florida lobbyist discussed arranging a sham candidate in a State Senate race last year to siphon votes from an ally’s opponent, according to two people familiar with the investigation.”
Adding to Gaetz’s woes is the revelation which broke Thursday that his alleged co-conspirator, Joel Greenberg, is now cooperating with federal investigators and telling everything he knows about crimes he and Gaetz may have committed over the years.
The new suggestion of election rigging is especially troubling, especially for other Republicans in the Sunshine State such as current Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is facing an uncertain bid for reelection next year and is also accused of letting wealthy contributors from outside Florida jump the line and receive COVID-19 vaccinations long before they were eligible.
Gaetz, however, is the person most in the crosshairs of federal authorities and could be looking at decades in federal prison if it can be proven that he committed the crimes he’s suspected of being a part of over the past few years.
In case you were wondering, the federal penalty for election rigging is five years. That’s peanuts compared to the sentence Gaetz is facing if he’s convicted of trafficking a minor. The penalty for that is a life term in prison.
Matt had better be busy getting things in order. As of now, it looks like his freedom is temporary and fleeting.