Primaried Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) revealed in a past-due financial disclosure that he purchased between $100,000 and $250,000 in Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency in late 2021.
Per the filing, Cawthorn sold some of the holdings 10 days later – after a promotional event that drew accusations of participating in a pump-and-dump scheme. Cawthorn reported that the value of the “partial sale” was also between $100,000 and $250,000.
The Washington Times first reported last month that Cawthorn “hyped up” the coin at a Dec. 29 event in Miami. Based on the coded insult for Joe Biden “Let’s Go Brandon,” the value of the coin would later plummet to $0, though it has rebounded slightly since then.
One day after the event, the coin’s value started to explode. That was helped in part by NASCAR driver Brandon Brown – the eponymous “Brandon” from the phrase – saying on Dec. 30 that the coin would sponsor his next racing season.
Let’s Go Brandon’s value increased by more than 70 percent from Dec. 28 to Dec. 31.
On New Year’s Eve, the filing says, Cawthorn conducted a partial sale. He checked a box marked for capital gains of over $200. Congressional financial disclosures only reveal a range of values, not a precise dollar amount.
A Cawthorn spokesman did not return TPM’s request for comment.
James Koutoulas, the coin’s creator and host of the Dec. 29 event, blamed the coin’s decline in an email to TPM on “woke NASCAR revok[ing] the sponsorship approval.”
He wrote that Cawthorn had “committed to purchase in writing” in early December 2021, but that it took some time for the congressman to “liquidate assets to fund it, but he still did so before NASCAR approved the on-track sponsorship which was by no means certain.”
“A pump and dump is a manipulative activity,” Koutoulas added. “He smartly took profits after the announcement of NASCAR’s on track sponsorship approval caused it to double in a day.”
Koutoulas added that the Dec. 29 Instagram activity had no influence on the rise in the coins value, and that “his sale was a rounding error on the coin’s 593M peak value.”
The House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Cawthorn’s involvement with Let’s Go Brandon coin this week.
The reports are due within 30 days of a transaction taking place, and no more than 45 days after, per the House Ethics Committee. The disclosure also shows the purchase of at least $100,000 in Ethereum on the same day that Cawthorn sold his Let’s Go Brandon coin.
Cawthorn appears to have timed his sale impeccably.
Since peaking on Jan. 1, Let’s Go Brandon coin has been hit with a series of setbacks. NASCAR said on Jan. 7 that it wouldn’t allow the Brandon Brown sponsorship to go through, while a jilted coin holder filed a lawsuit against the crypto.
The Trump family partly tiptoed into the void, with Don Jr. promoting it in an April tweet.
A right-wing radio host who has promoted the coin offered Trump himself 500 billion of the tokens in March.
Cawthorn’s hold on power began to collapse after he accused seasoned politicians that he once respected of inviting him to “sexual get-togethers” with cocaine in the mix. What followed was a torrent of negative press, including allegations of involvement in a pump and dump scheme.