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The United States House Committee on Ethics slapped Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) with a $15,237 fine for violating rules protecting against conflicts of interest by promoting a cryptocurrency he had invested.
The cryptocurrency he promoted is a less-known anti-Joe Biden meme coin called “Let's Go Brandon” (LGB). The term “Let’s Go Brandon” is a coded expletive to insult President Joe Biden.
According to the House Committee’s report, after a seven-month-long investigation, the Investigation Subcommittee (ISC) “found substantial evidence that Representative Cawthorn promoted a cryptocurrency in which he had a financial interest.”
The report also pointed out that he “did not disclose either his purchase or sale of his LGB coins” until the House Committee investigated the matter.
The U.S. House representatives require representatives to file timely reports on transactions related to cryptocurrency under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which Cawthorn violated.
Per the report, the representative made “direct comments” about purchasing or supporting the coin. The house committee ruled out that he made such a promotion for personal profit.
“As a Member of the House, Representative Cawthorn must protect the integrity of that institution, and his participation in promotional efforts for the cryptocurrency he owned was inconsistent with that duty,” read the report.
Of the total $15,237 fine, $14,237 should be paid to an appropriate charitable organization before December 31, 2022, and the rest to the U.S. Department of Treasury for violating the STOCK Act.
Cawthorn crypto transactions
Per the report, Cawthorn gave a $150,000 check to an undisclosed individual affiliated with LGB coin on December 20 to purchase 180 billion LGB coins.
On December 21, 2021, he received 180 billion LGB coins to his wallet from an unidentified source.
“He bought LGB Coin to connect with his generation, poke fun at a political opponent, and address the government’s control of currency,” says the report.
When he received the tokens, his investment had risen by $14,237.49 to $164,237.49.
A week after his purchase, on December 30, 2021, LGB coin announced sponsoring NASCAR driver Brandon Brown in the 2022 season.
However, On January 4, 2022, NASCAR withdrew its approval, and the representative exited his position in three tranches since then.