Rep. Madison Cawthorn to Face Probe Over Alleged Improper Relations With Staffer, Promoting Crypto

© AP Photo / Chris SewardU.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., waves to the crowd after he spoke before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Selma, N.C.
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., waves to the crowd after he spoke before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Selma, N.C. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.05.2022
The first-term GOP lawmaker has already lost the May primaries to North Carolina state senator Chuck Edwards following the release of a nude video featuring Cawthorn and another unidentified man, as well as publication of allegations of insider cryptocurrency trading.
The House Ethics Committee will be launching in the coming days a probe into Republican House lawmaker Madison Cawthorn, who is accused of engaging in improper relations with his aide and scheduler, Stephen Smith, as well as breaching insider trading laws by promoting the Let's Go Brandon cryptocurrency.
The committee stated that the probe doesn't necessarily mean that Cawthorn committed misconduct and crimes he is accused of. The Republican lawmaker's team, in turn, has stated that Cawthorn did nothing wrong.
"We welcome the opportunity to prove that Congressman Cawthorn committed no wrongdoing and that he was falsely accused by partisan adversaries for political gain", Cawthorn’s chief of staff, Blake Harp, stated.
The team also stressed that the investigation is just a "formality", and the congressman will continue his work until the end of his term in January next year.

Long String of Scandals

The probe into the actions of the 26-year-old first-term lawmaker was prompted by several episodes in the entire string of scandals that have been haunting Cawthorn recently and possibly prevented him from winning the Republican primaries earlier this month.
One of the episodes that the Ethics Committee will review was reported in by anti-Cawthorn American Muckrakers PAC, which asked to probe the congressman for his relationship with his paid aide and scheduler, Stephen Smith. Their relationship came into the limelight amid the circulation of a video where the two discuss sexually suggestive topics and Smith can be seen touching the lawmaker's groin.
It was preceded by another leak in which Cawthorn, this time naked, appeared to engage in sexual activities with another unidentified man. The lawmaker claimed he was "being crass with a friend, trying to be funny" in the video, which was shot years ago.
The other episode is linked to Cawthorn promoting the mock cryptocurrency called Let's Go Brandon after a meme phrase coined by an NBC reporter, who allegedly misheard the crowd behind her back chanting "F**k Joe Biden".
The GOP lawmaker publicly claimed in December 2021 that the coin, which he had admitted owning, would "go to the moon" just a day ahead of NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, to whom the NBC reporter referred in the phrase, announcing he was collaborating with the cryptocurrency's platform. The coin's value spiked by 75% following the announcement and the lawmaker faced accusations of insider trading.
The committee's statement said that Cawthorn might have "improperly promoted a cryptocurrency in which he may have had an undisclosed financial interest".
Cawthorn himself denies wrongdoing and calls reports about him having insider knowledge about the coin's future "shallow".
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