Republican representative Lauren Boebert has drawn reimbursements worth $22,000 for gas mileage used during her campaign for Congress in 2020, raising questions from ethics experts.
The Colorado GOP lawmaker wrote two cheques for a total of $22,259 from her campaign accounts for mileage between January and mid-November. The latest one is $21,199, after receiving reimbursement in March 2020, according to reports by The Denver Post and the local blog Colorado Pols.
Her massive reimbursements can also be seen in campaign finance data on the website OpenSecrets.
According to The Denver Post, in order to justify a reimbursement of such a big amount, Ms Boebert’s distance driven during the campaign has to be about 38,712 miles.
However, since her reimbursements came in two instalments, after the modest $1,060 at the end of March 2020, to justify her second reimbursement of $21,200 from 1 April to 3 November, she would have had to drive 36,870 miles in just over seven months.
The figure is extraordinarily high also keeping in mind that Ms Boebert had no publicly-advertised events in April or July, and only in May, The Denver Post noted.
“This highly unusual amount of mileage expenses raises red flags and the campaign should feel obligated to provide answers,” it quoted Kedric Payne, a former investigator for the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent body in Congress that examines misconduct allegations, as saying.
Candidates for federal office can legally reimburse themselves for miles driven in personal vehicles using the Internal Revenue Service’s mileage rate, which was 57.5 cents per mile for 2020.
The Colorado Pols also noted that Ms Boebert was “reimbursed” for a total of $30,177 in 2020, much higher than outgoing representative Scott Tipton who she defeated. Over the last 10 years, Mr Tipton’s reimbursements account for a total of $12,255 from his campaign.
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