Rep. Lauren Boebert has trotted out standard right-wing pablum when it comes to climate from bizarre Green New Deal rants to lies about hamburgers to trying to block the U.S. from reentering the Paris Agreement as one of her first official acts in Congress. She also introduced legislation to ban moratoriums on oil and gas drilling. Now, we may have a clearer idea why aside from the usual brainworms.
New finance documents filed by her office this week reveal that her husband earned $478,000 from an oil and gas company last year, and $460,000 from the same company in 2019—information that she conveniently left off her campaign disclosure forms last year when she was running for office in a district where that company has a large presence.
Even though campaign finance laws require candidates and elected officials to disclose sources of income and other conflicts of interest in order to keep voters in the loop with regards to who they’re voting for, it looks like Boebert wasn’t totally honest during her campaign last year by neglecting to report this pretty hefty chunk of cash. In her filing last year, she instead reported that her husband was a “consultant” and didn’t provide any information about his industry or income; her forms instead seemed to suggest that her family’s primary source of money was a restaurant called Shooters Grill. (The grill is in a town called Rifle, and Shooters’ website says it’s “famous for it’s [sic] armed waitresses,” a sentence that makes me want to go lay down for a while. )
The new disclosures about her husband’s income, first reported by the AP, come as the Federal Elections Commission is looking into some transactions Boebert’s campaign made last year. “The spouse is supposed to disclose the source of all earned income and this doesn’t add up with what was in the prior filing,” Kedric Payne, who used to work at the Office of Congressional Ethics who now works at the Campaign Legal Center, told the AP. Another thing this disclosure form reveals: Shooters Grill lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2019 and 2020, so makes sense that the Boebert family would have a nice cushion of oil and gas money.
The disclosure lists the money as coming from Terra Energy Productions, which doesn’t seem to exist. However, Terra Energy Partners, a company based out of Houston, describes itself on its website as “the largest operator in the Piceance Basin”—which sits squarely in Boebert’s district in western Colorado. There, the company says it produces an “average of 500 million cubic feet of gas per day.”
The firm also kicked $250,000 in 2018 to the ironically named Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy, and Energy, a PAC funded by oil and gas interests, according to Open Secrets data. The PAC has pushed for looser regulations for the industry that would, among other things, have negative consequences on public health.
It’s an enlightening insight into Boebert’s life—and makes some of her stances and obsessions perhaps a little clearer. Throughout the spring, Boebert seemed determined to single out a specific Biden appointee at the Interior Department, Elizabeth Klein. She previously worked at New York University’s State Energy and Environmental Impact Center, which right-wing media have claimed is funded by Michael Bloomberg (he’s made general contributions to NYU). Boebert and two other lawmakers sent a letter to the Department of the Interior in June demanding to see copies of Klein’s ethics pledge and memo on her possible conflicts (which all federal staffers are required to sign and submit), citing concerns about her role at the Department of the Interior conflicting with her past work. During a May hearing on the West’s drought—which has greatly impacted Boebert’s district—Boebert used her time to accuse Klein of “slither[ing] her way into a high-level position at the department that doesn’t require the scrutiny of a public confirmation process” while calling her an “extremist partisan hack.” Do as I say, not as I do, Lauren!
This weird focus on one political appointee aside, Boebert simply loves to use climate as a rhetorical device on Twitter—and has also tweeted a lot about the importance of oil and gas jobs. While we agree that a just transition can’t happen without bringing oil and gas workers into the fold, it’s helpful to know that the husband of one of the biggest boosters of this message in the House is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars from that same industry.