The news that the Department of Justice has ended its investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) Wednesday with no charges against him came as a surprise to some. Throughout his ordeal, Gaetz had repeatedly insisted he was innocent of any wrongdoing, and the Department of Justice has confirmed that the investigation has been concluded with no charges to be filed.
Some users on social media have criticized Merrick Garland and the DOJ for not doing more to can Gaetz:
The investigation into Gaetz and his onetime political ally Joel Greenberg had been intense. Prosecutors were looking into whether the two had paid underage girls and escorts or offered them gifts in exchange for sex. Earlier this year, Greenberg had entered a plea deal with prosecutors in which he admitted to having paid women and an underage girl to have sex with him and other men.
The news of the DOJ’s decision has been met with mixed reactions. Few Republicans had been willing to come to the defense of Gaetz and some had treated him like a pariah during the investigation, likely concerned about the potential implications for their own political futures.
The move by the DOJ has also renewed the partisan divisions surrounding Congressman Gaetz. While some will undoubtedly view the decision as a victory and a vindication of Gaetz’s innocence, others will view the result as yet another example of how the powerful and privileged can avoid accountability.