Scandal-tainted Gaetz pours money into ads declaring himself innocent

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GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz is relying on dirty trickster and serial hoaxster James O'Keefe to defend himself against sex trafficking allegations.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is attempting to counteract the negative publicity from his involvement in an ongoing federal sex trafficking investigation by reportedly spending "hundreds of thousands" on new campaign ads.

Gaetz is under investigation by federal authorities who are probing the details of his alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, which possibly violated child sex trafficking laws. A friend of Gaetz, former Seminole County, Florida, tax collector Joel Greenberg, who was himself indicted on sex trafficking charges in June 2020, may have recently given prosecutors testimony unfavorable to Gaetz, according to reports.

WESH-TV reports that Gaetz is spending "six figures" on a campaign commercial airing in Florida and on national TV in response to the controversy. AdImpact, an advertising tracking firm, says that Gaetz's ads are currently airing in Washington, D.C., and in the Florida cities of Pensacola and Panama City.

Gaetz posted the new ad to his Twitter account on Wednesday.

The video content featured in the as comes from a recent "sting" video from conservative dirty trickster and serial hoaxster James O'Keefe's Project Veritas.

In the video, Charlie Chester, identified as a "technical director" for CNN, says in an undercover video that Gaetz is a "problem" for the Democratic Party "because he's a conservative."

"So we're gonna keep running those stories to keep hurting him," Chester adds.

The ad contains no factual rebuttal to the allegations of sex trafficking against Gaetz, nor does it address his affiliation with indicted sex trafficker Greenberg.

Instead, the commercial echoes years of Donald Trump's attacks against CNN, a network he frequently derided as "fake news." Gaetz is one of the most prominent Trump backers in Congress and has often bashed the media for unfavorable news stories.

James O'Keefe and Project Veritas have also frequently attacked the media in their videos, which are infamous for both their deceptive edits and claims that have often fallen apart under closer examination.

O'Keefe in 2020 promoted false claims of voter fraud, attacking Democrats and assisting the campaign of Donald Trump. Earlier in 2020, he released videos with false allegations that New York City was inflating the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those videos were in the same spirit as past efforts from O'Keefe attacking the community organizing group ACORN, the Obama administration, and NPR, among many others.

In 2010, O'Keefe and members of his team were arrested after they attempted to set up a recording of phone calls in the office of then-Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). O'Keefe later pleaded guilty to entering federal property under false pretenses and was fined, sentenced to probation, and ordered to do community service.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.