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Colo. Lawmaker Paid Rent and Utilities with Campaign Funds — but Says She Reimbursed the 'Error'

·3 min read
Lauren Boebert
Lauren Boebert

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert

Freshman Colorado lawmaker Lauren Boebert — no stranger to controversy less than a year into her first term in the House of Representatives — is again facing scrutiny after amended campaign documents filed Tuesday showed that she paid her rent and utility bills using campaign funds, reimbursing the campaign months later.

Forbes reports that the series of campaign disbursements were originally made in a July FEC filing.

Those disbursements — totaling $6,650 — were made to Venmo and are described in the July document as: "Personal expense of Lauren Boebert billed to campaign account in error. Expense has been reimbursed."

In an amended FEC filing submitted Tuesday and reviewed by PEOPLE, the campaign offers more detail about those disbursements, which are now categorized as either "rent billed to campaign via Venmo in error" or "rent/utilities."

The filing notes that the payments were made to John Pacheco, whose address listed on the filing is also the location of Boebert's restaurant, Shooters Grill, in Rifle, Colorado.

A spokesman for Boebert tells PEOPLE that the lawmaker has already reimbursed the funds.

"The funds were reimbursed months ago when Rep. Boebert self-reported the error," he said in an email.

RELATED: Two Newly Elected GOP Reps. Are Stirring Controversy in Congress, Backing Trump's Conspiratorial Claims

While it is against the law to use campaign funds for personal use, it's unclear if Boebert will face any legal exposure, given that she says she paid a reimbursement.

As Forbes notes, the FEC said in an August letter that she could face "legal action" unless "prompt action" was taken to reimburse the funds.

"If it is determined that the disbursement(s) constitutes the personal use of campaign funds, the Commission may consider taking further legal action," the letter read. "However, prompt action to obtain reimbursement of the funds in question will be taken into consideration."

The 34-year-old Boebert, a Republican, has made a name for herself as a vocal, pro-Trump conservative and outspoken gun ownership advocate. She's also previously expressed belief in the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, making efforts to distance herself from the debunked theory in the months since her election.

RELATED: Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert Criticized for Fundraising Email Sent Right After Boulder Mass Shooting

Her provocative style has made waves.

She faced criticism in March when her campaign sent a fundraising email about the gun violence debate just hours after a mass shooting in her home state.

"I told Beto 'HELL NO' to taking our guns. Now we need to tell Joe Biden," the email's subject line read, according to a copy of the email shared by a reporter online.

It was sent shortly after a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket shooting that killed 10 people, and about two hours after Boebert sent her thoughts and prayers for the victims in a tweet.

In August, she again made headlines after reporting in a financial disclosure form that her husband made $478,000 while working as a consultant for an energy firm in 2019, information she did not disclose during her congressional campaign.

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