On August 8, Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation into missing federal documents—an issue identified by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)—lead to a duly executed search warrant. The warrant allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to enter and search former Republican President Donald Trump's Florida home turned resort, Mar-a-Lago.
Trump called the legal search a raid and made claims about the FBI breaking into his safe and stealing items seized during the search. With the over the top characterization of the search came a lot of finger pointing at Trump’s so-called enemies.
But was information also coming from inside the Trump camp?
Florida Republican congressional candidate Mark Lombardo's latest attack ad implies it did. Lombardo implicated his GOP primary opponent, embattled Republican Representative Matt Gaetz.
You can see Lombardo's ad here:
In it, Lombardo noted Trump hadn't endorsed Gaetz with his usual level of enthusiasm.
He then implied Trump knew something others don't, asking if Gaetz was "the informant" that tipped off the FBI about Mar-a-Lago. But neither the DoJ nor FBI have referred to an informant other than the National Archives which knew Trump removed documents that should have been turned over to them upon his leaving the White House.
Lombardo finished by calling Gaetz self-serving.
People from both sides of the aisle supported the idea of Gaetz the informant.
Lombardo was not the first to point the finger at Gaetz.
The idea even spawned the hashtag #RatGaetz.
Gaetz was first elected in 2016 and immediately established himself as a staunch Trump ally.
But in recent years, Gaetz's star power within the GOP faltered as issues from his personal life overshadowed his congressional activities. Gaetz was accused of paying a minor for sex and taking them across state lines—which if true could be child sex trafficking.
A close Gaetz friend and former colleague agreed to plead guilty to six charges related to child sex trafficking in 2021. Part of that agreement was to cooperate with ongoing investigations.
Gaetz provided his critics further fodder when in July of 2022, he was one of only 20 Republicans to vote against reauthorization of an anti-sex trafficking law.
Much of Lombardo's campaign against Gaetz centers on his morality or lack thereof.
There's even a little ditty about Gaetz's lying eyes.
And he called out Gaetz's lack of respect for women.
Both The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek reported rumors of a possible informant tipping off the DoJ that federal documents were improperly stored at Mar-a-Lago.
Since then everyone from the Trump children, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his wife Melania to Mar-a-Lago staff have been implicated as the rumored informant. Those rumors have not been officially confirmed as of this writing.
Until they are, anyone with access to Mar-a-Lago could find themselves in the crosshairs, including Gaetz.
In response to Lombardo, Gaetz posted one of his own ads featuring Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and Trump praising him.
Lombardo will battle Gaetz in Florida's upcoming GOP primary on August 23.