Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) has come under investigation from several state agencies over her alleged misuse of campaign funds, the New York Times reported today.
Boebert allegedly used campaign funds to reimburse herself for $22,259 in mileage—a sum strikingly similar to the $20,000 she paid in tax liens for her previous failure to pay unemployment premiums on her restaurant, Shooters Grill. The allegations were brought to the Colorado attorney general’s office by the American Muckrakers PAC, which recently tanked Madison Cawthorn’s congressional run.
“Had Representative Boebert paid her restaurant staff properly and also paid the unemployment premiums to the State of Colorado, an investigation never would have been necessary,” David B. Wheeler, one of the PAC’s founders, told the Times.
As I reported last month, five former Shooters employees told me that Boebert did not pay them on time. Several said that they were paid in cash without taxes deducted.
In April, I spoke with Scott McInnis, who represented Boebert’s district from 1993 to 2005 and now serves as Mesa County Commissioner. At the time, McInnis shrugged off the allegations that Boebert had misused campaign funds. “I remember when they made a big wahoo out of the mileage she submitted for reimbursement or something. I just chuckled,” he told me, adding that the district is so big that a representative could easily rack up thousands of miles driving to campaign events.
But local news outlets suggest that the 38,712 miles Boebert purports to have traveled is an outrageous sum, even in Colorado’s huge 3rd District. As the Times reports, Boebert’s campaign later said that the mileage reimbursement included other expenses, like hotel rooms. It also claims that she paid off the tax liens before the reimbursements reacher her account.