Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) used campaign funds to pay her rent and energy bills, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission released this week, originally reported by Forbes and the Denver Post.
The submission offered more information about four Venmo payments totaling $6,650 made by Boebert in May and June, which had been classified as personal costs in a prior FEC report. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) wrote a notice to Boebert’s campaign in August, indicating that the disbursements could be considered personal use of campaign funds and threatening legal action if she did not give clarification.
Boebert made those four payments — two each of $2,000 and $1,325 — to John Pacheco, according to a report her campaign submitted to the FEC on Tuesday, and represented them as rent and utilities “billed to [the] campaign via Venmo in error.” Boebert had compensated her campaign for such expenses, according to the report, and the reimbursements will be recorded in the following FEC filing period.
Boebert’s campaign identified Pacheco’s location as 120 E. 3rd St. in Rifle, Colo., which is also the site of Shooters Grill, a restaurant owned by Boebert and her husband, and a former marijuana shop next door that was transformed into Boebert’s campaign office. Pacheco is not associated with that residence, according to public data. Pacheco is listed as the owner of a two-bedroom townhouse on Capitol Hill on a deed, and interior photos from a Zillow listing for the townhouse reveal components that match the background from recent interviews Boebert has given from his home.
When reached by phone on Thursday, Pacheco verified Boebert was his Washington tenant, but said he had “no idea” if her rent had been paid through her campaign or about the modified FEC reports.
“All I do is collect the rent.” Pacheco told The Washington Post, “I don’t know where the cash come from.” He didn’t want to say anything else.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) has told a false story about a fatal beating while defending her support for open-carry laws on numerous occasions. (The Washington Post/Adriana Usero)
A spokesperson for Boebert did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday, nor to inquiries about why her campaign listed her landlord’s location as the same as her restaurant and campaign headquarters. The monies were “reimbursed months ago when Rep. Boebert self-reported the error,” according to Ben Stout, a spokesman for Boebert.
According to an FEC spokesman, the agency is unable to comment on instances involving specific candidates or committees. The Federal Election Commission warned Boebert’s campaign on Aug. 17 that if it was discovered that he had used campaign funds for personal gain, it could face further legal action.
The FEC letter noted, “However, quick effort to collect repayments of the money in question will be taken into consideration.”
Boebert’s campaign financing disclosures have already raised red flags. Despite having no publicly advertised campaign events in March, April, or July, and only one in May, Boebert’s campaign paid her $22,259 in mileage reimbursements last year, according to the Denver Post, which would have required Boebert to drive 38,712 miles in a year.
Boebert’s team defended the astronomical reimbursements at the time, claiming that the candidate had “gone to every nook and crevice of the area to interact with and hear from the people about their concerns.” According to the Colorado Times Recorder, she later claimed that wildfires in the state prompted her to “take the long way” to several events.
Boebert also failed to report until August that her husband had made roughly $1 million in the previous two years from consulting for an energy firm. She had previously said that Shooters Grill was her source of income, and that her husband’s source of income was “N/A” on candidate filing papers.