The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

A government watchdog group on Wednesday announced it had filed multiple complaints against Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, demanding an investigation into a lease agreement for congressional office space.

Politico reported last Friday that Gaetz rented office space in Florida for below market value from Collier Merrill — a Florida-based developer who Politico reported is a longtime friend and donor to Gaetz's campaign.


Gaetz admitted in a tweet that he both did not pay fair market value for the office space in his Pensacola-based district, and told Politico through a spokesperson that he felt he didn't need to disclose his relationship with Merrill.

However, the rental agreement violates House rules, which state that lawmakers must rent office space "at fair market value as the result of a bona fide, arms-length, marketplace transaction."

"The Lessor and Lessee certify that the parties are not relatives nor have had, or continue to have, a professional or legal relationship (except as a landlord and tenant)," House rules state.

Common Cause — a watchdog group that seeks to "rebuild trust in our government" — filed complaints with the Justice Department, the House Committee on House Administration, and the Office of Congressional Ethics.

"The complaints urge an investigation into whether both men violated the criminal law prohibition on concealment of material facts in filings or statements to the federal government, and whether Rep. Gaetz is violating House gift rules by paying less than market value for his office rent," Common Cause said in a statement linking to the complaints.

In the series of tweets on Friday right before Politico published its story, Gaetz baselessly accused the publication of being "shills" for Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican currently in hot water over selling off as much as $1.7 million in stock before the market collapsed over coronavirus fears. Gaetz criticized Burr for the stock sell-off.

Gaetz went on to claim he was simply helping save taxpayer money.

Common Cause says the situation deserves scrutiny and that Gaetz should be held accountable.

"Floridians expect and deserve elected officials who obey the laws on the books, including those laws they may find inconvenient," Anjenys Gonzalez-Eilert, the executive director of Common Cause Florida, said in a statement.

"This lease arrangement seems to represent exactly the type of relationship House rules were written to prevent and why Members of Congress and their landlords are required disclose any relationship beyond that of landlord and tenant."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Michael Flynn

Former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has made more than his fair share of disturbing, jaw-dropping remarks-- like telling the former guy he should impose martial law to hold a new election or suggesting a Myanmar-like coup at a QAnon conference in May. But he seemed to reach a new low when he joked about using a newly gifted assault rifle to carry out an assassination in the nation's capital.

"We were trying to come up with a rifle that we thought was appropriate for a general, so we went with an old-school Woodland camouflage...one of our top-quality guns," said Jason Parker, a gun company employee who gifted the weapon to Flynn.

Keep reading... Show less

Sean Hannity

Photo by Andrea Austria / Media Matters

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Fox News host Sean Hannity disclosed during his radio show on Friday that he had made peace with a fellow right-wing radio host whose content mill had warned that Hannity's "feverish support of the vaccine" against the novel coronavirus betrayed his conservative audience.

Keep reading... Show less
x

Close