Group requests ethics probe of Boebert’s travel expenses | Western Colorado

A formal complaint to investigate U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s travel reimbursements has been filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Account.US, a left-leaning government watchdog group, has asked the office’s chairman, former Colorado U.S. Rep. David Skaggs, a Democrat, to launch an investigation into Boebert’s congressional campaign for reimbursing her more than $22,000 for mileage expenses.

In order for Boebert to justify that amount, which is about $3,000 more than what former U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, whom she defeated in last year’s GOP primary, reimbursed himself for all of his 10 years in Congress, she would have had to travel more than 38,700 miles in a seven-month period.

That’s enough to circumnavigate the entire Earth more than one and a half times.

Boebert announced her candidacy for congress in December 2019.

“This purported travel was in the midst of a pandemic and she had no publicly advertised campaign events during several months of the campaign,” Account.US President Kyle Herring wrote to Skaggs on Thursday.

“Rep. Boebert’s curious campaign travel expenses warrant an immediate investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics,” Herring added. “She has refused to provide exculpatory evidence to the public, so it is crucial she is held to account for this potential abuse of campaign funds.”

While Boebert’s travel reimbursement has been known for some time — it was first reported by the left-leaning blog ColoradoPols in December — the complaint wasn’t prompted until The Denver Post published a story on it earlier this week.

In that article, the Post had three campaign finance ethics experts examine the reimbursements, including a former investigator for the ethics office. Boebert actually had two travel reimbursements last year, one for $1,060 in March and another for $21,200 in November, after she won the election.

Boebert defended the reimbursements on Thursday.

“My district is one of the largest in the country,” the congresswomen tweeted. “Rather than campaign from my basement, I went to meet my constituents face to face.

“Glad the media wrote a story about the hard work I put into my campaign,” she added. “It’s that same energy I’ve brought to represent those who elected me!”

As a comparison, U.S. Rep. Don Young, a Republican whose district includes the entire state of Alaska, only reimbursed himself $9,965, including airfare, from his campaign account last year, the Post reported.

Using global positioning software and cataloging the 80 public events Boebert had listed on her campaign’s Facebook page — and conservatively assuming she returned to her Silt home after each event — the Post story said she could only have traveled about 17,623 miles between the months of April to November.

And based on the 57.5-cent per mile reimbursement rate set by the Internal Revenue Service, that amounts to more than $10,000.

Boebert’s campaign told he Post she had far more events last year than were listed on the Facebook page.

According to her latest campaign finance filing with the Federal Election Committee last month, Boebert expensed nearly $714 in 41 Uber rides between Nov. 24 and Dec. 31 last year while she was in Washington, D.C., going through freshman orientation in Congress.

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