The House Ethics Committee has placed outgoing Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) under investigation for issues including his involvement with an anti-Joe Biden-themed cryptocurrency and his relationship with a particular staffer. Presumably, that staffer is Stephen Smith, who is apparently related to Cawthorn and was reported to apparently be living in a house the Congressman owns without paying anything for it, possibly violating House limits on providing benefits to staff members.
“In accordance with House Rule XI, clause 3, and Committee Rules 10(a)(2) and 18, the Committee unanimously voted on May 11, 2022, to establish an Investigative Subcommittee,” a statement from ethics panel leadership states. “Pursuant to the Committee’s action, the Investigative Subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to determine whether Representative Madison Cawthorn may have: improperly promoted a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest, and engaged in an improper relationship with an individual employed on his congressional staff.” The chair of the subcommittee handling the Cawthorn investigation will be Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), while the ranking member will be Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.).
New: House Ethics opens investigation into House Republican Madison Cawthorn over allegations he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a staffer and promoted a cryptocurrency in which he had an undisclosed financial interest.
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) May 23, 2022
Separately, the ethics committee revealed it decided against pursuing an investigation into traffic-related charges Cawthorn was rhetorically hit with in North Carolina covering offenses including speeding and driving with a revoked license. “Representative Cawthorn informed the Committee he has paid a fine to resolve one of the charges and intends to pay any fines associated with the remaining charges,” committee leadership relayed. “The Committee voted against impanelling an investigative subcommittee in this matter.” The statement added that the “Committee believes that the handling of this matter by local authorities is sufficient given the facts of the matter.” In one of the incidents, which took place last October — meaning while Cawthorn was in Congress — he was going 24 mph above the speed limit. And again, he was recklessly putting passersby in potential mortal danger while representing North Carolinians in Congress.
Madison Cawthorn hasn’t tweeted today. Isn’t that nice?
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) May 19, 2022
And the list of troubling incidents in which Cawthorn has been involved during his brief time in Congress goes on from there. Twice, he’s been caught with a gun in his belongings at an airport — and both incidents took place while he was in Congress. While in office, Cawthorn also claimed “bloodshed” was inevitable if U.S. elections keep getting rigged. (They’re not rigged.) He recently lost the Republican primary race for his seat amid mounting GOP opposition to his antics.
Ethics Committee just announced an investigation into whether Rep. Cawthorn "improperly promoted a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest" & "engaged in an improper relationship" w/ staff.
Rep. Escobar will chair the investigative subcommittee
— Luke Broadwater☀️ (@lukebroadwater) May 23, 2022
As reported here, the American Muckrakers PAC filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (a separate federal entity) seeking an investigation into Cawthorn and laying out issues including the gun incidents and Cawthorn’s relationship with Smith, who was seen in a cellphone video in which he put his hand on Cawthorn’s crotch. As for the cryptocurrency, Cawthorn was pictured on December 29 last year at an event with James Koutoulas, one of those behind the so-called “Let’s Go Brandon” cryptocurrency, which is named after the chant replacing “Fuck Joe Biden” that certain Republicans have used. In an Instagram remark from the day he was present with Koutoulas, Cawthorn — who owned some of the cryptocurrency — said: “Tomorrow we go to the moon!” which is a phrase used to discuss increases in value for financial holdings. The next day, a sponsorship deal involving the cryptocurrency and a NASCAR driver was revealed, and its value shot up. Did Cawthorn know about the sponsorship deal ahead of time?
BREAKING: The House Ethics Committee is investigating Madison Cawthorn. Let's hope they can finish their investigation before he's out of Congress. pic.twitter.com/ywbmwQgxnz
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) May 23, 2022