North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn may have violated insider trading laws for hyping a pump & dump crypto scheme, the Washington Examiner reports.
On Dec. 29, the beleaguered North Carolina congressman posed at a party with James Koutoulas, a hedge fund manager and the ringleader of the Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency, a meme coin set up in the wake of the chant mocking President Joe Biden.
“LGB legends. … Tomorrow we go to the moon!” Cawthorn, who has stated publicly he owns the cryptocurrency, posted on Instagram in response to the picture posted on Koutoulas’s Instagram page.
The next day, LGBCoin did exactly as the lawmaker predicted.
NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, whose interview with an NBC reporter who misinterpreted a crowd chanting “F*** Joe Biden” as “Let’s go Brandon” sparked the tongue-in-cheek anti-Biden phrase, announced back in December that the meme coin would sponsor him, causing the coin’s value to spike by 75 percent. Brown’s announcement included comments from Koutoulas, who was pictured with Cawthorn just a few hours earlier.
Experts told the Washington Examiner that Cawthorn’s Dec. 29 Instagram post suggests he may have known about the coin’s deal with Brown before it was public knowledge.
“This looks really, really bad,” said Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, the government affairs manager for Project on Government Oversight, a federal watchdog group. “This does look like a classic case of you got some insider information and acting on that information. And that’s illegal.”
“I think there’s probably a strong case here,” Hedtler-Gaudette added. “I don’t want to prejudge, but based on everything that’s out there, I think there is a very strong possibility that if someone is going to investigate this, they’re going to find something.”
Read the full report over at the Washington Examiner.