Matt Gaetz makes six-figure ad buy targeting CNN amid sex trafficking allegations
Embattled Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) announced a six-figure ad buy on Wednesday that will target CNN and and “fight back” against sex trafficking allegations being investigated by the Justice Department, according to his campaign.
The 30-second television ad will be broadcast on select cable networks both in his congressional district and nationally. Gaetz’s campaign said the effort would “fight back against a multiweek fake news cycle against him,” Politico reported.
“Now we see what’s really behind all of this: Democratic Party and media-driven smears aimed at taking out a Congressman of the United States,” a campaign spokesperson said in a statement to Politico.
The ad includes footage by the far-right activist group Project Veritas that shows a man identified as a CNN employee talking about news coverage of Gaetz, Politico reported. Project Veritas is known for publishing undercover sting footage that has been deceptively edited to reflect badly on organizations and people it disagrees with.
Gaetz is under investigation by the Justice Department over allegations that he had sex with and traveled with a minor. The House Ethics Committee has also opened an investigation into Gaetz for allegations of illicit drug use and showing nude photos of young women to fellow lawmakers while on the House floor.
Gaetz has vehemently denied all of the allegations.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that Gaetz had sent $900 to an accused sex trafficker who then sent the same amount of money to multiple teenage girls. The man Gaetz paid, former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg, has reportedly agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department and has been providing investigators with information since last year.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) became the first GOP lawmaker to call for Gaetz’s resignation last week, writing in a short tweet, “Matt Gaetz needs to resign.”
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