The group is seeking ethical review of Madison Cawthorn

A political action group is calling for an ethical inquiry into North Carolina’s Republican rep. Madison Cawthorn, citing his pattern of bringing weapons into forbidden areas and a possible inappropriate financial relationship with an employee.

It is the latest conflict that has erupted for the newly trained legislator, once a rising star in the GOP, who has found himself at odds with his colleagues and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The group, the American Muckrakers PAC, wrote to the Office of Congressional Ethics on Wednesday asking for an inquiry after Cawthorn was quoted – but not charged – for trying to bring a loaded gun through security at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. The PAC also cited four occasions in which he brought a dagger into North Carolina’s public educational property, saying Cawthorn has provided free housing and travel worth more than $ 250 to his aide, Stephen Smith, in violation of house rules.

The Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent, non-partisan entity established by the House and is charged with investigating any allegations of misconduct by members of Congress and their staff. It may refer its inquiries to the two-part House Committee, carry out its own inquiries and impose fines as penalties for infringements. The OCE did not respond to a request for comment, but Muckraker’s PAC posted a screenshot of an email from the office confirming that it had received the request for an inquiry.

Cawthorn has accused “RINOS” – a derogatory acronym meaning “Republicans by name only” – of working to try to defeat him.

“I’ve never folded in Washington, and the swamp hates me,” he said in one video released Friday. “They want someone who will make backroom deals and sell our values ​​out, and someone who will abandon the America First principles.”

Aside from weapons, Muckraker’s PAC complaint focuses on Cawthorn’s relationship with Smith, a young employee. They present documents that appear to show that Smith lives in a house owned by Cawthorn without any repayment. They also suggest the two may have an inappropriate personal relationship – which is forbidden between a lawmaker and a member of their staff – citing, among other things, the fact that Smith accompanied Cawthorn on his honeymoon to Dubai in April 2021 and a video , shown to show Smith laying his hand on Cawthorn’s steps.

U.S. Muckrakers are also asking the OCE to investigate whether Cawthorn violated a ban on insider trading with a recent purchase of cryptocurrency, which was the subject of a Washington Examiner investigation this week.

Cawthorn’s office did not have a statement in response to the allegations, but instead pointed to CBS News on the congressman’s latest tweets. A tweet broadcast Thursday night after the complaint and video of Cawthorn and Smith was reported by the Daily Mail reads: “Many of my colleagues would not be near politics if they had grown up with a cell phone in their hands.”

The behavior of the North Carolina congressman has given rise to some criticism from his Republicans in Parliament. McCarthy, who rarely exhorts his members in public, said at a recent news conference that Cawthorn was “wrong” in calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “bully.”

And less than two weeks later, McCarthy said the young lawmaker had “lost my confidence“after Cawthorn made unfounded allegations on a podcast that colleagues in Congress had used drugs and invited him to an orgy, a remark that drew complaints from several Republicans. The minority leader said Cawthorn admitted that some of his allegations were exaggerated.

McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment on recent allegations against Cawthorn.

At her news conference today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was up to Republicans to punish Cawthorn for any misconduct.

“We have a responsibility to have an ethical standard here,” she told reporters. “They have to take care of their own house. If not, there will be ethical complaints. But I do not spend my time on them in this meeting.”

Nikole Killion contributed to this story.

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