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Rep. Lauren Boebert received $22,000 worth of gas reimbursements while running for Congress

Business Insider India logoBusiness Insider India 03-02-2021 Jake Lahut,Madison Hall
a woman wearing a hat and sunglasses: Rep. Lauren Boebert received $22,000 worth of gas reimbursements while running for Congress © Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images Rep. Lauren Boebert received $22,000 worth of gas reimbursements while running for Congress
  • A freshman congresswoman from Colorado had an eye-popping reimbursement from her 2020 campaign.
  • Rep. Lauren Boebert racked up more than $22,000 in gas mileage, despite minimal public events.
  • That's more in reimbursements than her predecessor had in 10 years.

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado raked in an eye-popping total of more than $22,000 in gas-mileage reimbursements from her campaign for Congress in 2020.

The rather large sum, which can be seen in campaign-finance data on the website OpenSecrets, was first reported by The Denver Post and the local blog Colorado Pols.

While Boebert amassed a total of $2,989,510 in her campaign for office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the gas-reimbursement figure is remarkably high given the travel habits of her predecessor on the campaign trail and her relative lack of events during the pandemic.

Boebert's gas reimbursement dwarfs the amount Rep. Scott Tipton spent on travel while campaigning in the same district for a decade. Before Boebert defeated Tipton in last year's GOP primary for the seat, he claimed a total of $9,797 for travel over 10 years, including airfare, according to The Denver Post.

Candidates for federal office are allowed to legally reimburse themselves for miles driven in their personal vehicles using the Internal Revenue Service's mileage rate. In 2020, the rate was 57.5 cents per mile.

Boebert's $22,000 in gas money would mean she drove almost 39,000 miles while hitting the stump in the middle of a pandemic that left many public venues shut down.

That's enough gas to cover 14 trips between the Seattle Space Needle and Capitol Hill, or about 1.5 trips around the circumference of Earth.

But for all that mileage, The Denver Post found "no publicly advertised campaign events in March, April or July, and only one in May."

Boebert split the reimbursements into two payments, with the second one totaling $21,000 on November 11. If she used only the first payment of $1,060 for gas before April, that would mean she put up at least 36,870 miles of campaign travel between the beginning of April and early November.

a person sitting at a table © RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Boebert, who touted her experience as a small-business owner while decrying the waste in Congress, is the owner of Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado. According to the restaurant's website, one of the most expensive items on the menu is the "smoked prime rib," which costs $24.99. In other words, Boebert's reimbursement is worth 890 prime-rib meals (but only on Saturdays when the menu item is available).

The representative from Colorado is well-known for her passion for firearms and encourages all of her waitstaff to openly carry guns during working hours. Boebert was criticized in 2015 when a 17-year-old waitress said she was allowed to carry a firearm at work despite being underage.

Boebert recently took heat from her colleagues after she tried to flip the results of the presidential election on January 6 when Congress was certifying Electoral Votes. During her objection on the House floor, Boebert said she had supporters outside the Capitol building.

"I have constituents outside this building right now," Boebert said. "I promised my voters to be their voice."

Soon after, the Capitol was breached by violent rioters, which led to the deaths of five people, including a police officer.

Since the Capitol insurrection, the House implemented new security measures, including a metal detector for its members. Boebert initially refused to go through the detectors and was later allowed inside the chamber.

Boebert's congressional office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Her campaign manager and finance director did not respond to The Denver Post's requests for comment, nor did they provide evidence of her driving 39,000 miles on the campaign trail. The Boebert campaign released a statement that did not directly address the campaign-finance issue or the veracity of the travel total.

"She traveled to every nook and cranny of the district to speak with and hear from the people about their concerns," the campaign said in a statement to The Denver Post. "They say showing up is 90% of the battle and Lauren always showed up. Her aggressive travel schedule is a big reason she won."

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