WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee said Monday it is investigating whether scandal-ridden GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina may have improperly promoted a crypto- currency and started a relationship with a congressional aide.
The panel announced that it voted unanimously earlier this month to establish a subcommittee to examine whether Cawthorn “improperly promoted a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest. and had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with someone employed on his congressional staff.”
The ethics committee stressed that it did not accuse Cawthorn of any wrongdoing and that the launch of the investigation — led by Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas, with Rep. Michael Guest, RN.J., as a ranking member of the subcommittee – did not indicate that a violation had occurred.
Last month, the American Muckrakers PAC filed a complaint with the Congressional Ethics Office citing a Washington Examiner article that named “several watchdog groups” suggesting the first-term lawmaker may have violated antitrust laws. insider trading in an alleged cryptocurrency scheme. In its complaint, the PAC also accused Cawthorn of having a relationship with one of his aides, citing various social media posts which it said “indicate a personal relationship between them, separate and apart from the professional relationship. of the employer and the employee”.
When asked if the House investigation stemmed from the US Muckrakers complaint, the committee said it had no comment.
Blake Harp, Cawthorn’s Chief of Staff, said, “We welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn has committed no wrongdoing and has been falsely accused by partisan adversaries for policies.”
The announcement of the inquiry comes nearly a week after Cawthorn, who was backed by former President Donald Trump in this year’s GOP primary, lost his bid to be renominated.
The 26-year-old lawmaker caused an uproar this year when he claimed on a podcast that unnamed, older congressional colleagues were using drugs and said some of those colleagues had invited him for a ‘sex encounter’ .
The committee also said Monday it would not investigate recent misdemeanor charges filed against Cawthorn for driving with a revoked license and speeding in North Carolina. A spokesperson for the congressman said in response to the charges at the time that his office “expects the traffic issues to be resolved quickly.”
“The committee believes that the local authorities’ handling of this matter is sufficient given the facts,” the committee said in a press release.