After Rep. Matt Gaetz Files Ethics Complaint Against Pelosi, Florida Dems File Complaint Accusing Him of Grave Misconduct

Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz on Wednesday tweeted photographs of an ethics complaint he filed against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she publicly destroyed a copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address following his speech Tuesday night. Thursday, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party of Florida filed a complaint against Gaetz for "grave misconduct."

News of the suit against Gaetz was tweeted by activist Scott Dworkin who, in an echo of Gaetz's tweet, referred to it as breaking news.

"Breaking: The Miami-Dade Democratic Party just filed a Florida bar complaint on GOP @RepMattGaetz for 'grave misconduct.'

Verifying Dworkin's announcement, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party tweeted, "Yes we did."

According to a statement, the complaint was sent to the Florida Bar Association via mail.

"In so doing, Miami-Dade Democratic Party has taken action to hold one of President Trump's top defenders accountable for violating legal ethics by risking American's national security to 'grandstand' in Congress," the statement read.

matt gaetz
The Miami-Dade Democratic Party in Florida filed a complaint with the Florida Bar against Republican Representative Matt Gaetz on Thursday, the day after Gaetz filed an ethics complaint against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Alex Wong/Getty

The statement cites an instance in October 2019 when Gaetz and other Republicans entered the closed-door deposition of Pentagon official Laura Cooper during the impeachment proceedings against Trump. After demanding that Democrats hold open hearings, Gaetz and his colleagues remained in the meeting room for hours, eventually ordering pizza.

Gaetz also attempted to sit in on the deposition of former National Security Council member Fiona Hill in October 2019 but was asked to leave because he did not belong to the committee in charge of receiving Hill's testimony.

In the complaint, a copy of which was sent to Newsweek by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, Gaetz's acts were described as "improper, unprofessional and unethical and were meant only to feed Gaetz's unjustifiable large ego and penchant for grandstanding."

"Impeachment proceedings are a legal process leading to a trial, and therefore covered by the Florida bar's rules of conduct," wrote Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Steve Simeonidis in the statement. "But Republican Attorney General Bill Barr isn't going to hold a member of his own party responsible. So we must appeal to our state's institutions to restrain this rogue lawyer who has obstructed the impeachment process twice, and generally treats the powers of his elected office like a personal plaything."

Gaetz revealed his complaint against Pelosi by saying the House Speaker "must be held accountable" for her actions.

"BREAKING: I'm filing an ethics complaint against @SpeakerPelosi for destroying @realDonaldTrump State of the Union speech," Gaetz tweeted Wednesday. "Her conduct was beneath the dignity of the House, and a potential violation of law (18 USC 2071). Nobody is above the law. She must be held accountable."

Gaetz's complaint against Pelosi alleges that Pelosi's act of destroying her copy of Trump's speech was "deeply offensive" and "certainly warrants censure."

"It is hard to overlook the symbolism of such a gesture — the sense that Speaker Pelosi was utterly dismissive of the President's achievements, and, more importantly, the achievements of the American people," Gaetz's complaint read in part.

Gaetz also cited a section of the United States Code (USC) which lists the mutilation, obliteration or destruction of documents filed with a public officer as punishable by either fine or imprisonment for up to three years.

"There is no question that Speaker Pelosi 'mutilated, obliterated, or destroyed' the copy of the President's address provided to her at the beginning of the evening," Gaetz wrote.

Pelosi told reporters Tuesday she tore up her copy of the speech "because it was the courteous thing to do, considering the alternative."

Updated 02/06/20 at 7:20 p.m. EST: This story has been updated to include information from the complaint filed against Gaetz by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.

After Rep. Matt Gaetz Files Ethics Complaint Against Pelosi, Florida Dems File Complaint Accusing Him of Grave Misconduct | Politics