‘Substantial Reason’ To Believe GOP Lawmaker Misused Funds, Berated Staff, Ethics Panel Finds

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The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) said Monday that it had “substantial reason” to believe that Republican Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn misused official resources and solicited and accepted inappropriate gifts from his subordinates.

Investigators said that Lamborn’s staff consistently had to conduct personal errands for Lamborn and his family during work hours, while aides to the Republican said that they even had to help Lamborn’s son get a job in government.

Other staffers said they frequently had to run errands and cater to Lamborn’s wife, Jeanie. “If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy,” she allegedly said, according to an anonymous staffer’s account to investigators.

Following the detailed investigation, the OCE officially recommended that the House Ethics Committee look further into the allegations against Lamborn.

“The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” Reps. Ted Deutch of Florida and Jackie Walorski of Indiana, the chair and ranking member of the committee, said in a joint statement.

While the committee can report “substantial evidence of a violation of any law,” it mostly operates in an advisory role. However, it can also move the case before the whole House, which could vote to impose a fine, censure or worse.

The OCE report follows a federal lawsuit that Brandon Pope, a former Lamborn staffer, filed last spring. Pope alleged that Lamborn flouted COVID-19 precautions and created a physically unsafe environment for his staff.

The suit also alleged that Lamborn made his staff run errands for his family and that he let his son live in the Capitol basement.

Cassandra Sebastian, Lamborn’s communications director, said that the investigation was “overzealous” and that his own office was “biased” against him.

“It is extremely disappointing that two disgruntled former staffers have weaponized the ethics process for political and personal purposes,” Sebastian said. “Congressman Lamborn intends to cooperate fully with the bipartisan House Committee on Ethics, just as he did with all reasonable requests of the OCE. He remains certain the committee will ultimately reach the appropriate decision by dismissing the OCE’s referral and he expects to be fully exonerated.”

Lamborn has been in office since 2007, representing Colorado’s 5th congressional district. He is running for reelection in November.

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