Ethics panel investigating Madison Cawthorn over cryptocurrency, improper staff relationship

"I must still be a problem for the swamp!" Cawthorn said

Updated: May 23, 2022 - 5:03pm

Freshman North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn is facing a House Ethics Committee investigation to determine whether he improperly promoted a cryptocurrency without disclosing his financial interest in it and whether he had an improper relationship with one of his congressional staff members.

Cawthorn defended himself hours after the investigation was announced. 

"Wow- I must still be a problem for the swamp!" he tweeted. "They’re still coming after me!"

Cawthorn lost his North Carolina Republican House primary last week even with the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. The first-term congressman in March said that, during his time in D.C., he has received invitations to orgies and witnessed politicians do cocaine. Cawthorn's primary campaign faced attacks including the publication of photos of him partying in lingerie.

The Ethics Committee on Monday said it voted to establish an investigative subcommittee on May 11, but the panel stressed that establishing the subcommittee does not imply that a violation occurred.

"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 committee said in a press release.

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) will chair the subcommittee with Michael Guest (R-Miss.) as ranking member. Other subcommittee members include Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.).

The committee noted it voted against creating an investigative subcommittee to probe misdemeanor charges filed against Cawthorn for driving with a revoked license and speeding. The North Carolina Republican told the committee he paid a fine for one of the charges and plans on paying additional fines if needed.

The House Ethics Committee on Monday also said it is further investigating Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W. Va.) and Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas).

The Office of Congressional Ethics Board said it found "substantial reason to believe Rep. Mooney spent campaign funds on personal meals and trips within his district."

The board also said "there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Jackson converted campaign funds from Texans for Ronny Jackson to personal use or Rep. Jackson’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes."