Politics

House Ethics Committee opens investigation into Madison Cawthorn

The House Ethics Committee is investigating allegations that Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn “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 committee, led by by Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) with Rep. Michael Guest (R-NJ) as ranking member of the subcommittee, emphasized that they are not accusing Cawthorn of any wrongdoing, and that the probe did not indicate a violation had occurred.

In a statement, the congressman’s chief of staff, Blake Harp said they “welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn committed no wrongdoing and that he was falsely accused by partisan adversaries for political gain.”

The allegations of a potential conflict of interest stem from an April article in the Washington Examiner that reported Cawthorn may have violated federal insider trading laws when he promoted the meme coin LGB, named for the chant “Let’s Go Brandon” mocking President Joe Biden.

Cawthorn promoted the LGB coin in a Dec. 29 Instagram post where he was pictured with the hedge fund manager of the cryptocurrency. The next day, NASCAR driver Brandon Brown announced a deal with the coin, raising questions about whether Cawthorn had advanced nonpublic knowledge of the announcement, according to the Examiner.

The committee provided no details on Cawthorn’s alleged “improper relationship.”

Cawthorn will be leaving Congress at the end of the year after losing his primary race last week to state Sen. Chuck Edwards. His defeat came despite support for his reelection bid from former President Donald Trump.

The ethics committee also said on Monday that it was investigating two other Republican lawmakers, both for improperly spending certain congressional and campaign funds, among other issues.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, the independent office that pursues any potential wrongdoings by House members, said in a report that it found “substantial reason to believe” Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) improperly accepted a free trip for him and his family to Aruba from a company that also provided services to his campaign, and used his congressional staff to plan the vacation.

Ryan Kelly, a spokesperson for Mooney, said in a statement that the lawmaker plans to cooperate with the ethics probe but that the findings of its investigation were “tainted from the outset by the OCE’s procedural irregularities and denial of due process.”

The watchdog group also concluded that Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) used campaign funds to pay for “unlimited access” to a private social club in his state.

In a response to the committee, Jackson’s attorney Justin Clark argued his client made the purchases at the Amarillo Club for campaign-related reasons and therefore it is within the federal guidelines for personal use of campaign funds.

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: FLORIDA POLITICS

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