The House Ethics Committee has ruled that Republican congressman Matt Gaetz broke House rules for a tweet he directed at Michael Cohen last year.
While the panel determined that Rep Gaetz broke house rules during the incident, they said that he did not break witness tampering and obstruction of Congress laws.
On Friday, the panel released a report that said Mr Gaetz’s actions “did not reflect creditably upon the House of Representatives” and “did not meet the standards by which Members of the House should govern themselves”.
The ruling comes following the tweet in 2019 which Mr Gaetz made in 2019 accusing Mr Cohen of having extramarital affairs while he was preparing to testify before a House panel about Donald Trump’s conduct.
“Hey @MichaelCohen212 — Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” tweeted Mr Gaetz, who represents Florida’s 1st congressional district,
“Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”
Following the backlash, he deleted the post and said that it had not been his intent to threaten Mr Cohen and that he should have “chosen words that better showed [his] intent”, the report said.
The house said that Mr Gaetz had violated Rule XXIII, which requires members to act “in a manner that reflects creditably” on the chamber, the report said.
However, the panel did not find that he “had the requisite intent to establish a violation of the federal criminal statutes prohibiting witness tampering and obstruction of Congress”.
The committee formally admonished Mr Gaetz, a rare but particularly mild form of punishment, stating that the committee is not the “social media police”.
“Following the publication of this report, the committee will take no further action in this matter, and considers it closed,” it said.