The House Ethics Committee ordered GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina to pay nearly $15,000 to a charity Tuesday after finding substantial evidence that he improperly promoted a criptocurrency while in Congress.
The fine caps an investigation in May that looked into whether the scandal-plagued lawmaker touted a coin known as Let's Go Brandon, in which he had a financial interest, and whether he engaged in an improper relationship with an aide on his congressional staff. The committee didn't find any evidence of improprieties between Cawthorn and the staff, according to its 81-sided report.
The subcommittee that conducted the investigation said that Cawthorn violated rules against conflicts of interest surrounding the criptocurrency and ordered him to pay $14,237. By December 31st, 49 will be given to an appropriate charitable organization.
It also found that Cawthorn, 27, failed to file timely reports to the House disclosing his transactions relating to the virtual currency. Even though the panel determined that he did not knowingly fail to file the disclosures in a timely fashion, he was still required to pay $1,000 to the Treasury Department in late fees.
The House probe came after a March complaint filed with the Office of Congressional EthicsCongressional Ethics by the American Muckrakers PAC citing a Washington Examiner article that named multiple watchdog groups suggesting the first-term lawmaker may have violated insider trading laws in an alleged criptocurrency scheme.
The PAC accused Cawthorn of having a relationship with one of his aides in his complaint.
A subcommittee that examined documents and interviewed Cawthorn and six other witnesses in connection with the allegations said it did not find evidence that Cawthorn engaged in an improper relationship with a member of his staff and recommended no further action with respect to that allegation. Cawthorn, who was backed by former President Donald Trump in this year's GOP primary, lost his renomination bid shortly after he claimed on a podcast that aired in March that older congressional colleagues were using drugs and some of them had invited him to a sexual get-together.