An investigative subcommittee began investigating Cawthorn and his involvement with the cryptocurrency “Let’s Go Brandon,” or LGB Coin, in May. The North Carolina representative repeatedly promoted the coin on social media from December 2021 to March 2022.
The report, submitted a few weeks ago, found “substantial evidence that Representative Cawthorn promoted a cryptocurrency in which he had a financial interest in violation of rules protecting against conflicts of interest.”
According to the report, Cawthorn was not paid for his social media posts about LGB Coin, but in December 2021, he received 180 billion coins, worth more than $150,000, at a cheaper price than what was available to the public. He paid for the coins just a few days before LGB Coin announced it would sponsor a Nascar driver, sending its value up (Nascar later revoked the sponsorship). Cawthorn paid $14,237.49 less than the public price, meaning he received an improper gift from the cryptocurrency. He sold his LGB Coin shares throughout December and January.
The report also found Cawthorn failed to disclose these transactions to the House. It did not, however, find sufficient evidence that he was guilty of insider trading.
The bipartisan Ethics Committee unanimously adopted the report and ordered Cawthorn to pay $14,237.49 to a charitable organization of his choice. He must also pay $1,000 in late fees for his disclosure forms to the Treasury within the next two weeks.
LGB Coin has been accused of being a pump-and-dump scheme, meaning its value is falsely inflated through marketing. Once investors have bought in, giving it actual value (the “pump” part), the scheme organizers will “dump” their shares at a profit. After they sell off their shares, the asset’s value deflates rapidly, revealing it was worthless all along.
Cawthorn was elected in 2020 as an avid Donald Trump supporter, but his time in office has been plagued with scandal. He lost the Republican primary in May and will leave office in January. Multiple reports indicate that both his Washington and North Carolina offices have already been vacated.