Editor's Note: This story has been updated to include information about the reported investigation.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is reportedly under investigation from the Justice Department on whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.
The New York Times reports investigators are probing whether Gaetz violated sex trafficking laws when he allegedly paid for the teenage woman to travel with him across state lines. No charges have been brought against Gaetz; neither the Justice Department or Gaetz’s office immediately responded to a request for comment.
Gaetz, 38, is a second-term congressman who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. Earlier Tuesday, Axios reported he is eyeing a job at Newsweek and may opt not to seek reelection. He makes regular appearances on Newsmax; he showed up on the channel at least three times in March.
News of his prospective departure from Congress also comes a week after an Armed Services hearing on extremism. Some Republicans, including Gaetz, questioned the need for the hearing, despite a large number of veterans and service members taking part in the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol.
"I would categorize this hearing as total nonsense," Gaetz said. "The House Armed Services Committee is engaged in a review of constitutionally protected expressions of our troops. How utterly weak of us."
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., the chair of the committee, called Gaetz a demagogue.
"The terrible thing is we have demagogues on both sides," Smith said during the hearing. "And sorry, Mr. Gaetz is the eBay example of the demagogue problem we have today."
Newsmax is a far-right media platform that has promoted the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was rigged against former President Donald Trump. This included unproven allegations that electronic voting machine company Smartmatic rigged voting machines to flip votes against Trump.
Earlier this month, Newsmax also sent an email encouraging readers to opt out of getting COVID-19 vaccines, urging them to buy a nutrition book instead.
-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.