Madison Cawthorn’s new status as a lame duck, often a quiet period for defeated politicians, appears set to be just as tumultuous as the scandal-plagued track record that got him booted from Congress.
On Monday, the House Ethics Committee announced an investigation into two sets of allegations related to the embattled Republican: that Cawthorn may have dabbled in some light insider trading related to the cryptocurrency Let’s Go Brandon, and that he engaged in an improper relationship with a staffer. (Cawthorn’s office has denied the panel’s allegations, claiming that Cawthorn is being targeted for “political gain.” This comes just a week after the North Carolina Republican lost his seat in the GOP primary for the state’s 11th congressional district.
Ethics investigations into members of Congress are relatively rare. That Cawthorn is on his way out makes Monday’s announcement even more unusual, though perhaps ultimately unsurprising considering how much both sides of the aisle appeared to loathe him. In his short career, Cawthorn, the youngest member of Congress, got caught in a series of headline-making scandals that included lies about his college acceptances, allegations of past sexual harassment, dubious claims he made about supposed drug-fueled orgies running amuck in the shadows of DC, and much, much more.
Following his defeat, a vengeful Cawthorn on Thursday appeared determined to leave Congress with some last-minute weirdness, vowing to expose “those who say and promise one thing yet legislate and work towards another.” Cawthorn’s Instagram post enlisted the help of something called “Dark MAGA,” which as my colleague Ali Breland explained, doesn’t appear to be much more than a handful of bad Photoshop jobs.