Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s campaign committee has paid at least $20,000 to a company that the Department of Justice alleges has been used by GOP political operative Roger Stone and his wife to avoid paying taxes, campaign finance reports showed.
Gaetz’s campaign paid the company, Drake Ventures LLC, for “Strategic Campaign Consulting” between March and May, according to the committee’s quarterly Federal Election Commission filings, the newest of which came out Thursday.
That filing, which showed the campaign raising about $1.45 million and spending more than $1.9 million between April and June, also revealed more than $825,000 was spent on Logan Circle Group, the public relations firm Gaetz hired as news surfaced that he was embroiled in a federal sex-trafficking probe. Gaetz has not been criminally charged and denies all wrongdoing.
Gaetz’s campaign also paid $50,000 in legal fees during the quarter, half of which went to the law office of Marc Fernich, the defense attorney whose notable clients include late sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, convicted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and long-dead mob boss John Gotti.
The Gaetz campaign paid Stone’s company in four separate chunks of $5,000, the documents showed. The FEC filings list a Fort Lauderdale address for Drake Ventures that is associated with Stone, who lives nearby in the coastal Florida city.
The first of those installments came in late March, less than a week before The New York Times first reported that…