Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces an investigation by the House Ethics Committee over cryptocurrency shill

The House Ethics Committee said Monday it is investigating whether controversy-hit Rep. Madison Cawthorn “improperly promoted” a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest — alleging the 26-year-old had a ” “had” an improper relationship with someone on his staff.

Committee chair Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) announced the investigation in a statement, noting that “the mere fact of the establishment of a subcommittee of inquiry does not in itself indicate that a violation has occurred.”

The cryptocurrency claim comes from a Washington Examiner report last month, which indicated that Cawthorn may have violated federal law a day before announcing a partnership with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown for his public endorsement of the Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency.

It wasn’t immediately clear who the allegation of the “improper relationship” was referring to. However, a complaint from the Office of Congressional Ethics filed last month blasted Cawthorn for his closeness to his scheduler and distant cousin Stephen Smith, according to The Hill.

A recent video shows Cawthorn in a car saying, “I feel the passion and the desire and I’d like to see a naked body under my hands.” In the same video, Smith was heard saying, “Me too,” before releasing his hand took the step of the legislature.

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., speaks during a session of the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington December 13, 2019.
Rep. Ted Deutch noted that the act of “establishing a subcommittee of inquiry does not itself indicate that a violation has occurred.”
AP/Patrick Semansky, Pool

Cawthorn was also accused of providing Smith with free gifts, such as rent, without disclosing it.

“We welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn committed no wrongdoing and that he has been falsely accused of political gain by partisan opponents,” Blake Harp, the legislature’s chief of staff, told 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.”

News of the ethics probe comes six days after Cawthorn lost his bid for re-election in a Republican primary, falling by less than two percentage points to Senator Chuck Edwards.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference being held at the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.
The committee will also investigate whether Cawthorn had an improper relationship with an associate who is also his distant cousin.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cawthorn did not take the loss with dignity, urging Dark MAGA to bring down “the varsity party” in an Instagram post on Thursday, saying that “it’s time for Gentile.” [sic] Politics as usual is over.”

“It’s time for the rise of the new right, it’s time for Dark MAGA to really take charge,” he wrote, referencing the acronym “Make America Great Again”.

“We must defeat an enemy, but we shall never be able to defeat him until we have defeated the cowardly and weak members of our own party. Your days are numbered. We come.”

In the run-up to last week’s election, Cawthorn has increasingly drawn the ire of his fellow Republicans for a number of controversial actions and statements – including labeling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “thug” responsible for an “incredibly evil” government in March .

The North Carolina Republican has been arrested twice for attempting to carry a gun on a plane and has been charged with driving while his license was suspended.

Cawthorn was also accused by a former employee of refusing her emergency leave after two unexpected family emergencies.

Additionally, lawmakers have received criticism over various leaked photos or videos – including one showing the congressman wearing little or no clothing as he thrust his pelvis toward another man’s head.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks during the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony to honor the Merchant Seafarers of World War II, Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said Cawthorn had “lost” his trust and needed to “earn it back”.
Oliver Contreras/Getty Images

Most notably, Cawthorn was criticized for his allegations that his fellow lawmakers invited him to orgies and snorted cocaine in front of him.

“The sexual perversion that’s going on in Washington, I mean being a young guy in Washington where the median age is probably 60 or 70 – [you] Look at all these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to in my life… Then suddenly you’re invited. ‘We’re having a sexual encounter at one of our houses, you should come,'” he said on a podcast in March.

“‘What did you just ask me to come for?’ And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy,” he said, later adding, “You watch them take cocaine right in front of you and it’s like, ‘This is wild.'”

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) slammed the North Carolinian over allegations that Cawthorn had “lost” his trust and needed to “earn it back.”

Cawthorn’s office did not immediately respond to the Post’s request for comment. Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces an investigation by the House Ethics Committee over cryptocurrency shill


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