(Moar miles! All the miles! No receipts necessary! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) actually deserves much more than the $22,260 she had initially paid herself for miles-driven during her successful election campaign, says her former campaign manager.
“The truth is, Congresswoman Boebert could have claimed even MORE miles!!!!” wrote Sherronna Bishop, who goes by “America’s Mom,” on Facebook Feb. 3.
Bishop’s Facebook post has surfaced just as Boebert’s office decreased the number of miles used to justify the congresswoman’s $22,260 reimbursement. The campaign added hotel expenses, which had not been previously included. The $22,260 Boebert paid herself, now including $17,280 for miles, remains the same.
“We drove 25,000 miles during the primary alone,” wrote Bishop on Facebook.
“The third district is massive,” wrote Bishop, who managed Boebert’s primary campaign. “5 hours one way to Pueblo, another 5 back up to Jackson County… then another 4 over to Cortez, CO. And these ‘circle back’ (sorry) trips happened weekly. For nine months. Then came the general election.”
Bishop didn’t say specifically how many more miles Boebert could have claimed, but at the Internal Revenue Services’ mileage reimbursement rate of 57.5 cents per mile, the Congresswoman could have asked for as much as $14,375 for the alleged 25,000 miles driven during the primary.
The primary took place June 30, and Boebert announced her campaign in early December, so she would have driven the 25,000 miles over an approximately seven-month primary period, not nine months as cited by Bishop.
I was unable to reach Bishop or Boebert, so it’s impossible to know how many of the alleged 25,000 miles Boebert paid herself for. Boebert claimed a mileage reimbursement check of $1,060 at the end of March, which would cover approximately 1,843 miles driven during the primary, leaving 23,157 miles that could have been driven between April 1 and the June 30 primary. Some of these remaining 23,157 miles, possibly driven from April through the June primary election, could have been included in her November reimbursement check of $21,200.
Reporters were unable to figure out how Boebert could have driven enough miles (approximately 38,870) to justify the $22,260 total reimbursements (in March and November), even without taking into account Bishop’s statement that the congresswoman actually under-reported her miles driven.
The congresswoman’s mileage payment is the subject of a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Still, Boebert and Bishop have both argued that criticism from reporters and ethics experts of the large reimbursement figure isn’t justified.
“The bias, the slander, the false allegations. It’s disgusting, but not unexpected,” wrote Bishop on Facebook in reference to the criticism of Boebert’s $22,260 payment to herself.
For her part, Beobert had made no mention of hotel expenses in defending her $22,260 reimbursement, before her campaign reduced the miles and added the hotel costs.
“If someone official comes to you and says, ‘Can you show us where you kept records of your mileage,’ you got something you can hand them?” KHOW radio host Ross Kaminsky asked Boebert Feb. 11, before Boebert reduced the number of miles claimed.
“I absolutely have,” replied Boebert.
According to the Federal Elections Committee (FEC), candidates do not need to provide receipts or other proof of travel when submitting reimbursements but must save receipts for their own records for three years following. Large travel expenses over $500 require a report including the name of the vendor.
Colo Times Recorder freelance writer Gabrielle Bye contributed to this posst.