TALLAHASSEE, Fla — National scrutiny surrounding Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz isn't slowing down as yet another call for his resignation emerges – this time from the Florida Democratic Party.
The Republican congressman is at the center of a federal probe, which the New York Times reports is looking into his possible involvement with women who may have been recruited for sex and given cash payments.
The national outlet was also the first to share the Department of Justice was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel with him.
They're allegations that the congressman has vehemently denied on several occasions. He claims he and his family are being extorted.
According to Gaetz's account, his father received a text demanding a meeting where a second demand was allegedly made for $25 million in exchange for making “horrible sex trafficking allegations” against him “go away."
The congressman says his family took the information to the FBI and Department of Justice, which in return asked his father to wear a wire. Gaetz claims what was recorded on that wire would prove his innocence and called for the FBI and DOJ to release them in March.
But while Gaetz is claiming his innocence and the investigations into his alleged crimes continue, the Florida Democratic Party doesn't want to waste any time.
“Disgraced Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz must resign immediately. Even as we await the results of the investigation into his child sex trafficking, we know enough details to know the Congressman can no longer properly govern and be trusted to represent the best interests of his constituents," the party wrote in a statement.
The FDP says Gaetz has created a "toxic" and "inappropriate" work environment for women throughout his career and called him "not fit to lead."
As of Monday, Gaetz has not been charged with any crimes.
The call from the state Democratic party comes as few Republicans have been speaking up in Gaetz's defense, though, some like controversial Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have noted their support on Twitter.
The FDP's calls for action don't stop at wanting Gaetz to relinquish his place in Congress, they want to hear from Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio on Gaetz's alleged behavior.
“Additionally, it is past time for Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio to comment on their colleague’s despicable behavior— or are they okay with fellow Republicans trafficking underage women and showing nude photos of women on the House floor? Their silence speaks volumes,” the FDP wrote.
A petition has also been launched to garner support for Gaetz's resignation. In an op-ed piece that appeared Monday in the Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet, the Florida Republican has already noted he has no plans to do such on his own.
Gaetz denied accusations that he “slept with” an underage girl. He also suggested he’s being targeted by political foes because he “loathes the swamp.”
"And no, I am absolutely not resigning," Gaetz wrote in the Washington Examiner.
So far, Gaetz has received almost no public support from other congressional Republicans.
10 Tampa Bay has reached out to Gaetz, Rubio and Scott's offices for comment. This story will be updated as we hear back.
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