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House Ethics Committee opens investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz

By BENJAMIN SIEGEL, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — The House Ethics Committee said Friday it would open a bipartisan investigation into the wide-ranging allegations against Rep. Matt Gaetz — an unexpected move given the open Justice Department inquiry into whether he violated sex trafficking laws and had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.

The inquiry will also review allegations of “sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor,” and other allegations DOJ is probing, according to a statement released by the committee chairman.

Gaetz, who has not been charged in connection with the probe, has denied any wrongdoing.

After it conducts its investigation, the committee can recommend action to the full House, including a reprimand, censure, or expulsion. The first two require a simple majority, but expulsion requires a two-thirds vote of the chamber.

The committee does not have jurisdiction over former members of Congress, so the investigation would be closed if Gaetz were to resign.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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