A flier that North Carolina GOP Congressman Madison Cawthorn shared with former president Donald Trump and others during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday appears to violate House ethics rules.
"The document, titled 'Congressman Cawthorn's Plan for North Carolina,' contains a map of North Carolina's newly approved congressional districts," Raleigh-Durham's WTVD Channel 11 reported Wednesday. "The map also contains the names and pictures of the candidates Cawthorn envisions running for 11 of 14 districts, all of which are forecasted to be either landslide victories for Republicans or in just one case, a highly competitive race."
During the meeting, Trump "brokered a deal" to clear the North Carolina Republican Senate field for GOP Rep. Ted Budd, his endorsed candidate, according to Politico. The former president agreed to endorse former GOP Rep. Mark Walker, who is currently in third place in the Senate primary, if Walker leaves the race and runs again for the House instead.
"This is the flier Rep. Madison Cawthorn passed out at the meeting with Trump, Mark Walker, Bo Hines and David McIntosh (Club for Growth) on Saturday," Natalie Allison wrote on Twitter, above an image of flier.
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According to WTVD, "a source close to the North Carolina GOP confirmed the validity of the map, which features the official seal of Cawthorn, his official photograph, and the official portraits of incumbent candidates, including Rep. Dan Bishop, Rep. Virginia Foxx, Rep. Richard Hudson, Rep. Patrick McHenry, Rep. Greg Murphy and Rep. David Rouzer."
The station reports that while official congressional portraits are in the public domain, House ethics rules prohibit their use in political or campaign materials.
"The use of the congressman's seal might be the most serious issue with the document, however, as the manual states 'a provision of the federal criminal code, 18 U.S.C. 713, prohibits the use of certain governmental seals on, among other things, stationery, for the purpose of conveying ... a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof,'" the station reported. "It's unclear at this time whether there has been a complaint filed related to this document."
In related news, Cawthorn likely violated House rules when he brought a GOP congressional candidate onto the House floor on Tuesday night, according to the Hill.
"Cawthorn was able to do so by telling House security that his guest, Tennessee Republican Robby Starbuck, was one of his House staffers, according to a source familiar with the situation," the site reported.