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Complaint filed against Cawthorn by fired staffer

Rep. Madison Cawthorn speaks to a gathering in Sylva in 2020. Rep. Madison Cawthorn speaks to a gathering in Sylva in 2020. Cory Vaillancourt photo

Saying in a leaked recording that “we all want the ultimate goal of him never serving again,” Lisa Wiggins, a former caseworker and campaign aide to Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Henderson) has filed an employment-related campaign against the embattled congressman.

“What he’s done to me was illegal, morally wrong, you name it, it’s been done,” Wiggins  said in a phone call to David Wheeler, co-founder of nonpartisan advocacy PAC American Muckrakers, more commonly known as Fire Madison Cawthorn. 

“I had a conversation with Lisa a couple weeks ago to back up the notes I was taking, and I didn’t realize she would provide me with so much information, so I saved a copy,” Wheeler said. 

North Carolina is a one-party state, meaning permission to record telephone conversations doesn’t require the consent of all parties engaged in the communication. 

Wiggins said in the call that she’d advance claims involving violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which entitles eligible employees to “unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor

In the call, Wiggins said she was denied leave when her uncle passed away and her husband had a heart attack during the same week. 

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Wiggins, 46, said she believed she was Cawthorn’s oldest caseworker and that she’d been given a warning but was fired three days after the warning. It’s not clear what the warning was for. 

She also said that Cawthorn had closed all of his district offices except for the Hendersonville office, and was using call forwarding to consolidate constituent service calls. 

“I know that because I drove and closed them all,” she said. “He didn’t have enough caseworkers to man them. He didn’t care, he doesn’t care about his constituents. He does not care.”

“If you come from Cherokee County, you’re driving five hours to see your congressman,” Wiggins said. “But you can’t see your congressman anyway when you go to the office. There’s no way you can get a meeting with him unless he’s trying to pull some votes and that’s about the only way.”

Wiggins went on to make a number of other claims against her former employer, including that there were more liquor bottles in the Hendersonville office than water bottles, and that she hadn’t seen the congressman she worked for since October. 

She explained that she didn’t believe all of the sexual assault or harassment allegations against Cawthorn were true, but that she does believe some of them, including ones from his brief stint at Patrick Henry College, are true. No charges or suits have been filed against Cawthorn in regards to any of those claims

“As far as the candidate himself, I mean, he’s just a bad person. He’s a habitual liar, and he’s going to say and do anything he can to your face but behind your back he’s completely opposite,” Wiggins said. “There’s some good stories I have – a lot of good stories.”

Cawthorn is currently facing seven other Republican challengers in the state’s May 17 Primary Election. Wiggins, a supporter of retired Army Col. Rod Honeycutt , said she hoped Cawthorn would not reach the 30% (plus one vote) threshold to avoid a runoff and proceed directly to the General Election in November. 

“The main goal here is that he does not get that 30 plus 1 percent,” she said. “I don’t feel like he’s gonna get it. I just don’t feel like he’s gonna run away with it on May 17.”

The Fire Madison Cawthorn PAC endorsed another Cawthorn challenger, Republican Wendy Nevarez , and has encouraged Democrats to re-register as unaffiliated in advance of the April 22 deadline to vote against Cawthorn in the Republican Primary Election. 

“The ultimate goal, of course, is to get him out,” Wiggins said. “I’m working harder here than I did for his campaign two years ago, and I mean, I worked really hard two years ago.”

Any work-related complaint from Wiggins would be handled by the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights , according to OCWR Executive Assistant Glenda DuPree. 

When reached by phone on April 18, DuPree also said that if such a complaint were filed, it would be confidential, and that the OCWR could not even confirm or deny the existence of such a complaint. 

“People need to know how this man really is,” Wiggins said. “He’s still got a lot of people fooled.”

When reached by phone, Wiggins said she had no comment on the matter, but Wheeler said that in a conversation with Wiggins yesterday, Wiggins indicated that the complaint had indeed been filed. 

When first reached for comment, Cawthorn spokesman Luke Ball said he was not aware of any complaint being filed. A few hours later, Ball released the following statement: 

“These accusations are verifiably false. The individual spreading these disgusting allegations is currently working for a primary opponent of Congressman Cawthorn. We believe these comments potentially amount to defamation of character, and are exploring options to ensure the Congressman’s name emerges from these slanderous remarks unscathed.”

This is a developing story. To listen to the leaked phone call in its entirety, click here.

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40 comments

  • The Mad (in the British sense) Cawthorn seems to be Republicans' ideal young man. In the link below, he is trying to explain away wearing women's underwear at one of the orgies he told the press about a couple of weeks ago.
    Face it. The Republican Party membership need to get "woke" to the fact that your leaders are largely a bunch of hypocritical perverts.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/madison-cawthorn-gop-underwear-pictures-b2063728.html

    posted by Mary Curry

    Saturday, 04/23/2022

  • The Mad (in the British sense) Cawthorn seems to be Republicans' ideal young man. In the link below, he is trying to explain away wearing women's underwear at one of the orgies he told the press about a couple of weeks ago.
    Face it. The Republican Party membership need to get "woke" to the fact that your leaders are largely a bunch of hypocritical perverts.
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/madison-cawthorn-gop-underwear-pictures-b2063728.html

    posted by Mary Curry

    Saturday, 04/23/2022

  • He has been caught inside many lies and certainly isn't available to his constituents! Folk's it's hard to believe that many of you still support him! Ever wonder why his marry lasted such a short time? You really get to know someone when you live with them. For the good of everyone he needs to go!

    posted by Sharon

    Friday, 04/22/2022

  • He lost me with the wheelchair on the sign. I have a disabled granddaughter from a car wreck. We don't have the funding he did. Bcbs cut us off. She is learning to walk again. I am a licensed therapist, I work with people with disabilities. His sign is a reminder that he has access to privileged insurance that they do not.
    He believes he is alive the law. Multiple charges for driving on a revoked license. Not paying fines etc. He is not a good person. ?

    posted by Christina S Earley

    Thursday, 04/21/2022

  • He lost me with the wheelchair on the sign. I have a disabled granddaughter from a car wreck. We don't have the funding he did. Bcbs cut us off. She is learning to walk again. I am a licensed therapist, I work with people with disabilities. His sign is a reminder that he has access to privileged insurance that they do not.
    He believes he is alive the law. Multiple charges for driving on a revoked license. Not paying fines etc. He is not a good person. ?

    posted by Christina S Earley

    Thursday, 04/21/2022

  • He lost me with the wheelchair on the sign. I have a disabled granddaughter from a car wreck. We don't have the funding he did. Bcbs cut us off. She is learning to walk again. I am a licensed therapist, I work with people with disabilities. His sign is a reminder that he has access to privileged insurance that they do not.
    He believes he is alive the law. Multiple charges for driving on a revoked license. Not paying fines etc. He is not a good person. ?

    posted by Christina S Earley

    Thursday, 04/21/2022

  • I think there's a word missing from your lede.

    She "has filed an employment-related campaign against the embattled congressman."????

    That makes no sense.

    Was it supposed to be "has filed an employment related LAWSUIT against the embattled congressman."??

    posted by Aerthur Mofodopoulis

    Wednesday, 04/20/2022

  • Nice to see all you Liberal Democrat scum are so wound up about Cawthorn and the fact that he lives in your heads 24 x 7. My beef with Cawthorn is he voted for a questionable gun control bill. That alone is enough for me to want a better candidate.

    posted by Lucille Josephs

    Wednesday, 04/20/2022

  • Hi Guys,
    I am a life long conservative and Republican. I have helped run several political campaigns. I have to say straight up David B. Wheeler is a partisan Democrat who ran for public office as a Democrat. Nobody can seriously consider Wheeler non-partisan, and certainly can't run a non-partisan Super PAC. Where is all this money coming from? George Soros? Probably. Wheeler has gotten money in the past from Facebook and Google. They don't donate without expecting something back. Wheeler lied to Ms. Wiggins, she also violated the complaint process by making it public which was her intent. What Wheeler did would be a felony in 11 states. Now, if The Hill, The Daily Beast and The Guardian (all Soros bum kissers) hate Madison, then I like him a lot. Ms. Wiggins was not a top staffer and she had a boss. Catherine D. Treadwell is a staffer with considerable experience. Luke Ball the same. I doubt Madison did more than a head nod in her firing.

    posted by Peter Thomas

    Wednesday, 04/20/2022

  • Hi Guys,
    I am a life long conservative and Republican. I have helped run several political campaigns. I have to say straight up David B. Wheeler is a partisan Democrat who ran for public office as a Democrat. Nobody can seriously consider Wheeler non-partisan, and certainly can't run a non-partisan Super PAC. Where is all this money coming from? George Soros? Probably. Wheeler has gotten money in the past from Facebook and Google. They don't donate without expecting something back. Wheeler lied to Ms. Wiggins, she also violated the complaint process by making it public which was her intent. What Wheeler did would be a felony in 11 states. Now, if The Hill, The Daily Beast and The Guardian (all Soros bum kissers) hate Madison, then I like him a lot. Ms. Wiggins was not a top staffer and she had a boss. Catherine D. Treadwell is a staffer with considerable experience. Luke Ball the same. I doubt Madison did more than a head nod in her firing.

    posted by Peter Thomas

    Wednesday, 04/20/2022

  • Where there is smoke there is fire IMO & I don’t know know him or his opponents. However this sounds like a Typical Trump character-only caring for himself, only making decisions that help himself, & lying like Trump (as said by Trumps own family & staff). Any truthful comments directed toward him are “fake news” lies, just like lying Trump. Yes, I’m a Republican but only vote for true Christians with good character traits.

    posted by Don

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • This guy is the definition of gross. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near him, ever.

    posted by Brooke

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • The entire republican party is a festering wound that needs cleaned and disinfected from the vermin that inhabit it. Cawthorn is just a hunk of pus, like the majority of the party. Treasonous, hateful, racist, incompetent and ignorant. Republicans only know how to destroy and create chaos - they have no business running anything because they can’t lead or solve real problems. A despicable group of hypocrites is all they are these days.

    posted by Mara Scott

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • ...his seditionist and subversive nature should alone get him removed from Congress and face charges of sedition. He has openly advocated harming other individuals in government who don't agree with his party, armed resistance, and has even advocated civil war. during one house session he was witnessed cleaning a gun. He along with Taylor Greene, Gaetz, and Boebert need to be removed from office whether by direct action or election, and never permitted to run for public office again. None of them have done anything positive or constructive for the nation over the last 16 months they've been in office.

    posted by BC Shelby

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • Dork is dead from the neck up and waist down

    posted by Brian Weir

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • Dork is dead from the neck up and waist down

    posted by Brian Weir

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • I hope my fellow tarheel voters will wake up to the obscenity that Cawthorn is bot also to the fact that the party he purports to represent cares nothing about ordinary people and will do nothing to alleviate the misery of those worse off than others.

    posted by Fred R

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • From all I’ve read, and heard about
    Cawthorn: his lying, quotes from him,
    his association with trump and his
    followers, Taylor Green, etc., this is not
    a person who should be (or can be) held in
    very high high esteem. His place in
    Congress, in my opinion, was a lark. He
    Is a disgrace to the American people,
    and must be thwarted from ever holding
    another government position.

    posted by Christine Fearing

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • As has been often said before, Cawthorn the Moron has no interest in serving his constituents. His only interest is gaining publicity, attempting to build a power base and feeding out of the public trough. I hope the voters who put him in the office are so very happy with what he's done for them so far. NO.THING!

    posted by Jack Spratt

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • As has been often said before, Cawthorn the Moron has no interest in serving his constitutents. His only interest is gaining publicity, attempting to build a power base, and to feed out of the public trough. I hope the voters who put him in office are so very happy with what he's done for them so far. NO.THING!

    posted by Jack Spratt

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • Madison Cawthorn is a fucking asshole

    posted by billy jones

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • People in his district that voted for this idiot just shows that they too are idiot's. Would not be surprised if they re-elect this idiot, it just show the educational level of the district.

    posted by Jack Middleson

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • Cawthorne is just a typical Republican, i.e., a lying hypocrite -- just more so.

    posted by Jack Hughes

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • Cawthorn’s an idiot. This cannot be said enough.

    posted by David Roberts

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • Cawthorn’s an idiot. This cannot be said enough.

    posted by David Roberts

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • We’re supposed to have sympathy for someone who helped get one of the dumbest and obnoxious jerks on earth elected because he fired her? If she hadn’t got fired, you really think she would have even a second of remorse over campaigning for him? I hope she wins her suit and bankrupts him, but only because he’s a slimy bottom feeder. Let’s not pretend she isn’t slimy, too. If he’s 100% slime, she’s 98%.

    posted by Jimmy

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • I remember people glad trump was the nominee in 2016. “He will be easy to beat”. What that get us?

    posted by Don’t count your chickens

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • ...well first, find-out if the 'warning had to do with attendanc, next lets' us expose the claim of "defamation/character & expose Cawthorne /w factual evidence = ie, who, what, where, when; all the luck & good vi brations to you lady!

    posted by AJA

    Tuesday, 04/19/2022

  • Conservative Christian women made it clear that they have no values when they spread their legs and screamed with joy when Trump said he was so famous and rich he could jam his fingers in their pussies any time he wanted. I'm sure he's absolutely disgusting, but I see no reason to believe anything Wiggins says, as she's already demonstrated she'll do anything for money.

    Cawthorn is an evil person; that's why malevolently evil human garbage like Wiggins went to work for him, and why he was voted in by conservatives.

    posted by Christine

    Monday, 04/18/2022

  • As other commenters have noted, Cawthorn is dishonest, uncaring, a con man, a cheat, a liar, a little lying grifter, a leech on the balls of this great state, an absolute trumptard douchebag, and a person totally unfit to do the job. All of which can be largely attributed to the fact that he’s (by his own admission). . .

    . . . BRAIN-INJURED!

    See Dr. Yattz below. . .

    posted by Sue Deaunym

    Monday, 04/18/2022

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