As Republican members of Congress go, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is generally not well known outside his district. The conservative Coloradan isn't a member of the leadership, he doesn't chair any committees, and his legislative record is largely limited to the Republican's efforts to cut off funding to NPR.
But Lamborn managed to make national news yesterday, thanks to a new lawsuit from one of his former aides. NBC News reported overnight:
A former staffer for U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn is suing the Colorado Republican for allegedly firing him for complaining about his "reckless and dangerous approach to Covid-19" in his congressional offices. The congressman's lackadaisical response wound up getting [Brandon Pope], Lamborn and numerous other employees infected with the virus, the lawsuit says.
Personnel troubles on Capitol Hill are not uncommon, and once in a while there will even be litigation, but the lawsuit filed by former Lamborn staffer Brandon Pope is a doozy.
The former aide alleged that the Republican congressman and his chief of staff "often mocked safety protocols such as measures to distance employees from each other and the use of masks, and they minimized COVID-related concerns."
The suit added, "Worse, when Lamborn and other senior members of his staff became infected with COVID-19 in the fall of 2020, Lamborn refused to implement or follow reasonable and responsible COVID-19 protocols, resulting in the widespread transmission of the virus throughout both the District and Washington, D.C. offices."
At one point, according to the lawsuit, the congressman said, in reference to his team, "Well, I don't care about you guys getting it."
When his aides started getting infected, Lamborn also allegedly told them to keep their ailments secret, even from those they'd been in direct contact with.
Pope, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan and who went to Capitol Hill as a Wounded Warrior fellow, was ultimately fired. The staffer was told his ouster was due to "an alleged lack of professionalism and abrasiveness," but Pope believes he was fired because he disagreed with Lamborn's alleged indifference to safeguards during a pandemic.
But wait, there's more. From the NBC News report:
The suit says Lamborn "consistently disregarded ethical rules and norms that apply to Members of Congress," including using staffers to do tasks for his wife and son, including moving furniture. The suit also says at one point, Lamborn "gave his son the necessary access to live in a storage area in the basement of the U.S. Capitol for a period of weeks" when the son was moving to Washington for work.
A spokesperson for the Colorado Republican denied the allegations raised in the lawsuit and said the congressman "looks forward to full vindication as all facts come to light."
Watch this space.