New charges of ethics violations against North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn test the incendiary congressman’s re-election bid, adding to a list of scandals that have plagued the star of extreme rising right at odds with some members of his own party.
Cawthorn, the youngest member of Congress, faced allegations of sexual misconduct while in college. After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, he said a “bloodbath” would follow if there were any more “stolen” elections. He recently called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug”.
Then, on a conservative podcast in March, Cawthorn opened up about being invited to what he described as cocaine-fueled orgies hosted by other lawmakers in Washington, DC. He has also been twice charged with driving with a revoked license, most recently in early March.
The recent emergence of salacious photos showing Cawthorn in lingerie could also offend conservative voters the wrong way. hawthorn sent them back like “goofy vacation photos” that were taken “at a cruise game” long before he ran for Congress.
Cawthorn continued to make headlines last week as he was detained, but not charged, for attempting to smuggle a loaded gun through North Carolina airport security, his second such attempt in just over a year. The congressman was also hit by insider trading allegations related to an anti-Biden cryptocurrency.
Republicans, who are pushing to regain control of the House in the midterm elections, have stepped up pressure on Cawthorn in response to growing controversies.
But it’s unclear what effect that will have on Cawthorn’s re-election prospects.
Some voters in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district are fed up with the drama surrounding Cawthorn but seem unprepared to vote against him despite criticism within the GOP, member station WFAE reported ahead of the latest revelations against the congressman. .
For his part, Cawthorn has accepted the criticismpresenting it as a “coordinated assault on me and my re-election”.
Insider trading allegations add to Cawthorn controversies
According to the conservative newspaper The Washington Examinerwho first reported the alleged financial scheme, Cawthorn reportedly had information that the crypto coin “Let’s Go Brandon” – the currency he said he owns – was sponsoring NASCAR driver Brandon Brown a day before it happened. be made public.
The news renewed criticism from Republican North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis. “There must be a thorough, bipartisan investigation into the matter by the House Ethics Committee,” he said on Twitter.
Last month, Tillis endorsed Cawthorn’s main challenger. A super PAC affiliated with the senator poured more than $300,000 into ads attacking Cawthorn.
In response to what he calls a “coordinated drip campaign,” Cawthorn, who has largely blamed Democrats for the criticism, is now targeting “RINOs” and establishment Republicans.
“I want to change the GOP for the better, and I believe in America First,” he tweeted Friday. Cawthorn, who is 26, added: “I can understand the establishment attacking these beliefs, but it’s pathetic to just dig up some early 20s stuff to smear me.”
Anti-Cawthorn group calls for ethics investigation
Now, a political action group led by North Carolina Democrats in the Cawthorn district is pushing for an ethics investigation.
The PAC, called American Muckrakers, is waging a campaign to unseat the first-term congressman. On Wednesday, the group asked the House Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Cawthorn after he was cited for trying to smuggle a loaded gun through security at a Charlotte airport. The ethics complaint also points to the congressman’s alleged insider trading, repeated attempts to smuggle weapons into off-limits spaces, and an alleged inappropriate financial relationship with a younger staffer.
David Wheeler, President of the PAC, said The New York Times that his group was formed to “hold Cawthorn accountable”.
Wheeler told the newspaper that it was not the Republicans in Washington but those in North Carolina who worked in the same direction, digging up dirt on Cawthorn.