Matt Gaetz Commits One Or Twelve Ethical Ooopsies, NBD
Matt Gaetz isn't really a details man. He's not going to spend a lot of time on the finer points of so-called "policy" like some egghead academic. If it pisses the liberals off, it's a win. And seen in that light, funneling tens of thousand of taxpayer dollars to a racist-adjacent speechwriter in violation of House ethics rules is actually kind of a victory. Because if you are shocked and appalled in your little, liberal heart, then Matty must be winning, right?
Darren Beattie, a former Duke instructor who endeared himself to Trumpland by correctly predicting his victory in 2016, was hired by the White House as a speech writer in 2017. He was unhired in 2018 after attending a conference at the H.L. Mencken Club and giving a talk with noted White Identity jackass Peter Brimelow, the founder of nativist hate site Vdare, after which Congressman Gaetz promptly announced his intention to bring Beattie onto his team. Not just to troll the libs, mind you, but for his valuable insights and sparkling conversation.
The system can tolerate smart attractive talented effective people on the left (though thanks to bio Leninism they’… https://t.co/SSiz3fZxgU— Darren J. Beattie 🌐 (@Darren J. Beattie 🌐)1594298809.0
The Gaetz campaign was perfectly free to hire Beattie to pump out trenchant commentary, of course. But as Politico reports, that's not what happened. Poring over Gaetz's House financial disclosures — i.e. how he spent taxpayer dollars — reporters Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan found 14 payments of $2,000 each to a Wyoming LLC known as Presidential Communications and Strategies. The checks went to an apartment in Arlington, Virginia, to pay Beattie for his magnificent speech writing assistance. The problem is that "speech writing" is not an acceptable use of taxpayer dollars under House ethics rules.
And speaking of ethics rules, there's another pesky one on the books about representatives and their families taking gifts from constituents. Gifts like the installation of a broadcast studio in the basement of a certain north Florida congressman's father's house so his son can barf nonsense out to Fox viewers on the regular. Because if Matt Gaetz is going to be a GOP superstar, it sure as hell isn't going to be for passing any actual legislation. Or as Politico puts it, Gaetz is part of a "new breed of Republican elected officials in the Trump era" who are blessed with a "flair for publicity," but don't concern themselves overly with the dull business of hashing out actual legislation.
If we have understood this convoluted arrangement correctly, an unidentified Florida contractor installed the studio gratis, which would seem to run afoul of the $50 gift limit. And now taxpayers fork over $100 per month to rent the cameras and equipment from said company, which also takes an undisclosed "fee" every time Gaetz does a TV hit. And this is all fine because IOKYAR.
Gaetz's office refused to answer questions about Beattie or the studio for weeks, but told Politico on Friday that these arrangements had been pre-cleared with "the necessary House authorities." Nonetheless, "a second review by the Finance Office determined that the services could not be contracted for in exactly that fashion, and our office is currently working through the best way to proceed with both Finance and the House Ethics Committee."
"This is nothing more than a glorified clerical error," huffed Gaetz's spox Jillian Lane Wyant. "And while it is baffling that Politico should find this newsworthy – it is disappointing Politico plots to demean individuals who've made an innocent clerical mistake and are working to correct it." She did not explain how one could innocently incorporate an LLC in Wyoming under a generic moniker and funnel 14 payments to it through a congressional office, rather than a campaign account. Nor did she elaborate on the precise wording Gaetz's office used to get this purported Ethics signoff on the donated television studio.
We could probably work it out ourselves, if our brains hadn't been degraded by so many generations of biological Leninism. Hey, quit making that wanking motion, you'll sprain your wrist!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.