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The Associated Press on Wednesday revealed that U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Republican who represents the western two-thirds of Eagle County and most of the rest of the Colorado’s Western Slope, either intentionally or unintentionally misled voters on how her husband, Jayson Boebert, earned his money in 2019 and 2020.
Turns out Jayson Boebert over those two years raked in nearly $1 million in consulting fees from Terra Energy Partners, an oil and gas company seeking permits for 17 new gas wells just outside of Rifle, where Lauren Boebert owns and runs her pistol-packing Shooters Grill restaurant.
That prompted a review of what will likely be the one-and-only RealVail.com interview with Boebert, who, now that’s she’s been elected to Congress, only appears on far-right media outlets. Conducted by phone in May of 2020, before she shocked the world by ousting five-term Republican Scott Tipton in the primary, Lauren Boebert said her husband was a contract natural-gas-worker on the one rig that was up and running in Garfield County at the time.
After discovering she and husband, who was arguably in a very risky field, hadn’t had health insurance for three years – along with with their four sons – RealVail.com produced a CD3 preview for Colorado Politics focusing on health care, then a primary Q&A on energy and other issues for RealVail.com, and finally a Q&A on Lauren Boebert’s outside-the-mainstream Second Amendment positions.
Here’s what Lauren Boebert said about Jayson Boebert’s employment in that May of 2020 phone interview with RealVail.com:
“We’re a family of six and we haven’t had health insurance for, gosh, maybe three years, maybe more than that. We had it temporarily after Obamacare for a little bit but it was, it was cheaper for us to pay the fines even as they increased annually. It was still cheaper for us to pay the fines and then take care of anything else out of pocket. He works in the natural gas industry. He’s on that one rig that’s drilling West of the Mississippi right now. No, he’s a contractor.”
The Colorado Sun on Friday confirmed Jayson Boebert “provided contract drilling services as an on-site drilling foreman to Terra since 2017,” according to Terra Energy’s head of human resources. The website also reported Lauren Boebert’s name is on business forms filed with the state by Jayson Boebert’s company, Boebert Consulting.
In a September, 2020, RealVail.com story on the CORE Act, a proposed wilderness bill that would protect 200,000 acres of federal land in the Thompson Divide area near Carbondale from oil and gas drilling, a Boebert campaign spokeswoman failed to correct the assertion that Boebert’s husband was a contract oil and gas worker. The spokeswoman, Laura Carno, also didn’t address Jayson Boebert’s work situation in several email exchanges seeking clarification on the Boebert’s health insurance status and Lauren Boebert’s positions on health care in general.
Now contrast all of that with what Lauren Boebert revealed in very belated filing with the Federal Elections Commission on Tuesday. Here’s an excerpt from Wednesday’s AP story:
DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert’s husband made $478,000 last year working as a consultant for an energy firm, information that was not disclosed during Boebert’s congressional campaign and only reported in her financial disclosure forms filed this week.
In paperwork filed with the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the Republican congresswoman reported that her husband, Jayson Boebert, received the money as a consultant to “Terra Energy Productions” in 2020, and earned $460,000 as a consultant for the firm in 2019.
Boebert did not report the income last year, when she stunned the political world by ousting incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton during the GOP primary in Colorado’s sprawling 3rd district, which stretches from ski resorts to energy-rich basins in the state’s west. Boebert went on to win the general election in the Republican-leaning district.
Ethics and campaign finance laws require candidates and members of Congress to disclose sources of their immediate family’s income, along with major investments and assets, to let voters evaluate potential conflicts of interest. Boebert has been a defender of the energy industry, which is very active in her district.
Boebert’s disclosure of additional household income came as the Federal Elections Commission this week asked her campaign for information about a series of campaign transactions. The FEC sought explanation of why the campaign sent Boebert $6,000 via Venmo in four separate transactions on May 3 and June 3. The campaign told the FEC the transactions were errors and have been refunded.
In her previous filing, Boebert reported her income as coming from a gun-themed restaurant she and her husband run in Rifle, Colorado, and an affiliated smokehouse. Boebert also listed “Boebert Consulting — spouse” on the candidate form, but listed her husband’s income source as “N/A.”
Kedric Payne, a former deputy chief counsel in the Office of Congressional Ethics who now works at the Campaign Legal Center, said Boebert should have fully disclosed the sources of her husband’s income 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,” Payne said,
“Mr. Boebert has worked in energy production for 18 years and has had Boebert Consulting since 2012,” Ben Stout, the congresswoman’s deputy chief of staff, said in an email. “For any other questions regarding the congresswoman’s finances, I’d refer you to the disclosure she filed.”
There is no company called Terra Energy Productions registered with the state. But Terra Energy Partners, a Houston-based firm that boasts it is “one of the largest producers of natural gas in Colorado,” has a heavy presence in Boebert’s district. The company did not return a call for comment.
No here’s more on what Lauren Boebert had to say on energy issues versus outdoor recreation and tourism in her district during that May of 2020 phone interview with RealVail.com:
“There’s so many people who depend on tourism and really make that a priority for how our economy is stabilized. But, for me, it’s always been the energy industry. And I have been very critical of Congressman Tipton and the way he doesn’t fight for our energy here. When it’s election season, he always has a great conservative message for us, saying that our energy industry is the greatest, it’s the cleanest, our workers are the best, the safest, and that’s true. However, he goes to Washington, D.C. and he promotes the Green New Deal. He co-sponsored a bill with Jared Polis a few years back, cuddled up to him with this Green New Deal idea to subsidize wind and solar on our federal lands, and I’m not for that. When government wants to take our energy industry away and subsidize solar panels, then that’s not the way to go. We just don’t want the government choosing winners and losers. I want free markets. I want markets to be open and to promote free trade and create opportunities for people, because good paying jobs in rural areas are much harder to come by. I am for an all of the above energy approach. I just want the market to decide, not government. So if our markets decide that thousands of square miles of solar panels are what’s best for us, then so be it. But I don’t want government being the one to step in and say, Hey, don’t worry, we’re going to help you out here on the cost. And then that incentivizes these companies to go that direction.”
RealVail.com then asked Boebert about the massive tax breaks and subsidies oil and gas and coal companies have enjoyed for more than a century.
“I don’t know about the subsidies that they get. They’re supporting our economy here. They are paying us. The tax revenue that comes from them is tremendous and absolutely supports us. The Garfield County commissioners, who have now backed off of this idea since they stated it, they said, you know, our tax revenues are down because natural gas is pulling out of here, it seems like a better time than ever to raise taxes. And they would’ve a fight on their hand if they would have continued down that road because they’re not the only ones hurting from those tax revenues being gone. We have jobs that are lost because natural gas has pulled out of here. We have one rig drilling here, one, and I believe that is the only rig drilling west of the Mississippi.”
A drilling rig that at the time she said her husband was working on as a contractor, not a consultant.
A Pueblo political group formed by veterans to oppose Boebert’s candidacy in 2020, Rural Colorado United, issued the following press release:
GRAND JUNCTION: After news reports revealed that Rep. Lauren Boebert submitted false financial disclosures omitting nearly one million dollars of income allegedly paid to Boebert’s husband in 2019 and 2020, the Western Slope civic organizing group Rural Colorado United is calling on Boebert to immediately release her federal tax returns from 2018 to the present, and other documentation of this previously undisclosed income.
“Lauren Boebert’s failure to disclose almost a million dollars paid to her husband by an oil and gas company while she was running for office as a regular working mom is a shameful breach of the public trust,” said Hon. Bri Buentello of Rural Colorado United. “The whole purpose of financial disclosure is to give voters the opportunity to know who a candidate is beholden to. It’s outrageous that Jayson Boebert was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by the oil and gas industry, many times what Rep. Boebert earns serving in Congress, while the residents of the Third Congressional District were kept in the dark.”
“The failure to properly disclose this income over the past two years while Boebert ran and serves in Congress raises questions about the timing of the payments to Jayson Boebert, and what specific work he performed for Terra Energy Productions to earn this million-dollar payout,” said Hon. Bri Buentello. “Given Rep. Lauren Boebert’s position on the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, this shady arrangement and the failure to disclose it up to now could be the tip of an iceberg of corruption. The people of CD-3 deserve to know if our representative in Congress has been purchased by a Texas oil company. We need to know when exactly Jayson Boebert was paid this million dollars, and for what work, in order to have any confidence that Boebert is telling the truth.”
“We’re calling on the Boeberts to immediately release their full unredacted federal tax returns from 2018 to the present,” said xxx, “but that’s not all. Lauren Boebert must fully cooperate with any investigation that results from this belated disclosure of her husband’s newfound wealth. ‘No-show jobs’ and other corrupt payoffs by special interests are for The Sopranos, not Western Colorado.”