Newly elected Representative Madison Cawthorn, RN.C., arrives for the Republican leadership election in the House at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
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The House Ethics Committee is investigating the controversial representative Madison Cawthorn for his possibly inappropriate promotion of a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest, the panel revealed Monday.
The committee is also investigating the North Carolina Republican if he had an “inappropriate relationship” with a person employed by his congressional staff, the panel said.
The ethics committee approved the study by unanimous vote on 11 May. But the panel only released it six days after the 26-year-old congressman immediately lost a primary election in the GOP and denied him a nomination for another term.
The loss follows a series of embarrassing events for Cawthorn. He was charged by North Carolina police with carrying a loaded gun through an airport and driving with a disqualified driver’s license. He also claimed he was “blackmailed” after the release of a video that appeared to show him naked in bed with another man.
Hawthorn also made other Republicans in Congress furious earlier this year by claiming that some of his older colleagues invited him to orgies and used cocaine in front of him.
“We welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn committed no offense and was falsely accused by partisan opponents of political purposes,” Cawthorn’s Chief of Staff Blake Harp said in response to the ethical inquiry.
Harp said the investigation, which will be conducted by a commission of inquiry convened for that purpose, “is a formality.”
“Our office is not at all deterred from completing the work that the patriots of western North Carolina sent us to Washington to do,” Harp added.
Cawthorn later tweeted, “Wow – I always have to be a problem for the swamp! They’re still chasing me!”
In late April, Senator Thom Tillis, RN.C., called on the ethics committee to investigate Cawthorn for possible insider trading related to cryptocurrency. The Washington Examiner reported that Cawthorn may have violated laws prohibiting investors from taking advantage of non-public information.
The cryptocurrency in question is the Let’s Go Brandon coin named after a derogatory statement to President Joe Biden.
In a Dec. 29 response to an Instagram post with a photo of him with the coin’s co-founders, Cawthorn wrote, “Tomorrow we’re going to the moon.”
The next day, NASCAR driver Brandon Brown’s team announced that the Let’s Go coin Brandon had been signed as the team’s primary partner for the 2022 season. Following the announcement, the price of the cryptocurrency rose by more than 75%.
Shortly afterwards, the price of the Let’s Go Brandon coin crashed when NASCAR rejected its sponsorship deal with Brown.
Around the same time that Tillis called for an inquiry into Cawthorn, the chairman of a political action committee filed an ethical complaint against him for allegedly failing to provide financial information on gifts and loans given to his planner, Stephen Smith.
David Wheeler, president of the American Muckraker’s PAC, also said in the complaint that “Mr. Smith apparently lives with Rep. Cawthorn, and various social media posts indicate a personal relationship between them separate and apart from the employer’s professional relationship and employee. ”
Cawthorn’s spokesman said Smith was Cawthorn’s cousin.
The House Ethics Committee said separately Monday that on May 11, it voted against the creation of a commission of inquiry to investigate Cawthorn on charges of driving with a disqualified driver’s license and speeding in North Carolina.
“Rep. Cawthorn informed the committee that he had paid a fine to resolve one of the charges and that he intended to pay the fines associated with the remaining charges,” the committee said in a report.
“The committee believes that the local authorities’ handling of this case is adequate in the light of the facts,” he added.