IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

GOP's Boebert becomes controversial for entirely new reasons

This week has proven to be a difficult one for the Colorado Republican for reasons that have nothing to do with her fringe beliefs or political tactics.
Image: House Freedom Caucus Members Hold News Conference On Immigration And The Southern Border
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., attends a news conference with members of the House Freedom Caucus about immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border outside the U.S. Capitol on March 17, 2021.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

By most measures, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) was already one of Congress' most controversial members, despite only having arrived on Capitol Hill earlier this year. The right-wing congresswoman has expressed interest in the crackpot QAnon delusion, for example, and in her first week as a lawmaker, she tweeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) whereabouts during the Jan. 6 insurrectionist riot.

A week later, the congresswoman's communications director quit -- less then two weeks into Boebert's first term.

In the months that followed, the Colorado Republican has stood out in predictable ways, with Dana Milbank writing a column in June describing Boebert as being "lost in a cacophony of crazy."

But the last few days have proven to be especially difficult for the GOP representative for reasons that have nothing to do with her fringe beliefs or political tactics. CNBC reported on Wednesday, for example, that the Federal Election Commission has questions about Boebert's "apparent personal use of thousands of dollars in campaign funds."

At issue are a series of Venmo payments that, according to the congresswoman's office, were "billed to the campaign account in error" and have since been reimbursed. The FEC analyst nevertheless told the Boebert campaign's treasure to "inform the Commission of your corrective action immediately in writing and provide photocopies of any refund checks and/or letters reattributing or redesignating the contributions in question."

A day later, the Washington Post reported on an entirely different controversy:

When Lauren Boebert, the gun-toting Republican firebrand, was running for Congress last year, she traced her income to Shooters Grill, a restaurant she and her husband own in Rifle, Colo. She suggested her husband also did some consulting, listing "Boebert Consulting — spouse" on her candidate form, but identified his income source as "N/A." Only now, with Boebert not just in Congress but on the House Natural Resources Committee, has she revealed that her husband made $478,000 last year working as a consultant for an energy firm.

It's not unusual for members of Congress to have family members who work in a variety of capacities for assorted industries, many of which relate in some way to federal policymaking. In this instance, the fact that the Coloradan is married to energy consultant is not, in and of itself, notable.

What makes Boebert's situation controversial are the relevant details: she's spent much of her first year on Capitol Hill pushing proposals to benefit the energy industry without disclosing the fact that her husband made nearly $1 million through energy consulting.

The Post's report added:

Federal law requires members of Congress, as well as candidates, to file financial disclosure statements that include the income and assets of spouses and dependent children. Boebert's failure to report her husband's income from energy consulting plainly violates that requirement, said Kedric Payne, senior director of ethics for the Campaign Legal Center and a former deputy chief counsel in the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Time will tell what, if anything, comes of the matter, but a House Ethics Committee investigation seems awfully likely given the circumstances.