Read the complaint seeking to keep Madison Cawthorn out of Congress, and his response

North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn should be disqualified from running for reelection to Congress in 2022 after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol building, a complaint filed Monday claims.

The complaint against Cawthorn, first reported by The Associated Press, is being backed by James Exum Jr., a Democrat and the former chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, as well as former Republican N.C. Supreme Court Justice Bob Orr, a vocal critic of Donald Trump and his congressional allies like Cawthorn.

It claims that the third section of the 14th Amendment, written to prevent former Confederate leaders from serving in Congress after the Civil War, should also apply to current members of Congress who supported Trump’s failed effort to overturn the 2020 election that put Democratic President Joe Biden in office.

Read the full lawsuit here.

In part, it says there is reason to suspect that “Cawthorn was involved in planning efforts to intimidate Congress and the Vice President into rejecting valid electoral votes and subvert the essential constitutional function of an orderly and peaceful transition of power.”

The lawsuit adds that Cawthorn and other GOP officials, including Trump, took actions that “led directly, intentionally, and foreseeably to the insurrectionists’ violent assault on the Capitol.”

Cawthorn wasted no time in publicizing the lawsuit himself — tweeting about it to criticize the lawsuit and raise money from supporters.

“Left-wing activists are trying to stop me from fighting for YOU THE PEOPLE!” he tweeted, alongside a link to contribute to his campaign. “I won’t be stopped. Help me fight back!”

Cawthorn is a prolific fundraiser. He has become popular nationally for pushing disproven claims about election fraud that, although false, remain popular on the right.

His campaign brought in $2.4 million just in the first nine months of 2021, according to Federal Elections Commission data. That’s more than any other member of the U.S. House from North Carolina — even fellow Republican Rep. Ted Budd, who is running a statewide campaign for U.S. Senate.

For more North Carolina government and politics news, listen to the Under the Dome politics podcast from The News & Observer and the NC Insider. You can find it at or wherever you get your podcasts.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

Will Doran reports on North Carolina politics, particularly the state legislature. In 2016 he started PolitiFact NC, and before that he reported on local issues in several cities and towns. Contact him at [email protected] or (919) 836-2858.


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