Greedy Gaetz caught renting office from campaign donor using taxpayer funds

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz has spent nearly $200,000 in taxpayer funds renting an office from a longtime friend, adviser, campaign donor and legal client.⁣

Both men said in separate interviews that Gaetz paid below market rent for the space — although Gaetz later shifted, saying the rent was “at or below market rate.” But House rules explicitly state such arrangements are not allowed.⁣

The agreement between Gaetz and Collier Merrill, a Pensacola real estate developer and restaurateur, highlights how a decades-long relationship can become intertwined with a lawmaker’s congressional duties. On top of being Merrill’s tenant, Gaetz attended fundraisers at Merrill’s restaurants, sought his counsel on policy matters and tapped him as a validator for his work in Washington.⁣

The rental agreement was approved by the House’s Administrative Counsel. Gaetz, through a spokesman, said that he did not feel he needed to disclose his long relationship with Merrill to the House.

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