New PAC runs ad ripping Gaetz for ‘close friendship’ with sex trafficking convict

The Florida Patriots PAC is running a new ad in Florida criticizing Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) for his “close friendship” with a man who has been convicted of sex trafficking.

“2017. Congressman Matt Gaetz forms a close friendship with future convicted sex trafficker Joel Greenberg,” a narrator says in the ad, first reported by Punchbowl News.

The video showed photos of Gaetz and Greenberg, including at the White House.

“Gaetz allegedly grooms Greenberg for higher political office, then makes payments to him. Greenberg reportedly uses a sugar daddy app to find college girls and pays for sex on Congressman Gaetz’s behalf,” the ad continues. “That’s a close friendship with the real Matt Gaetz.”

The Hill has reached out to Gaetz’s campaign for comment.

Greenberg, a former tax collector, was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2022 after he pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor. He previously told investigators that he saw the Republican lawmaker having sex with a 17-year-old girl.

His attorney confirmed to The Hill in February that Greenberg would be cooperating with a House Ethics Committee investigation into the alleged sexual encounter between Gaetz and the minor.

In 2023, the Department of Justice decided not to charge Gaetz in its sex-trafficking investigation. The probe was part of a larger investigation into Greenberg, but the Gaetz portion of the case hit a roadblock over concerns of credibility of two witnesses, including Greenberg.

The House Ethics panel said last month that its long-running investigation into Gaetz would now include whether the lawmaker engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use, accepted improper gifts, and sought to obstruct the government from investigating, The Associated Press reported.

Gaetz has denied all the allegations before the committee.

Punchbowl noted that it’s not known who is behind the PAC running the new advertisement, but it has released positive messaging about Aaron Dimmock, who is challenging Gaetz in his Republican primary next month.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.