If a party host requires you to hand over your cellphone before entering in order to stop anyone from documenting what’s about to take place, it’s not usually a sign of an imminent wholesome evening. But, according to women who say they frequently partied with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) over the past two years, that was just part of the normal routine.
Two women have spoken out about their experiences of the parties, which they say were typically packed with Republican officials. Speaking to CNN, they described evenings fueled by Champagne, drugs, and sex—sometimes followed by digital payments being wired to them the morning after.
CNN reports the anonymous women said Gaetz was a familiar face at the parties. One of them described him as behaving like a “frat type of party boy” at the soirees—and claimed to have seen him popping mystery pills more than once. The women said some of the events were raging house parties inside gated communities, while others took place in quieter settings, such as private hotel suites at the end of boozy political conferences.
“No one ever wants to stop partying, stop drinking, once you’ve had a few glasses of Champagne in you,” said one of the women. They also claim that cocaine and ecstasy were routinely on offer at the events.
The disclosures from the women will heighten scrutiny on Gaetz, who is facing a Justice Department probe into allegations of sex-trafficking and prostitution—including a claim that Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a woman that began when she was 17 years old. Federal investigators are looking at allegations that Gaetz might have used digital payments to reward some of the women in his orbit.
One of the woman who spoke to CNN said she never received money directly from Gaetz, but did say she was sent money—sometimes in return for sex—from the congressman’s friend, accused sex-trafficker Joel Greenberg. The Daily Beast reported last week that, in 2018, Gaetz sent $900 to Greenberg, who then sent three young women various sums of cash that amounted in total to $900 via the Venmo app.
That money was described as being for “Tuition” and “School.”
Both of the women partially defended Gaetz, telling CNN that they never saw anyone at the parties who appeared to be underage, and both also said they haven’t spoken to federal investigators. However, The New York Times reported Tuesday that Greenberg has been cooperating with the feds to discuss the congressman’s conduct.
Gaetz has denied ever paying for sex, and has accused the media of trying to cast a bad light on his financial generosity with women. “Providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you’re dating who are of legal age is not a crime,” the congressman told Fox News last month.
According to CNN, Gaetz didn’t respond to the claims from the two women, but complained about the network’s use of anonymous sources.
Gaetz has not been charged with a crime.