Matt Gaetz advocated drug-testing recipients of public assistance, but a new report alleges the lawmaker used ecstasy

Matt Gaetz
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  • The New York Times reported that an investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz involves payments to women.

  • Two sources told The Times that Gaetz had used ecstasy before sexual encounters with the women.

  • Gaetz has advocated requiring recipients of public assistance to pass a drug test.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Related: Gov. Cuomo apologizes amid sexual harassment scandal

A New York Times report about a Justice Department investigation into GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida includes an allegation that the lawmaker took the drug ecstasy before sexual encounters.

The Times report, published Thursday, described several unnamed sources as saying Gaetz had paid women for sex. Two sources told The Times that some of the people involved, including Gaetz, had used ecstasy beforehand.

Gaetz has denied ever paying for sex and has said that all the allegations against him are false.

During his time in Florida's Legislature, Gaetz advocated requiring recipients of public assistance to pass a drug test.

"I strongly support drug-testing for welfare recipients," Gaetz said in a tweet in March 2011, when he was in Florida's House of Representatives. "Applying for welfare is voluntary, if you don't want to get tested don't apply."

In May 2011, Florida's Legislature passed a bill to require state welfare applicants to undergo and pass a drug test to be eligible to receive benefits. Gaetz supported the bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.

In October 2011, a federal judge blocked the bill, and it was eventually ruled unconstitutional because it violated the ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. After appeals, the law was dismissed.

Gaetz was elected to Congress in 2016 and became known as a loyal ally of President Donald Trump.

The Times' sources said that Gaetz had used ecstasy in 2019 or 2020. Members of Congress are not required to undergo drug testing, though some have tried to change that.

The Times report came on the heels of an explosive report on Tuesday that said the Justice Department was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and violated federal sex-trafficking laws. Gaetz denied the allegations, and the story has since taken many turns.

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