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House Ethics probes Madison Cawthorn on cryptocurrency and the relationship

Representative-elect Madison Cawthorn, RN.C., arrives for the House Republican leadership election at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

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The House Ethics Committee is investigating controversial Rep. 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 whether he had an “inappropriate relationship” with someone employed on his congressional staff, the panel said.

The ethics committee authorized the investigation by a unanimous vote on May 11. But the panel only released it six days after the 26-year-old congressman narrowly lost a GOP primary, denying him a nomination for a second term.

The loss follows a series of embarrassing events for Cawthorn. He was charged by North Carolina police with carrying a loaded handgun at an airport and driving with a revoked license. He also claimed he was “blackmailed” following the release of a video which appeared to show him naked in bed with another man.

Cawthorn also infuriated fellow Republicans in Congress 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 wrongdoing and was falsely accused by partisan adversaries for political purposes,” Cawthorn’s chief of staff said, Blake Harp, in response to the ethics inquiry.

Harp said the investigation, which will be conducted by an investigative subcommittee convened for that purpose, “is a formality.”

“Our office is not at all deterred from completing the work that the Patriots from Western North Carolina sent us to Washington to do,” Harp added.

In late April, Sen. 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 profiting from nonpublic information.

The cryptocurrency at issue is the Let’s Go Brandon coin named after a derogatory phrase towards President Joe Biden.

In a Dec. 29 response to an Instagram post featuring a photo of him with the coin’s co-founders, Cawthorn wrote, “Tomorrow we’re going to the moon.”

The following day, NASCAR driver Brandon Brown’s team announced that Let’s Go Coin Brandon had been signed as the team’s primary partner for the 2022 season. After the announcement, the price of the cryptocurrency rose over 75%.

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Shortly after, 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 investigation into Cawthorn, the chairman of a political action committee filed an ethics complaint against him for allegedly failing to file financial information about gifts and loans given to his planner, Stephen Smith.

David Wheeler, president of the American Muckrakers 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 Mr. Smith’s professional relationship. employer. and employee.”

Cawthorn’s spokesperson said Smith was Cawthorn’s cousin.

The House Ethics Committee said separately Monday that on May 11 it voted against appointing an investigative subcommittee to investigate Cawthorn on misdemeanor charges of driving with a revoked license and speeding. speed in North Carolina.

“Rep. Cawthorn advised the committee that he had paid a fine to resolve one of the charges and intended to pay the fines associated with the remaining charges,” the committee said in a report.

“The Committee considers that the handling of this case by the local authorities is sufficient in view of the facts,” he added.


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