The Spot: Boebert’s mileage reimbursement now the subject of a federal ethics complaint – The Denver Post

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U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s mileage reimbursement is now the subject of a formal complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Accountable.US, a liberal government watchdog group, asked investigators to look into large reimbursement payments Boebert received from her campaign account last year.

“Rep. Boebert’s curious campaign travel expenses warrant an immediate investigation by the (OCE),” wrote Kyle Herrig, the group’s president. “She has refused to provide exculpatory evidence to the public, so it is critical she is held to account for this potential abuse of campaign funds.”

The complaint cites a Denver Post article published Tuesday, which analyzed the reimbursements. Boebert’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the ethics complaint Thursday.

Boebert addressed the matter publicly for the first time Wednesday. On Twitter, she wrote that she drove often across a massive district during last year’s campaign, as the Post article notes. “Glad the media wrote a story about the hard work I put into my campaign,” she added.

Meanwhile, three Democratic challengers have entered the 2022 race to face her, an unusually high number one month into her term. For comparison, Boebert launched her 2020 campaign in December 2019, 11 months before Election Day. We’re 21 months away from the next election.

“Real toughness isn’t something you wear on your hip. It’s what you get done for people,” said state Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Vail-area Democrat, in a video launching her campaign Thursday.

MORE: Who’s Gregg Smith, another new Boebert challenger? 9News found out.

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Top Line

There’s been a 13% drop in calls to Colorado’s child abuse hotline — the only time it’s dropped year-to-year in the last five years. Find out why that’s the case during a pandemic.

Capitol Diary • By Alex Burness

Relax, election junkies

Because it’s never not Election Season these days, statehouse fixture Sen. Kerry Donovan’s entry into the 2022 race gives us a chance to discuss a number of statehouse Dems possibly eyeing the 3rd Congressional District seat. 

Rep. Dylan Roberts has been open about his interest, and politicos are curious whether any among a trio of lawmakers from Pueblo — former Rep. Bri Buentello, House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar and Senate President Leroy Garcia — might get involved, too.

We’ll see.

But here’s some advice for anyone paying attention to this seat: Don’t get too excited just yet.

Colorado’s legislative district lines will be redrawn this year, which means it’s entirely possible Donovan, Roberts or the Pueblo trio get drawn out of the new district. 

Redistricting can and probably will have statewide impact, and it’s no exaggeration to say that dozens of ambitious politicians are waiting to see where the new districts are before deciding their next moves. 

If and when Colorado gets its expected eighth Congressional district, you can bet on a free-for-all.

More Colorado political news

  • A survey found that half of Colorado parents can’t afford diapers. Four lawmakers, all young moms, told CBS Denver they’ll fix that this year.
  • A slew of Colorado towns and cities, including Denver, may be interested in ranked-choice voting for local races.
  • Immigrant rights are often debated at the Colorado statehouse, and Saja Hindi looked at how the landscape changed when President Joe Biden took office.
  • Not a politics story, per se, but in case it’s helpful: How to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Colorado

Mile High Politics • By Conrad Swanson

City Council vs. Mayor … maybe

U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper are recommending Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson to become the state’s next top prosecutor (official title: U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado). And that could set off a power struggle between the mayor and city council.

Mayor Michael Hancock appointed Bronson as city attorney in 2016 and should Biden appoint her as the state’s next U.S. attorney, Hancock will get to appoint her successor. 

The city attorney plays a substantial role behind the scenes in Denver. For example, this summer Bronson’s office dropped 320 criminal cases against those arrested for violating Hancock’s emergency curfew during the George Floyd protests. She is defending the city’s controversial camping ban in court, she oversees costly settlements and can revise city ordinances like the one that allows police to seize property.

Except now, the Denver City Council has approval authority over mayoral cabinet appointments thanks to voters’ 58% approval in November. Hancock had pushed back against the measure, and one other, tapping past council members to voice their opposition as well.

Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer, who proposed the measure that passed, said in July the move was meant to boost transparency between council members and appointees and build relationships.

Hancock is in his third and final term and his cabinet is full. But if Bronson jumps ship for a higher post, the game changes. 

Bronson’s promotion isn’t a sure bet, either. The senators also nominated former city attorney Cole Finegan and Hetal Doshi, former assistant U.S. attorney in Colorado. 

More Denver and suburban political news

  • Denver is reopening its emergency operations center to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and is now accepting applications for businesses hoping for eased restrictions. 
  • A new library branch proposed for RiNo would be unique among the city’s other branches, though Globeville-Elyria-Swansea residents say it ignores their needs entirely. 
  • The Metro Denver Homeless Initiative said it will cancel part of its annual count of the metro’s growing homeless population because of the pandemic. 

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