Ex-Cawthorn employee claims she was denied permission to care for her husband

A former assistant to Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is filing a complaint against the congresswoman, alleging that she was wrongly denied time off after two unexpected family medical emergencies, a leaked recording reveals.

Lisa Wiggins, a former clerk and campaign worker for Cawthorn, claimed she was denied furlough after her uncle died and her husband suffered a heart attack that same week.

“What he did to me was illegal, morally wrong, whatever, it was done,” Wiggins said during a phone conversation with David Wheeler – the co-founder of American Muckrakers PAC, also known as Fire Madison Cawthorn.

A recording of the call was posted online by SmokyMountain News.

According to Wiggins, Cawthorn violated the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows eligible employees unpaid and protected leave for “specified family and medical reasons,” including the birth of a child and caring for an employee’s spouse, child or parent with a serious medical condition.

Wiggins also accused Cawthorn of not caring about his constituents, saying it was almost impossible to get a meeting with him “unless he’s trying to pull a few votes, and that’s the only way”.

She went on to claim that the congressman’s office in Hendersonville, NC, was stocked with more liquor bottles than water bottles. According to Wiggins, that office was the only county office open after she closed the rest.

Lisa Wiggins said Cawthorn would not allow her to take any time off after her uncle died and her husband had a heart attack that same week.
Lisa Wiggins said Cawthorn would not allow her to take any time off after her uncle died and her husband had a heart attack that same week.
Photo by Saul Loeb – Pool/Getty Images

“He didn’t have enough clerks to fill them,” she said. “He didn’t care, he doesn’t care about his constituents. He does not care.”

Cawthorn has been under investigation for several months over allegations of sexual assault or harassment, as well as his recent claims that his colleagues regularly snort cocaine and engage in orgies.

“As for the candidate himself, I think he’s just a bad person,” Wiggins said. “He’s a habitual liar and will say and do anything to your face, but behind your back he’s the complete opposite. There are some good stories I have – lots of good stories.”

It’s unclear if Wiggins formally filed the complaint Monday, and it’s expected to be processed by the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights, executive assistant Glena DuPree told SmokyMountain News.

Wiggins also said that Cawtorn is a "bad person" and a "habitual liar" in the leaked recording.
Wiggins also said that Cawtorn was a “bad person” and a “habitual liar” in the leaked recording.
REUTERS/Octavio Jones/File Photo

Because the complaint would be kept confidential once filed, DuPree could neither confirm nor deny its existence.

Cawthorn will face seven other candidates in the May 17 Republican primary to represent the district in this fall’s midterm election, and at least one of his fellow legislators — Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) — has endorsed one of Cawthorn’s primary challengers .

“Unfortunately, Madison Cawthorn fell far short of the most basic standards that Western North Carolina expects of its representatives, and voters now have several well-qualified candidates to choose from who would represent a significant improvement,” Tillis said late last month.

“I think [state Sen.] Chuck Edwards is the best choice,” he added, saying Edwards “puts his constituents first” and is a “hardworking conservative leader.”

In the leaked recording, Wiggins said the “ultimate goal” was to get Cawthorn out of office.

“I work harder here than I did two years ago for his campaign, and I mean I worked really hard two years ago,” she said.

Cawthorn’s office has branded the allegations “provenly false,” telling the Post, “The person making these disgusting allegations is currently working for a key opponent of Congressman Cawthorn.”

“We believe these comments may amount to defamation of character and are evaluating ways to ensure the congressman’s name is clear from these defamatory remarks,” said communications director Luke Ball. Ex-Cawthorn employee claims she was denied permission to care for her husband


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