Madison Cawthorn Failing To Report Campaign Finances

By Jacob Taylor | Saturday, 06 August 2022 05:15
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The Federal Election Commission threatened the departing Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) with conceivable legal enforcement action for failing to report his campaign’s finances during the weeks before and after his May 17 primary defeat.

Cawthorn was expected to file a report to the FEC on July 15 describing what his campaign raised and spent between late April and the end of June, but the Cawthorn campaign has upheld the FEC in the dark as of Wednesday afternoon.

"The failure to timely file a complete report may result in civil money penalties, an audit or legal enforcement action," the FEC cautioned Cawthorn in a letter on Monday.

The FEC stressed that Cawthorn is improbable to escape fines in the matter, as the civil penalty calculation does not include a grace period and starts the day following the due date of the report.

Cawthorn filed a statement of organization with the FEC on July 15, defining himself as the treasurer and custodian of records for his campaign, a move that could open him up to personal civil liability if the FEC punishes his campaign for failing to report its finances on time.

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Thomas Datwyler, who served as the treasurer and custodian of records of the Cawthorn campaign before the firebrand freshman lawmaker lost his primary election on May 17, did not return a request for comment.

The FEC's threat to Cawthorn comes after the Daily Beast reported in July that the Cawthorn campaign spent through all its limited general election funds in a mad dash spending binge in the lead-up to his primary defeat has no money left over to return to his contributors.

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A source with the Cawthorn campaign told the Daily Beast that the campaign spent $1,500 on trips to Chick-Fil-A, almost $3,000 at a restaurant called Papa's Beer, $21,000 on hotels in Florida, multiple trips to a high-end cigar shop, and egregious consulting fees to individuals such as Cawthorn's personal friend and campaign manager Blake Harp.

The Cawthorn campaign had only $138,000 cash on hand and debts totaling $325,000 as of April 27 after having garnered over $3.5 million since the start of 2021, according to its most recently filed FEC report.

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Cawthorn's campaign is demanded by law to repay a combined $220,000 to large-dollar donors who had donated to his general election fund before his May 17 primary loss. It's unclear where Cawthorn's campaign will find the money to reimburse his donors. "There was just no money," the Cawthorn campaign source told the Daily Beast. "It was dollar-in, dollar-out. So if he loses, it's a really bad thing, and the only way to cover it is getting money straight from the candidate or treasurer."

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