Representative Madison Cawthorn, a Republican who represents North Carolina, is considered a bit of a golden boy among the more hardline conservatives in his party but has left even Republicans up in arms after he snuck a GOP candidate onto the House floor.
Cawthorn likely violated House rules, Republican and Democratic sources said, after he told House security his guest, Tennessee Republican Robby Starbuck, was one of his House staffers.
A Republican lawmaker who spoke toThe Hill on condition of anonymity described having a congressional candidate on the House floor as "very bizarre," adding it is a violation of House rules "without a doubt."
Per House Rule IV, only a limited number of people can set foot inside the House chamber, known as the Hall of the House. These include the President, Vice President, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, the House Parliamentarian, and select others.
Neither Cawthorn nor Starbuck has returned requests to comment and it is unclear whether Cawthorn will face a penalty or fines.
Cawthorn, who is currently under investigation for the role he potentially played during the January 6 insurrection, was immediately criticized amid concerns about another security breach.
The extent of Cawthorn's alleged involvement in the January 6 insurrection—which took place when a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the United States Capitol on the false premise the 2020 election had been stolen—appeared to become clearer following a bombshell report from Rolling Stone.
On Sunday, October 24, Rolling Stone published an article stating several supporters of former President Trump who helped plan the insurrection had multiple planning sessions with senior White House staffers and Republican members of Congress.
Sources who spoke to the magazine said they met with several high-profile Trump acolytes, including Representatives Paul Gosar (Arizona), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia), Lauren Boebert (Colorado) and Cawthorn himself.
Organizers claim Gosar promised "blanket pardons" to anyone who participated in the attack, adding they "would talk to Boebert's team, Cawthorn's team, Gosar's team like back to back to back to back."
Cawthorn also has a history of breaking rules and even carrying weapons, as when he sparked controversy when he was accused of bringing a large knife to a school board meeting in his district.
Cawthorn, who appeared at the school board meeting to protest COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates, denied the allegations, saying he didn't "know anything about it."
Back in February, Cawthorn was stopped at the Asheville Regional Airport after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents discovered an unloaded Glock 9mm handgun and loaded magazine in Cawthorn's carry-on luggage.
Cawthorn's gun was confiscated. He was allowed to retrieve it when he returned to Asheville.