WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has filed an ethics complaint against a Democratic congressman playing a leading role in the impeachment inquiry aimed at President Donald Trump.


The complaint came Wednesday, one day before the Democratic-majority House of Representatives was set to vote on a set of procedures for moving forward with the inquiry.


Gaetz, who represents Northwest Florida in Congress, is a staunch Trump defender and a frequent critic of the impeachment inquiry. His complaint to the House Ethics Committee focuses on Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, one of the committees involved in the impeachment inquiry.


In a letter to the Ethics Committee, Gaetz contends Schiff has engaged in "unprofessional and divisive behavior."


Neither Gaetz nor Schiff’s office responded immediately Wednesday to requests for comment on the ethics complaint.


But in a Wednesday news release, Gaetz criticized what he called Schiff’s "unconstitutional and secret handling of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump."


The Constitution sets no specific procedures for impeachment, and last week a federal judge ruled the House is proceeding legally with the impeachment inquiry.


Gaetz has acknowledged the lack of constitutional guidance on impeachment, but has countered that Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were granted a number of due process considerations during their impeachment proceedings, including having counsel present in committee hearings.


With regard to Gaetz’s allegation of "secret handling" of the impeachment inquiry, all of the committees involved include Republican members. "But," Gaetz said in comments after last week’s storming of the Capitol room, "I think more eyes are always good."


Among the complaints lodged against Schiff by Gaetz is Schiff’s embellished reading of transcript of a telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Schiff said part of Trump’s end of the conversation "reads like an classic organized crime shakedown."


Gaetz contends Schiff’s comments were "a blatant and clear-cut violation of longstanding parliamentary precedent, prohibiting making ’accusations that the President has committed a crime,’ or claiming ’that the President has done something illegal.’"


Gaetz also contends he was improperly kept out of an Oct. 14 meeting of three congressional committees involved in the impeachment inquiry. Gaetz cites a House rule reading, in part, that under most circumstances, a congressman "may not be excluded from non-participatory attendance at a hearing of a committee or subcommittee."


Gaetz closed his letter by urging the Ethics Committee, after a thorough investigation, to "make all appropriate referrals to the Department of Justice, for further investigation and prosecution."