Lauren Boebert accused of misusing campaign money (again)

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert faces allegations that she misspent campaign funds, this time ahead of the 2022 election.

Boebert is accused of exceeding campaign finance limits or improperly reporting nearly $60,000 spent on campaign calls and texts, potentially in support of her own reelection campaign, which she narrowly won against Democratic challenger Adam Frisch.

In short, the complaint – filed this month by End Citizens United, a left-leaning political action committee – claims that Boebert either used her own political action committee’s money to benefit her reelection campaign, exceeding federal spending limits more than ten times over, or that she used that money to influence a different campaign and failed to report the spending appropriately.

The accusations mark at least the third time Boebert, of Silt, has been accused of misspending campaign funds. First, the congresswoman paid herself more than $22,000 from her campaign account in 2020 for mileage expenses, which means she would have driven nearly 39,000 miles while campaigning. And then the Federal Election Commission found that she illegally paid rent and utility bills with campaign money. She ultimately reimbursed the campaign for those payments, worth $6,650.

The latest complaint centers around Boebert’s official campaign (Lauren Boebert for Congress) and her political action committee (We the People Leadership PAC), both of which are controlled by her campaign treasurer Taylor Moose.

For context, political action committees face looser fundraising and spending regulations than official campaigns. The committees are still only allowed to contribute up to $5,000 to an official campaign each election cycle.

In October and November, Boebert’s PAC made two payments to a marketing firm – Telephone Townhall Meeting Inc. – totaling $59,981.73 to call or text voters, campaign finance filings show. The description for those expenditures is listed as “VOTER CONTACT – GOTV CALLS/TEXTS.”

GOTV is likely an acronym for “get out the vote.”

Boebert’s official campaign also reported spending money with Telephone Townhall Meeting Inc. on the same day as one of her PAC’s expenditures.

“Given the proximity of the communications to the election, the cost of the disbursement, and the purpose of the disbursement for ‘Voter Contact – GOTV Calls/Texts,’ it seems likely that the text messages and voter contact phone calls mentioned candidates or political parties and may have run in Boebert’s congressional district,” the complaint says.

Similarly, the complaint says that because Boebert’s official campaign and her PAC spent money with the advertising company on the same day, the relationship even more strongly suggests that the PAC’s spending was meant to support her campaign or other candidates.

“The fact that Boebert’s principal campaign committee paid the same vendor, on the same date – October 28, 2022 – for text message advertising, further suggests that the leadership PAC’s disbursement was either a contribution to Boebert’s campaign or an independent expenditure in support of Boebert and other candidates,” the complaint says.

That nearly $60,000 in advertising either counts as an in-kind contribution to Boebert’s own campaign, which would violate the $5,000 federal spending limit, according to Bawadden Sayed, spokesperson for End Citizens United, or the congresswoman used that money to influence another campaign and never reported it.

“Federal law requires a report detailing where the money went and whom it was spent on,” Sayed said.

The complaint asks federal officials to investigate the expenditures and, if they find a violation, to fine Boebert the “maximum amount permitted by law.”

Ultimately Boebert won reelection in November by just 546 votes, the closest House race in the country for that cycle. Her opponent during the midterms, Adam Frisch, has already announced that he’ll run against her again in 2024 and is outpacing the congresswoman’s early fundraising efforts.

Representatives for Boebert’s campaign criticized the complaint as a partisan attack from a far-left special interest group and noted that the congresswoman has not yet been contacted by Federal Elections Commission representatives.

FEC officials told The Denver Post they cannot comment on complaints filed with the agency.

Boebert’s campaign representatives also argued that the complaint does not contain evidence of any violation “but instead recklessly states that certain expenditures could be a ‘potential’ violation.”

Source: Read Full Article