GOP congressman let his son live in Capitol basement for weeks, lawsuit alleges

·2-min read
<p>Colorado representative Doug Lamborn has been accused of letting his son sleep in the Capitol basement</p> (AP)

Colorado representative Doug Lamborn has been accused of letting his son sleep in the Capitol basement

(AP)

A Republican US congressman let his son live in a storage unit in the Capitol’s basement for several weeks, according to a lawsuit by one of the lawmaker’s former staffers.

The former aide, Brandon Pope, says Rep Doug Lamborn unlawfully fired him after he spoke up about the congressman’s “reckless” flouting of Covid-19 protocols. But the lawsuit also accuses Mr Lamborn of a number of other bizarre transgressions, including housing his son in “Congressional space”.

“Lamborn gave his son the necessary access to live in a storage area in the basement of the US Capitol for a period of weeks when Lamborn’s son relocated to Washington, DC for work,” the lawsuit alleges.

Mr Pope also says the Colorado representative slept at the office himself, and demanded that staffers do numerous personal favors for him and his family. According to the lawsuit, Mr Lamborn required his staff to help him move furniture to his summer house, pick up mail at his home, help his wife set up a video telecom system, and help his son apply for federal jobs – including by acting out mock job interviews.

Mr Lamborn has denied any wrongdoing.

“Those are a tissue of lies,” he told Colorado Public Radio.

The congressman did, however, admit that his son lodged somewhere in the Capitol complex for a time.

“I gave my son temporary housing, as my guest, because the housing market in Washington, DC is very tight,” he said.

The lawsuit’s main accusation, however, concerns Mr Pope’s firing over the Covid-19 dispute. He says Mr Lamborn refused to abide by the House of Representatives’ Covid safety rules, and undermined his staff’s efforts to follow them.

“In the workplace, Lamborn did not require employees in the District Office to wear masks, claiming that he would not allow House Leadership to dictate how he ran his office, and he did not permit all employees to social distance,” the lawsuit says.

As a result, according to Mr Pope, the congressman and several of his staff contracted the virus – but Mr Lamborn said he “did not care.”

When Mr Pope objected on his colleagues’ behalf, he says, Mr Lamborn fired him.

“Representative Lamborn had a reckless and dangerous approach to COVID19, and he retaliated against Mr. Pope for seeking to protect employees from unsafe conditions in the workplace,” the lawsuit alleges.

Mr Lamborn has denied these accusations as well.

“The workplace safety allegations made by Mr Pope are unsubstantiated and did not result in the termination of his employment,” Mr Lamborn’s communications director, Cassandra Sebastian, told Insider. “Congressman Lamborn looks forward to full vindication as all facts come to light.”

Mr Lamborn’s office has not yet responded to The Independent’s request for comment.

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