Madison Cawthorn's bizarre Russia tale: Should we be concerned?

The Republican congressman told a story of how he met his wife — but new questions arise with news of their divorce

By Sarah Burris

Published December 30, 2021 9:39AM (EST)

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference being held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Begun in 1974, CPAC brings together conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders to discuss issues important to them. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story

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Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) did an interview with the Daily Caller ahead of his wedding describing the way that he met his wife after a trip to Stockholm, which ended up with him visiting a casino in Russia.

According to Cawthorn, the traveling group he was with took a ferry to St. Petersburg to gamble. That's when he met a new friend, an Army captain from Miami. Arriving back in the U.S., the captain, whose name is "Todd," lied to Cawthorn to get him to come to a fake Crossfit competition in Miami. When Cawthorn got there, all he found was a girl that "Captain Todd" wanted Cawthorn to meet. She ultimately became Cawthorn's wife, but the couple announced they'll divorce after just 8 months together.

There's no investigation into Cawthorn's trip or allegations about the "casino" he visited in St. Petersburg. Right now, it's merely activists asking questions and suspicion. However, the reason that the questions are coming up, is that this isn't the first politician who has faced questions about whether a close contact could be a foreign asset.

In 2012, Chinese nationalist Christine Fang approached Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). She had been photographed with several politicians and appeared politically involved. The two hit it off and began dating until the FBI told Swalwell that Fang was suspected of being a Chinese spy. The congressman cut off ties immediately and provided information about Fang to the FBI.

Paul Erickson, a Republican operative who boasts to have worked on presidential campaigns, met and ultimately dated Maria Butina, who the U.S. government ultimately deemed a Russian spy. She was thrown in jail and deported while he was sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud and money laundering.

But now liberal activists are asking questions about whether Cawthorn was part of a similar effort after he disclosed the story of his relationship with "Captain Todd."

Former Pennsylvania congressional candidate and DNC member Lindy Li noted that she searched for a legal casino in St. Petersburg that Cawthorn and his group may have gone to. She found one, but it was about 1,000 miles away from the city. Gambling isn't allowed in St. Petersburg or in Moscow. It's only legal in four areas: the Altai, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad, and Primorsky regions. It's been that way for a full decade prior to Cawthorn's trip. Her facts are true and can be backed up by Google map searches and the New York Times. If Cawthorn went to a casino, it certainly wasn't legal.


Sarah Burris

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Casino Madison Cawthorn Russia St Petersburg