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Colorado officials to examine Rep. Lauren Boebert's mileage reimbursements during 2020 campaign

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Representative Lauren Boebert faces criticism for heckling during State of the Union address 11:48

Washington — A pair of Colorado agencies are examining claims from a political organization that GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert falsified mileage records from her time on the campaign trail in 2020 to reimburse herself and use the political contributions to satisfy state tax liens on her restaurant. 

The review from state officials comes in response to a request from the organization American Muckrakers PAC, which was behind efforts to oust GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn from office. The group said it uncovered information indicating Boebert used money that was "obtained illegally" to pay off $20,000 in tax liens placed by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment on her business, Shooters Grill. 

The Denver Post first reported in February 2021 that Boebert used campaign dollars to pay herself more than $22,000 in mileage reimbursements.

"As you are both fully aware, utilizing an illegal source of funds or ill-gotten funds to pay off a tax lien is illegal in Colorado and under federal law," American Muckrakers PAC's president, David Wheeler, wrote in a June 1 letter to the state labor department and Colorado attorney general. "In other words, you cannot use federal campaign funds to pay off your tax liens by reimbursing yourself for miles you didn't drive. That is the very definition of ill-gotten funds. We believe Rep. Boebert did exactly this."

In a statement, Boebert said the effort by American Muckrakers PAC was "another swing and miss from a partisan political group."

"These false charges from 2020 have already been dismissed by the Federal Election Commission and disproven by the press," she said. "I represent over 50,000 square miles of Colorado; I connect with the people I serve rather than sitting at home in a basement like most Leftists."

According to the group, Boebert accumulated eight tax liens between August 2016 and February 2020 that were filed for failure to pay Colorado unemployment premiums on her restaurant. The liens totaled $20,000 and all were satisfied and released as of October 2020.

Boebert also reimbursed herself nearly $21,200 from her campaign in November 2020, according to campaign finance records, equal to roughly 38,000 miles driven, or about 13,000 miles longer than the circumference of the Earth. The campaign later amended filings with the Federal Election Commission to list more than $17,000 in a mileage reimbursement.

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Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks at a press conference at the Capitol on June 8, 2022. Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

Citing "knowledge we've received" and information from public records, Wheeler told the state officials in his letter that his group believes Boebert used money that was unlawfully obtained to pay off the tax liens.

"If the source of funds was indeed illegal, then the matter should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for further investigation and prosecution, the tax liens reimposed, and Rep. Boebert held to account for her actions by the laws of Colorado or the United States," he said.

American Muckrakers PAC said it received an email from Janet Drake, Colorado's deputy attorney general, on Tuesday notifying him that the state Department of Law "requested investigative support" from the Colorado Department of Revenue and Department of Labor and Employment.

"We will collaborate with those agencies to investigate the issue you raised," she wrote in the email to Wheeler. 

In a statement in response to the action from the state attorney general, Wheeler lambasted Boebert, calling her a "clown that can't even pay her employees money owed to them or pay the appropriate taxes."

"Anyone that uses donor money to pay their taxes is not fit to hold public office," he said.

Boebert was elected to represent Colorado's 3rd Congressional District in November 2020 and has come under criticism across her first term in Congress, including for heckling President Biden during his State of the Union address in March and making inflammatory comments about her Democratic colleagues. 

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