Rep. Madison Cawthorn faces House ethics panel probe over cryptocurrency shill

The House Ethics Committee announced Monday it was looking into whether controversy-hit Rep. Madison Cawthorn “improperly promoted” a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest — as well as claims the 26-year-old had an “improper relationship” with someone on his staff. 

Committee Chair Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) announced the investigation in a statement, which noted that “the mere fact of establishing an Investigative Subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”

The cryptocurrency claim stems from a Washington Examiner report from last month, which suggested Cawthorn may have violated federal laws over his public support of the Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency one day before it announced a partnership with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown.

It was not immediately clear to whom the “improper relationship” allegation was referring. However, an Office of Congressional Ethics complaint filed last month blasted Cawthorn over his closeness with his scheduler and distant cousin Stephen Smith, according to The Hill.

A recently released video shows Cawthorn in a car saying: “I feel the passion and desire and would like to see a naked body beneath my hands.” In the same video, Smith was heard saying, “me too” before placing his hand on the lawmaker’s crotch.

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, on Dec. 13, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Rep. Ted Deutch noted that the act of “establishing an Investigative Subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”
AP/Patrick Semansky, Pool

Cawthorn has also been accused of providing Smith with free gifts, such as rent, without disclosing it.

“We welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn committed no wrongdoing and that he was falsely accused by partisan adversaries for political gain,” Blake Harp, the lawmaker’s chief of staff, told The Hill. “This inquiry is a formality. Our office isn’t deterred in the slightest from completing the job the patriots of Western North Carolina sent us to Washington to accomplish.”

News of the ethics probe comes six days after Cawthorn lost his bid for reelection in a Republican primary, falling to State Sen. Chuck Edwards by fewer than two percentage points.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.
The committee will also be investigating whether Cawthorn had an inappropriate relationship with a staffer, who is also his distant cousin.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cawthorn did not take the loss gracefully, calling on “Dark MAGA” to topple “the Uni-party” in a Thursday Instagram post and saying that “the time for gentile [sic] politics as usual has come to an end.”

“It’s time for the rise of the new right, it’s time for Dark MAGA to truly take command,” he wrote, referring to the Make America Great Again acronym. 

“We have an enemy to defeat, but we will never be able to defeat them until we defeat the cowardly and weak members of our own party. Their days are numbered. We are coming.”

Leading up to last week’s election, Cawthorn increasingly drew the ire of his fellow Republicans over several controversial actions and statements – including calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” in charge of an “incredibly evil” government in March. 

The North Carolinian Republican has been busted twice for attempting to carry a gun on an airplane and has been charged for driving with a revoked license. 

Cawthorn has also been accused by a former staffer of denying her emergency leave after two unexpected family emergencies. 

Additionally, the lawmaker has received flack over various photos or videos that have been leaked – including one that showed the congressman wearing little or no clothes as he thrust his pelvis towards another man’s head. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), speaks during the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony to honor the merchant mariners of World War II on Wednesday, May 18, 2022.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Cawthorn “lost” his trust and would “have to earn it back.”
Oliver Contreras/Getty Images

Most notably, Cawthorn has been criticized for his allegations that his fellow lawmakers have invited him to orgies and snorted cocaine in front of him. 

“The sexual perversion that goes on in Washington, I mean, being kind of a young guy in Washington, where the average age is probably 60 or 70 — [you] look at all these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to through my life … Then all of a sudden you get invited. ‘We’re going to have a sexual get-together at one of our homes, you should come.’” He said on a podcast in March. 

“‘What did you just ask me to come to?’ And then you realize they’re asking you to come to an orgy,” he said, later adding: “You watch them do a bump of cocaine right in front of you, and it’s like, ‘This is wild.’”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) blasted the North Carolinian over the accusations saying Cawthorn “lost” his trust and would “have to earn it back.

Cawthorn’s office did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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Senators want to prevent Putin dodging sanctions via crypto

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s independent senator wants the U.S. to try to limit Russian president Vladimir Putin and others in Russia from dodging economic sanctions by using cryptocurrencies.

Sen. Angus King said he is cosponsoring legislation that would seek to stop Putin and others from using digital assets to make an end-run on tough sanctions placed by the U.S. He said the proposal would stop any Russian digital assets from being traded in U.S. jurisdictions.

The proposal would also include new cryptocurrency transparency requirements and give the Biden administration new powers to go after the digital assets, King said. King said the U.S. “must ensure that Putin cannot exploit any financial loopholes to escape the consequences of his crimes.”

The bill has numerous sponsors in the U.S. Senate, all the rest of whom are Democrats, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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Cryptocurrency traders’ super PACs back state Rep. Jasmine Crockett

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