Amid a growing list of scandals that likely led to his House primary loss earlier this year, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is now facing allegations that he has improperly spent campaign funds and is unable to repay donors, as the Washington Examiner reports.
Citing a story published in The Daily Beast, Cawthorn is said to have encountered financial difficulties toward the tail end of his primary bid and, with no other place to turn, dipped into contributions specifically designated for a general election race.
The problem for the beleaguered soon-to-be-former congressman is the fact that according to federal regulations, political candidates are allowed to secure donations for primary as well as general election contests at the same time, but the money must be applied to the specific campaign for which it was intended.
If funds are used contrary to those rules, they must be repaid to their original sources, and that is the dilemma in which Cawthorn reportedly now finds himself, according to The Daily Beast, with financial documents dating back to May showing the congressman holding $325,000 in debt and just $137,000 on hand at the time — a situation that may have since deteriorated even further.
An insider who spoke to The Daily Beast indicated that the primary campaign was characterized by all sorts of ill-advised spending, including significant sums dropped on alcoholic beverages, hotel accommodations outside the state, and consulting fees, causing a person familiar with the situation to remark, “Nobody ever did the math, which baffled me because the spending was so outrageous.”
In a development perhaps suggestive of internal turmoil, Cawthorn’s campaign treasurer resigned last week, with the congressman himself stepping into the role, as the Examiner noted.
The controversy over campaign funds is just the latest in a series of questions and scandals surrounding the young politician, and in late April, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis (NC) requested a congressional probe into whether Cawthorn engaged in insider trading in connection to a cryptocurrency, as CNBC reported.
Also ensnaring Cawthorn in recent months has been intense scrutiny over claims that he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a staff member, the confiscation from him of a firearm by the Transportation Security Administration, as well as the emergence of a nude video the lawmaker claimed was an attempt at blackmail.
Elected to the House back in 2020, Cawthorn was defeated this spring in a Republican primary battle with state Sen. Chuck Edwards, and whether the difficulties currently engulfing the congressman will permanently derail his career in public life, only time will tell.