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Gaetz targeted with billboard by anti-Trump PAC

A Maryland-based political action committee has placed a billboard in Pensacola targeting Northwest Florida congressman Matt Gaetz — the first in a series of billboards the group plans to launch against Republican politicians who support President Donald Trump.


“Rep. Matt Gaetz,” reads the billboard, which went up Tuesday near the intersection of West Navy Boulevard and Cahn Street in Pensacola. “How many DUIs have you had? The voters deserve to know.”

A Maryland-based PAC has unveiled a billboard in Pensacola targeting Rep. Matt Gaetz. (Derek Cosson/The Pulse)

Gaetz, then 26, was arrested in Fort Walton Beach in 2008 and charged with driving under the influence. The charge was later dropped, and despite the fact that Gaetz refused both field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, his license wasn’t suspended as dictated by Florida law. The Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputy who arrested Gaetz was later forced to resign after an internal affairs investigation into an unrelated DUI arrest.

The Gaetz billboard is the first in what the PAC’s founder Claude Taylor — a former Clinton White House staffer with some 203,000 followers on Twitter — says is a larger campaign targeting at least a half dozen congressional Republicans, including Reps. Steve King, Darrell Issa, Dana Rohrbacher, Jim Jordan, and Devin Nunes.

According to records, the 2008 incident is Gaetz’s only DUI arrest in Florida, though he has received at least 16 traffic tickets since 1999. Nonetheless, Taylor has called on Gaetz to hold a press conference to disclose how many times he’s been stopped or arrested for DUI.

“At Mad Dog PAC we aim to kick as many prominent pro Trump House Republicans in the nuts as possible,” Taylor wrote on Twitter. As of Wednesday evening, Taylor’s tweet unveiling the Gaetz billboard had been retweeted more than 2,000 times.

The PAC raised money for the billboard through Democratic fundraising site ActBlue as well as crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, where Taylor’s Gaetz-specific campaign raised some $6,200 in just over 16 hours.

The billboard will remain up “for several months,” Taylor said Wednesday.

Gaetz, elected to Congress in 2016, campaigned on hardline conservative values. (Gaetz for Congress/Special to The Pulse)

“We’re doing dozens perhaps hundreds of billboards around the country,” Taylor said. “We may or may not do another aimed at Gaetz. He earned our attention by being a Trump stooge and all around treason weasel.”

A first-term Republican, Gaetz has frequently made headlines since taking office last year. Last February, Gaetz called for the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Education to be abolished. More recently, Gaetz — a vocal supporter of President Trump — has called for an investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and for former FBI Director Robert Mueller to be removed from his job as a special counsel investigating possible ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government.

Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.