Rachel Maddow walks through bonkers Republican scandal that led to Matt Gaetz sex trafficking probe

"Do you have any idea how many things could go wrong all at once if you just elected the wrong guy tax collector?"

Published March 31, 2021 6:30AM (EDT)

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (Getty/Alex Wong)
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (Getty/Alex Wong)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story


MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said that she scrapped her Tuesday show to walk viewers through the bonkers scandal that led to the allegations about Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., being involved in a sexual relationship with an underage teen.

As far as it is understood now, it began with Josh Greenberg, a Seminole County Tax Collector who ousted a long-term incumbent tax collector in the county in 2016.

According to reports, Greenberg hired six people that were part of his wedding party in 2015.

"I am not sure that's how you are supposed to staff up the tax collector's office," Maddow confessed. "An investigation found that he issued $1.9 million in contracts from his office to people who were his own close friends and business partners. Again, this is the tax collector's office. A county audit found that for some reason, within months of taking office, he started spending public money for that office on guns and ammunition and body armor and drones. The tax collector's office in Seminole County, Florida, needs drones? OK."

By June 2017, after he'd been in office for several months, Greenberg said that all tax collector staff would begin carrying guns.

"He wanted them to wear their guns at work," Maddow explained. "To go along with their tax collector's office badges. This is like the office that collects license fees and stuff. This is not like some SWAT team agency with frontline Wyatt Earps out there defending the streets. But the guy elected to that office after hiring his groomsmen to come in and run the place buys all these guns and body armor and ammo and drones, tells everybody in the office they need to wear guns at work to go along with their badges? Why did he want that?"

At one point, he pulled someone over, claiming she was speeding, an odd claim given his office doesn't deal with anything involving traffic violations.

When someone filed to run against Greenberg, he arranged for someone to make a fake rape accusation. A collection of Proud Boys in the area then promoted the conspiracy all over the internet.

Maddow cited reports from The Orlando Sentinal, which detailed Greenberg's "frequent anti-Muslim social media posts and his posts posing with far-right white nationalist types. He ended up posting things online about his friendship with President Trump's longtime political advisor and convicted felon Roger Stone."

Then there was his relationship with Gaetz.

"Where things get rough for the Seminole county tax collector is June of last year," Maddow explained. Federal agents come to his house to arrest him for, among other things, allegedly stalking a local man who was going to run against him for a county tax collector.

So, "federal agents show up at his house last summer to arrest him on the stalking charges, and things get worse because what do they find when they come to arrest him at his house? I will read it from The Orlando Sentinel. 'The day he was indicted for stalking a little rival, Joel Greenberg had several stolen IDs in his work vehicle, a pair of fake IDs in his wallet and materials for making more in his office. Evidence he was regularly abusing his position to steal unwitting constituents' identities, according to federal authorities. Inside the tax collector's work vehicle, agents found his backpack, which held three licenses from Canada, Virginia and Florida belonging to Seminole County residents who recently obtained new Florida licenses. Employees told agents they had seen Greenberg taking surrendered licenses from the agency's shred basket prying to their destruction."

Prosecutors said that he was stealing the old IDs and turning them into IDs to use for himself. He had many of them for several states.

"Why do you need a whole bunch of fake identities? And why was he also, according to prosecutors, trying to figure out how to falsify concealed firearms permits, as well?" Maddow asked. "Do you have any idea how many things could go wrong all at once if you just elected the wrong guy tax collector of all things? Who knew what mischief could be made out of a single job like that?"

By August of 2020, when the investigators went through his computers and electronic devices, that's when they found evidence of sex trafficking. That's where the Matt Gaetz problem begins.

You can watch the video below via YouTube:

By Sarah K Burris

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Matt Gaetz Politics Rachel Maddow Raw Story Republicans Sex Trafficking