- Rep. Madison Cawthorn already faces an ethics complaint over past crypto trades.
- Cawthorn appears to have again violated the STOCK Act’s disclosure provisions.
- Congress is actively debating whether to limit or ban lawmakers from making certain financial trades.
Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina appears to have again violated a federal conflict-of-interest law by failing to properly report purchases and sales of six types of cryptocurrencies, according to a new congressional financial disclosure.
The reported value of Cawthorn’s newly disclosed crypto trades is between $290,000 and $950,000, according to his disclosure, which he filed with the US House of Representatives on Wednesday morning.
Cawthorn reported his trades took place between January and March. By federal law, he had no more than 45 days to publicly disclose them in a certified document submitted to Congress.
The value of his newly reported crypto trades are:
- Kryll, $116,000 to $265,000
- Ethereum, $61,000 to $215,000
- Solana, $48,000 to $195,000
- Bitcoin, $47,000 to $180,000
- Let’s Go Brandon Coin, $15,000 to $50,000
- Request, $3,000 to $45,000
Lawmakers are only required to report the value of such financial trades in broad ranges.
Cawthorn on Wednesday also reported investing between $100,000 and $250,000 in a decidedly conservative fund — the SPDR S&P 500 ETF, which tracks the performance of the S&P 500 benchmark index. He also disclosed this trade Wednesday — on time, per federal law.
Cawthorn’s congressional office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Multiple scandals for Cawthorn
Cawthorn’s new disclosures compound existing financial disclosure problems he faces.
Insider previously reported that the young congressman, who lost his seat last month to a primary challenger, disclosed in late May that he bought up to $250,000 in “Let’s Go Brandon” coin on December 21, 2021.
On December 31, he sold some of his stake in the coin — at least $100,001-worth of it — but still held on to some of it. He reported the transaction about four months past when the disclosure was due.
While it’s not illegal for Cawthorn to buy or sell the cryptocurrencies, he reported each of the transactions more than six months after making them — well over the limit required under the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act.
The law designed to defend against conflicts of interest and curb insider trading.
“All financial disclosure filings must disclose ownership interests of virtual currency” worth more than $1,000, as well as “purchases, sales or exchanges of cryptocurrencies,” the House Committee on Ethics wrote in a 2018 memorandum to lawmakers and congressional staffers.
Under congressional rules, Cawthorn could face a minimum fine of $200, but the House Committee on Ethics could grant him a waiver that would absolve him of the fine.
The House Committee on Ethics last month announced that it had formed a subpanel to in part investigate Cawthorn’s financial trades.
Insider’s “Conflicted Congress” project and other news outlets have since last year identified 63 members of Congress who have violated the STOCK Act. At least 182 senior congressional staffers have violated the STOCK Act’s disclosure provisions, as well.
Insider also found numerous examples of conflicts of interest among federal lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans.
News about the “Let’s Go Brandon” coin purchase — the virtual currency is named for a slur against President Joe Biden — was originally published in the Washington Examiner, which reported that Cawthorn may be in violation of insider-trading laws. If true, such a crime would be a matter for the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate.
Cawthorn has faced numerous controversies during his short time in office that drew the ire of GOP leadership. In April, officers cited him for carrying a loaded 9-millimeter handgun inside Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
He was previously cited but not charged in February 2021 for trying to bring a gun onto a plane in his carry-on luggage at Asheville Regional Airport.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy publicly rebuked Cawthorn after he said on a podcast that he’d seen Washington Republicans use cocaine and that he’d been asked to participate in an orgy.
Cawthorn lost his re-election bid last month in a Republican primary. North Carolina state Sen. Chuck Edwards defeated Cawthorn.