Madison Cawthorn Spent Campaign Funds He Wasn’t Supposed To, And Now He Can’t Pay Back His Donors Because He’s Broke

Remember Madison Cawthorn? He’s the youngest person in Congress, but he won’t be there for much longer. In May he lost his primary for what could have been his second term, which may have come in part thanks to a PAC exclusively devoted to taking him down. But he’s still technically a lawmaker and he can still get in trouble. And sure enough, he’s currently in deep doo-doo.

As per The Daily Beast, in the final stretch of his failed re-election campaign, a cash-strapped Cawthorn illegally dipped into donations that were supposed to only be used for the general election. But he never made it to that leg of his campaign, and so he’s required by law to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars back to the supporters who donated it. Problem is: He’s broke.

What’s more, his campaign is already a week late in submitting its Quarterly Federal Election Commission report, which would make his money issues public. That delay will already net him a fine.

As his primary race was winding down, Cawthorn was spending what one source said was a “baffling” amount of money. And it doesn’t seem like anyone was minding the store:

[A campaign source] pointed to a spree of frivolous charges over the last year that all accelerated into 2022, such as $1,500 in “egregiously” frequent trips to Chick-Fil-A, almost $3,000 at a place called Papa’s Beer, three separate charges at a high-end cigar shop, $21,000 for lodging in Florida and—the biggest drain—hundreds of thousands of dollars in sky-high consulting and fundraising fees, including for Cawthorn’s friend and campaign manager, Blake Harp, who was drawing a salary beyond federal limits.

“Nobody ever did the math, which baffled me because the spending was so outrageous,” the source told The Daily Beast.

According to the report, Cawthorn owes a combined $220,080.85 to donors. As of early May, his campaign had only around $137,000, and $325,000 in debt. It’s unclear how Cawthorn could pay it back, but the source said one option had been discussed internally: He could start a new campaign and simply funnel the money into that. Alas, he “balked” at that idea. And so America is spared from more Cawthorn action — for now.

(Via The Daily Beast)