- A GOP congressman’s son lived in a basement storage space in the Capitol, a lawsuit claims.
- A former staffer is suing Lamborn’s office for retaliation after he was fired in December 2020.
- The lawsuit also accuses the Colorado lawmaker of dangerously flouting COVID-19 safety protocols.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado allowed his son to live in a storage unit in the basement of the US Capitol for a few weeks, according to a lawsuit from a former staffer.
Former Lamborn staffer Brandon Pope made the claim in a lawsuit first reported by NBC Washington, but it remains unclear when the alleged incident occurred.
The lawsuit says Lamborn “gave his son the necessary access to live in a storage area in the basement of the U.S. Capitol for a period of weeks when Lamborn’s son relocated to Washington, D.C. for work.”
In response to questions from Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim on Friday, Lamborn confirmed that he gave his son “temporary housing as my guest because the housing market in Washington, DC is very tight, and he moved here to get a job at the Pentagon.” He declined to clarify whether his son lived in his office or in the basement.
Pope tested positive for the coronavirus and raised concerns about Lamborn’s “reckless and dangerous approach to COVID-19,” per the lawsuit, which accuses Lamborn’s office of retaliating by terminating him.
Broadly, Pope claims that Lamborn violated the Congressional Accountability Act’s prohibition against retaliation and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) by disregarding COVID-19 safety protocols, including requiring employees to come back into the office amid the pandemic, being inflexible with remote work, not mandating mask-wearing, and “not permitting” social distancing.
Pope’s lawsuit also said that both Lamborn and his wife “claimed that COVID was a hoax and asserted that the pandemic was being used to alter the course of the congressional and presidential elections.”
Lamborn claimed on Friday that he “accommodated people’s concerns” during the pandemic and described Pope as “a disgruntled employee,” telling Kim that he plans to file a response to Pope’s complaint.
Pope, who worked as an advisor on business and defense policy, also said that Lamborn “has consistently disregarded ethical rules and norms that apply to Members of Congress.”
In addition to flouting COVID-19 protocols and putting staff at risk, Pope accused Lamborn of deputizing congressional staff to perform personal tasks and errands for him and his family, and using his position as a member of Congress to the benefit of himself and his family.
Pope also said that staffers were assigned to help Lamborn’s son apply for federal jobs by showing him how the USA Jobs website worked, assisting him with applications, and even preparing him for interviews “by asking him mock interview questions and helping him craft his responses.”
Other errands House staffers were expected to perform included picking up mail, moving furniture, doing campaign-related tasks during official work hours and lunch breaks, and “assisting Representative Lamborn’s wife to set up a video telecom system so that she could hold personal video calls with her family,” according to the lawsuit.
Pope also suggested that previous staffers had been fired for not attending events and gatherings at Lamborn’s house.
Lamborn’s office hadn’t responded to Insider’s request for comment at the time of publishing.