U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign has publicly acknowledged that a prior campaign finance report — which raised ethical red flags and led to multiple requests for investigation — was inaccurate. Still, the campaign defended a large payment to the congresswoman.
On Feb. 2, The Denver Post reported that Boebert, a Republican from Silt, was paid more than $22,000 in mileage reimbursements from her campaign account, an unusually large amount that several ethics experts said raised questions. To justify the reimbursement, Boebert would have had to drive 38,712 miles last year during a pandemic that limited travel for several months.
Most of that money was paid on Nov. 11, when Boebert received $21,200 from her campaign coffers for mileage, according to her campaign’s original report, filed in December.
On Monday, Boebert’s campaign filed an amended report to the Federal Election Commission, reiterating that Boebert received $21,200 on Nov. 11 but claiming it was a reimbursement for mileage, travel expenses and hotel stays. Mileage accounted for $17,280 of the reimbursements, the campaign says.
“I represent one of the largest districts in the country and was proud to have driven to every nook and cranny in it to help win my election,” Boebert said in a statement Tuesday. “The reimbursement was for appropriate travel expenses, as reflected in the filing. We were happy to provide further detail. Nothing changes the reimbursable amount or the campaign’s operating expenses.”
Boebert called the controversy “much about nothing” and said it was generated to distract from Reps. Ilhan Omar and Maxine Waters, two Democratic congresswomen who have paid family members with campaign funds.
In the weeks before amending her campaign finance report, Boebert defended her own mileage reimbursements. She told radio station KHOW on Feb. 10 that she “absolutely” had documentation that showed she had driven the miles she was reimbursed for.
Boebert’s reimbursements and the Post’s reporting led to complaints this month with the FEC and the Office of Congressional Ethics, neither of which has said it will investigate. Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director of the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability, said Boebert’s amended report does not affect their FEC complaint that was filed Feb. 8.
“These expenses should have been disclosed in her December 3, 2020, report,” Kuppersmith said. “Either she didn’t keep the required mileage logs, or her treasurer didn’t ask for documentation before he reimbursed her for all of these expenses. The Boebert campaign has proven that its FEC reports are unreliable, so the FEC should properly audit the campaign to determine where else they may have failed to comply with the law.”
Kyle Herrig, president of the progressive government watchdog group Accountable.US, said the Boebert campaign’s amended filing does not affect an OEC complaint his group filed Feb. 4.
“Our request for a thorough ethics investigation stands,” Herrig said Tuesday.
Source: Read Full Article