Boebert Took Huge Mileage Reimbursements, Then Paid State Tax Liens
What a coincidence. Gun-toting Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert had her campaign reimburse her more than $21,000 for mileage in 2020 and restaurant-owning private citizen Lauren Boebert was able to pay off almost $20,000 in state tax liens less than two weeks before last November’s election.
Colorado Newsline examined records from the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder’s office and uncovered the fact that Boebert had failed to pay unemployment insurance premiums since opening her Shooters Grill restaurant in Rifle, Colo., in 2013. Between August 2016 and February 2020 Boebert was hit with eight liens by the Colorado Department of Labor and employment and owed $19,552.86, including interest and penalties.
There’s a curious correlation between the timing of the mileage reimbursements she reported on her campaign finance disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission and the timing and amounts paid to satisfy the state tax liens. County records show that Boebert, a Trump acolyte who campaigned on a law and order platform, paid three of the liens, totaling $553.50, on Feb. 13, 2020. Two weeks later, on March 31, 2020, she claimed mileage reimbursements of $1,059.62.
She paid the remaining five liens totaling $18,999.36 on Oct. 22. About two weeks later, on Nov. 11, her FEC forms shows a mileage reimbursement from her campaign for a whopping $21,199.52.
When that astronomical number was revealed in her financial disclosure form the skeptical began doing calculations and figured out that at the IRS-determined rate of $0.575 per mile she would have to have driven 55,302 miles in 2020 to justify those reimbursements. Due to the coronavirus pandemic Boebert had no campaign events in March, April or July and only one in May. The huge second payment in November means she would have had to have driven 36,870 in just seven months.
“This highly unusual amount of mileage expenses raises red flags and the campaign should feel obligated to provide answers,” Kedric Payne, a former investigator for the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body in Congress that examines misconduct allegations, told the Denver Post.
It’s unclear how Boebert and her restaurant could have come up with the cash from regular operations since restaurants in Garfield County for months have been limited to 25% indoor dining capacity in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
For context, consider that former GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing $150,000 in campaign funds to use for personal expenses. Other politicians have faced similar legal issues.