WASHINGTON — Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., used campaign funds to pay for her rent and utility bills, her campaign revealed in a new filing this week with the Federal Election Commission, first reported on by Forbes and The Denver Post.
The filing provided further detail on four Venmo payments Boebert had made in May and June, totaling $6,650, that had been described in a previous FEC report as personal expenses. In August, the FEC sent a letter to Boebert’s campaign flagging those disbursements as possibly constituting personal use of campaign funds and warning of possible legal action if she did not provide clarification.
A report her campaign submitted to the FEC on Tuesday specified that Boebert had made those four payments — two each of $2,000 and two each of $1,325 — to John Pacheco, and described them as rent and utilities “billed to [the] campaign via Venmo in error.” The report also noted that Boebert had reimbursed her campaign for those expenses, and that those reimbursements would be reported in the next FEC filing period.
In the report, Boebert’s campaign listed Pacheco’s address as 120 E. 3rd St. in Rifle, Colo. — the same address as Shooters Grill, a restaurant Boebert and her husband own, as well as a former marijuana dispensary next door that was converted into Boebert’s campaign office. However, no public records show Pacheco affiliated with that address. A deed shows Pacheco as the owner of a 2-bedroom town house on Capitol Hill, and interior pictures from a Zillow listing for that town house show elements that match the background from recent interviews Boebert has given from home.
Reached by phone Thursday, Pacheco confirmed Boebert was his tenant in Washington, D.C., but said he had “no idea” whether her rent money had been paid through her campaign or about anything regarding the amended FEC reports.
“I just collect the rent. I don’t know where the funds come from,” Pacheco told The Washington Post. He declined to comment further.
A representative for Boebert did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday or to questions seeking to clarify why her campaign had specified that her landlord’s address was the same as that of her restaurant and campaign office. Boebert spokesman Ben Stout told CNN that the funds “were reimbursed months ago when Rep. Boebert self-reported the error.”
An FEC spokeswoman said the agency could not comment on cases in connection with specific candidates and committees. In the agency’s Aug. 17 letter to Boebert’s campaign, the FEC said it could take further legal action if it was determined that Boebert had used campaign funds for personal use.
“However, prompt action to obtain reimbursements of the funds in question will be taken into consideration,” the FEC letter stated.
Boebert’s campaign finance reports have raised red flags in the past. Last year, Boebert’s campaign paid her $22,259 in mileage reimbursements, which The Denver Post calculated would have required Boebert drive 38,712 miles over a year “despite having no publicly advertised campaign events in March, April or July, and only one in May.”
At the time, Boebert’s campaign defended the exorbitant reimbursements, saying Boebert had “traveled to every nook and cranny of the district to speak with and hear from the people about their concerns.” She later contended that wildfires in the state had forced her “to take the long way” to some events, the Colorado Times Recorder reported.
Boebert also failed to disclose until August that her husband had made nearly $1 million from consulting for an energy firm in the past two years. Previously she had indicated her income had come from Shooters Grill, and only identified her husband’s income source as “N/A” on candidate filing forms.