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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The campaign committee for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has enlisted a crew of prominent Trumpworld figures as he seeks re-election amid scandal and possible legal jeopardy, records reviewed by Axios show.

Why it matters: For a Republican in a party still dominated by the former president, little conduct could surpass fealty to Donald Trump in the minds of GOP voters. Newly released financial records show Gaetz, a steadfast ally of the former president, is leaning into that reputation amid scrutiny of his personal life.

What's new: The Gaetz campaign committee's second-quarter filing with the Federal Election Commission shows sizable payments to a number of Trumpworld luminaries.

  • Former Trump campaign adviser and surrogate Harlan Hill is by far Gaetz's largest vendor. His firm, the Logan Circle Group, was paid about $737,000 in Q2, itemized as "advertising" and "strategic campaign consulting."
  • Gaetz's third-largest vendor was a consulting firm affiliated with Kash Patel, a former Trump Pentagon aide. The campaign's $120,000 in fundraising consulting payments to the firm, Trishul LLC, listed a D.C. address owned by Patel.

That's not all.

  • Gaetz's campaign has paid $20,000 this year to a Florida consulting firm called Drake Ventures LLC, which is run by Trump operative Roger Stone. The Justice Department recently accused Stone and his wife of using the company as a vehicle to evade taxes.
  • The campaign also paid a little over $6,000 to a security company called Viking Executive Protection.
  • It's the Florida division of the Colorado Security Agency, which ran security at Trump campaign rallies. CSA's vice president of business development is the former security supervisor at Trump’s D.C. hotel.

What they're saying: Asked about Stone's and Patel's work for the campaign, Hill sent a statement he requested be printed in full.

  • "Four months into a fake scandal cooked up by a corporate media who should be — and will be — apologizing for their conduct towards Rep Gaetz, they are now ‘reporting’ on financial expenses incurred as a result of their own smear campaigns. If we were them, we’d be worried about our own financial liabilities having repeatedly libelled (sic) and lied.”

The big picture: Gaetz has employed that roster of Trump-adjacent companies and individuals while seeking re-election amid scrutiny of his ties to an admitted child sex trafficker.

  • The congressman's onetime associate, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, has pleaded guilty to six criminal counts and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
  • The investigation is said to be looking into Gaetz's conduct, as well as larger allegations of corruption in central Florida political circles.
  • Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and alleged that a former Justice Department official attempted to extort him and his father with baseless allegations of criminal conduct.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump sues National Archives, Jan. 6 committee to block records request

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the National Archives from releasing White House records to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, citing executive privilege.

Why it matters: It's the latest escalation in Trump's campaign to disrupt the committee's sweeping probe into the circumstances surrounding Jan. 6, including his actions and communications leading up to the Capitol attack.

FAA clears more planes after 5G fears

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it had approved nearly 80% of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports with new 5G services after fears of signal interference limited 5G rollout.

Why it matters: The FAA approvals will help provide more certainty after the agency raised fears that 5G signals could reduce the accuracy of certain equipment, known as radio altimeters, that helps planes land and take off in inclement weather.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton stock tanks on report of production halt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Peloton stock fell by as much as 25% on Thursday, following a CNBC report that the connected fitness company will temporarily halt production on its bikes and treadmills.

Why it matters: Peloton is viewed by many as a proxy for consumer behavior in the pandemic era, as its popularity surged when gyms closed and people wanted to exercise at home.