COLORADO SPRINGS — Rep. Doug Lamborn, who represents Colorado's 5th District, is being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for possibly misusing official resources for personal reasons.
The OCE released a reportthat contains several allegations that the congressman "solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates."
Many of the allegations have to do with Rep. Lamborn's wife, Jeanie Lamborn. The report indicates that staffers had to run "personal errands," for Mrs. Lamborn, such as moving furniture. Although several of the witnesses, who are current or former staff members, said that they did so voluntarily.
The congressman also stated in an interview that he does not believe his wife would have "knowingly" committed ethics violations.
"We try to follow the rules very carefully and very sincerely," said Rep. Lamborn.
Mrs. Lamborn serves as the congressman's campaign manager and has a House of Representatives email account. The report acknowledges that while it's not unusual for spouses to play a role in congressional offices, "evidence obtained by the OCE indicated that Mrs. Lamborn had a role in the office that exceeded what is permissible for spouses."
In the report, a former staffer said that Rep. Lamborn’s Chief of Staff, Dale Anderson, made it clear that “Mrs. Lamborn had precedence and that, if -- no matter -- there were certain things that we were doing that were -- we needed all hands helping, and she would always overrule those situations still..... He would explain that, and then Mrs. Lamborn would say, 'if mama ain't happy, nobody's happy...'”
The OCE's report also zones in on an incident regarding the congressman's son as he sought out a job at the Pentagon. The report states that "current and former staffers recall being asked by Rep. Lamborn and Mrs. Lamborn to assist their son with the federal job application process." The congressman said that his son received "the same assistance in the job hiring process an ordinary constituent would benefit from."
A former staffer said he was instructed to help the congressman's son with "whatever he needed regarding the federal job application process." These tasks included reviewing his resume, evaluating federal job postings, and assisting with mock interview questions. The OCE asked the staffer if they would've done these tasks with ordinary constituents, they replied that they would not.
Another incident the report mentions involved staffers saying they were instructed to throw a party for the congressman's daughter-in-law when she became a naturalized citizen in 2020.
The report states that "when asked about his daughter-in-law’s party, Rep. Lamborn stated he did not recall whether he attended the celebration or not. He also stated that the celebration was his staff’s idea and that he did not instruct his staff to plan a party."
The report also lists a concern about the congressman receiving gifts from staffers. The congressman did acknowledge that he receives gifts on a regular basis from staffers in both offices, according to the report.
Rep. Lamborn stated that “[i]t’s been fairly regular, not uniform though, to be -- to receive a surprise Christmas present. And we will kind of do the same for our staff.”
However, OCE said that the congressman and his wife received gifts with values ranging from $150-$200, whereas current staffers said they "did not receive gifts with the same frequency or of equal or similar value to that of the Lamborns."
A witness also said that giving a gift to the Lamborns was considered an expectation, and when they did not want to give a gift they received "negative pushback."
Rep. Lamborn's spokeswoman, Cassandra Sebastian, released a rebuttal statement which says in part:
"Congressman Lamborn is confident in the professional approach the House Committee on Ethics is taking to review the information collected by the overzealous Office of Congressional Ethics. Our office has demonstrated to the OCE in our rebuttal that these false and unfounded allegations have no merit. It is extremely disappointing that two disgruntled former staffers have weaponized the ethics process for political and personal purposes. Congressman Lamborn intends to cooperate fully with the bi-partisan 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."
The Committee on Ethics announced they would continue to gather information and review the allegations.
Lamborn has served in Congress since 2007. He previously served in the Colorado House and Senate for a combined 12 years before heading to Washington D.C. The district he represents covers El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Park, and Chaffee counties.
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