House ethics panel launches investigation into Rep. Cawthorn over alleged insider cryptocurrency trading

Representative Madison Cawthorn’s link to an alleged cryptocurrency scheme and a suspected improper relationship with a member of his staff has prompted the House Ethics Committee to start an inquiry into him. According to a Washington Examiner investigation, the North Carolina Republican who lost his re-election effort earlier this month has been suspected of insider trading relating to the Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency.

In a recent press release, the committee stated, “Pursuant to the Committee’s action, 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 subcommittee will be chaired by Texas Democrat Representative Veronica Escobar and the statement emphasizes that a probe is not a pronouncement of guilt. Following Cawthorn’s primary defeat to North Carolina state Senator Chuck Edwards last week, Jordan Libowitz, the communications director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, praised the committee’s decision to investigate Cawthorn’s promotion and reported financial interest in the meme cryptocurrency but noted that the committee doesn’t have much time to complete its investigation.

Libowitz explained, “It’s good that House Ethics will be investigating this. However, their jurisdiction is limited to Cawthorn’s time in Congress, so we hope that they are able to complete their investigation before his term is up and they are forced to drop the matter.” Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, the government affairs manager for the Project on Government Oversight noted that “There is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Cawthorn may have committed insider trading or some other manner of impropriety.”

Watchdog groups claim that Cawthorn involved himself in an insider trading scam when he wrote: “LGB legends … Tomorrow we go to the moon!” under a December 29 Instagram photo of himself smiling with the meme coin’s organizer, James Koutoulas. The next day, Koutoulas was mentioned in a statement by NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, who said that the coin will be the principal sponsor of his 2022 season, causing the cryptocurrency’s value to rise by 75%. Cawthorn and Koutoulas claimed that information of LGBCoin’s anticipated contract with Brown was public knowledge in early December when the politician allegedly traded the coin. However, they were unable to prove that the sponsorship was known to the public at that time.

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