Ethics Committee investigates Rep. Cawthorn for crypto, improper employee relationship

The House Ethics Committee has opened an investigation into embattled Rep. Madison Cawthorn (RN.C.) to determine whether he improperly promoted a cryptocurrency without disclosing that he had a financial interest in it and whether he had an improper relationship with had an employee who was employed there by his convention bureau.

The announcement of the inquiry came Monday after the committee voted on May 11 to create an investigative subcommittee. The committee noted that the establishment of a sub-committee of inquiry does not mean that a violation has taken place.

Cawthorn, a 26-year-old first-term congressman, lost his primary on May 17 to Republican Senator Chuck Edwards after a long string of scandals that included the two matters under investigation by the committee.

The outgoing congressman’s office claims he did nothing wrong.

“We welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn committed no wrongdoing and that he has been falsely accused of political advantage by partisan opponents,” Cawthorn chief of staff Blake Harp said in a statement to The Hill. “This request is a formality. There is no stopping our office from doing the work the West North Carolina patriots sent us to Washington to do.”

An anti-Cawthorn PAC filed an ethics complaint against Cawthorn on April 29, detailing the cryptocurrency matter and his relationship with and alleged gifts to his scheduler, who is also his distant cousin. A video included in the ethics complaint, first reported by the Daily Mail, showed Cawthorn with his organizer in a car, speaking about lewd topics with an exaggerated accent, and his organizer clutching Cawthorn’s crotch.

Another video was released the following week by the Anti-Cawthorn PAC, showing Cawthorn nude, acting more suggestively in a bed with another person. Cawthorn said at the time that he was “crass with a friend and trying to be funny” and that it was filmed years ago.

A Washington Examiner report initially suggested that Cawthorn may have violated insider trading laws by promoting a cryptocurrency called Let’s Go Brandon. The issue prompted Sen. Thom Tillis (RN.C.), who supported Edwards in the primary, to call for an ethical investigation into Cawthorn. Cawthorn has denied having any inside knowledge when promoting the cryptocurrency, calling the claims in the report “superficial.”

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) will chair the investigative subcommittee looking into Cawthorn, and Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) will be its senior member.

“As a result of the actions of the committee, the subcommittee of inquiry has jurisdiction to determine whether Rep. Madison Cawthorn may have: improperly promoted a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest; and was in an improper relationship with a person who his Congress employed personnel,” the ethics committee said in a statement.

The committee also considered an ethical issue related to Cawthorn, who was charged with driving without a license and speeding in North Carolina, but voted against further investigation of the matter by a subcommittee of inquiry. Cawthorn told the committee he paid a fine to clear one of the charges and intends to do so for the remaining charges, a report said.

Other matters cited in the anti-Cawthorn PAC ethics complaint, including bringing a knife onto school property and twice bringing a loaded firearm to airport security checkpoints, were not addressed by the ethics committee.

Last month, Cawthorn appeared to dismiss the ethics complaint and the release of the salacious video.

“Digging up stuff from my early 20s to smear on is pathetic,” Cawthorn said in a tweet at the time. “At least be consistent with your attack instead of changing focus every time. A campaign based only on slander and personal attacks is a campaign that lacks a real sense of how to save the country from the left.” Ethics Committee investigates Rep. Cawthorn for crypto, improper employee relationship


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