A complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics alleges that embattled North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn exchanged lewd messages with a staffer that was photographed with a hand on the congressman’s crotch.
American Muckrakers PAC, which is also known as Fire Madison Cawthorn, filed a complaint with the office on 27 April requesting an investigation into whether Mr Cawthorn violated any House rules with regard to Stephen L Smith.
The complaint alleges that Mr Cawthorn violated multiple rules by providing free housing to Mr Smith, who is reportedly Mr Cawthorn’s cousin. It also alleges that Mr Cawthorn has provided loans to Mr Smith.
The complaint does not mean that Mr Cawthorn is under investigation; it simply means that the office will review it and if they find allegations plausible, it will send the complaint to the House Ethics Committee, which is bipartisan.
The complaint, which includes the video that The Daily Mail originally reported with Mr Smith’s hand on Mr Cawthorn’s crotch, features multiple photos from Mr Smith’s Instagram account of them spending time together, including at a cabana in Mexico with Mr Smith smoking a cigar and Mr Cawthorn commenting, “he is now a father on two continents. He is so good with his little bi-lingual babies.”
Another Instagram post where Mr Smith talks about his excitement for the next year had Mr Cawthorn comment “Just wrap yourself up, man. You are the gift.”
In addition, the two exchanged multiple Venmo transactions with various sexual undertones, such as “Nudes,” “The quickie at the airport” and “getting naked for me in Sweden.” Though it is possible they simply are joking.
Mr Cawthorn has come under increased scrutiny for his behavior in recent weeks after he told a podcast that members of Congress invited him to an orgy and others did cocaine. In response, many Republican leaders have endorsed his primary opponents.
The ethics complaint also cites how Mr Cawthorn reportedly attempted to bring a gun on a flight earlier this month.
The Independent has contacted Mr Cawthorn’s office for comment.
Earlier, the lawmaker took to Twitter with a defiant message for his followers.
“I’ve gained 43,000 followers since the coordinated assault against me and my reelection,” he tweeted.
On Friday, he defended himself and said Republicans were engaged in a smear campaign because he wanted to change the Republican Party for the better.
‘I can understand the establishment attacking those beliefs, but just digging stuff up from my early 20s to smear me is pathetic,” Mr Cawthorn, who is 26, tweeted.
“At least be consistent with your attack instead of changing the focus every time,” he tweeted. “A campaign based on nothing but slander and personal attacks is a campaign that lacks a true sense of how to save the country from the leftists.”