Madison Cawthorn Is Having a Hell of a Week

And it’s only Wednesday.
Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn simply cannot keep it together right now.

The North Carolina congressman, up for reelection and facing several primary opponents in a state where early voting begins on Thursday, was issued a citation by Charlotte police Tuesday for trying to bring a loaded gun through a TSA checkpoint at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

“Mr. Cawthorn stated that the firearm was his and he was cooperative with the CMPD officers,” the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department told CNN. “Mr. Cawthorn was issued a citation for Possession of a Dangerous Weapon on City Property, which is a City of Charlotte Ordinance. Mr. Cawthorn was released, and the CMPD took possession of the firearm, which is normal procedure.”


If this all sounds familiar, it’s because it is: Cawthorn was stopped in February 2021, just a month after he was sworn into Congress, for trying to bring an unloaded gun and loaded magazine through security at the Asheville Regional Airport. A second offense could result in a fine of up to $13,000, according to ABC News

Cawthorn’s troubles didn’t end there. Also on Tuesday, multiple watchdogs told the conservative Washington Examiner that Cawthorn may have committed insider trading in his promotion of the LGBCoin (Let’s Go Brandon) cryptocurrency in December. Cawthorn posed for a picture with James Koutoulas, a hedge fund manager described by the Examiner as the meme coin’s “ringleader,” which Koutoulas posted on Instagram. 

Cawthorn, who said in February he owns the cryptocurrency himself, posted a comment on Koutoulas’s post saying: “Tomorrow we go to the moon!” The next day, the cryptocurrency’s value spiked 75 percent after NASCAR driver Brandon Brown announced the coin would be his primary sponsor—raising questions about whether Cawthorn knew about the forthcoming announcement when he commented on Koutoulas’s post. 

The price of LGBCoin later tanked after NASCAR rejected the sponsorship deal. 

“This does look like a classic case of you got some insider information and acting on that information,” Project on Government Oversight government affairs manager Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette told the Examiner. “And that’s illegal.”


Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina’s junior senator, who endorsed one of Cawthorn’s primary opponents, said Wednesday that Cawthorn should be investigated.

“Insider trading by a member of Congress is a serious betrayal of their oath, and Congressman Cawthorn owes North Carolinians an explanation,” Tillis tweeted. “There needs to be a thorough and bipartisan inquiry into the matter by the House Ethics Committee.”

Cawthorn’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on either the inside trading allegation or incident at the airport. 

An investor has brought a class-action lawsuit against LGBCoin, Koutoulas and other executives, and some celebrity promoters including far-right influencer Candace Owens, alleging the whole thing was a “pump and dump” scheme. 

In March, Cawthorn also lost his driver’s license after a stop for driving on a revoked license, the second time since 2017. He’s had three traffic tickets in the last six months, including two speeding tickets in October and January. Cawthorn has a court date for his revoked license on May 6, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times

And last week, Politico published photographs of Cawthorn—who has advocated for anti-LGBTQ+ policies in Congress and has a history of transphobic and homophobic comments—wearing lingerie. Cawthorn later said that the photos were taken during a game on a cruise before he was elected to Congress. 

“My gender didn’t change when I put that stuff on,” Cawthorn said in a tweet last week. “And neither does anyone else’s.”

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