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Fact check: Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Colorado restaurant did not receive a PPP loan

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The claim: Rep. Lauren Boebert received a PPP loan for her restaurant

In 2013, now-Rep. Lauren Boebert and her husband opened a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, called Shooter's Grill, where waitresses reportedly carry loaded guns and customers can order the M16 burrito.

After the Colorado Republican criticized government benefits at the Conservative Political Action Conference on July 10, online users accused Boebert of hypocrisy, claiming her gun-themed restaurant received one of the 11.8 million Paycheck Protection Program loans issued by the government.

The PPP was created as part of the CARES Act and aimed to assist small businesses with pandemic-related costs. The program officially ended May 31.

“Please kindly pay back that PPP loan you eagerly took for your struggling restaurant. Thanks,” reads a tweet in response to a video of Boebert. A screenshot of the tweet was shared to Facebook on July 12 in a post with more than 1,000 reactions.

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook page for comment.

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In similar versions of the claim on Twitter, some users claimed Shooter's Grill received a loan for $233,305. But the posts confused Boebert’s restaurant with one in Ohio that has a similar name.

Posts confuse restaurants

On July 11, Boebert took to Twitter to deny the claim, writing “I DID NOT take any PPP loans.”

Claims that the congresswoman received a PPP loan surfaced online after users confused her restaurant with another restaurant, Shooters Sports Grill in Loveland, Ohio.

According a ProPublica database that tracks companies approved for PPP loans, the Ohio restaurant with the similar name received a loan of $233,305. The owner of that restaurant is Rick Drescher, not Boebert.

The database shows restaurants with similar names in Montana, Maryland and Tennessee also were approved for loans, but none in Colorado.

Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert opened a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, in 2013.
Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert opened a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, in 2013.

Some users who promoted the claim, such as political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen, deleted their original posts after it was debunked by CNN.

“The PPP check was for a bar of the same name in a different state," the Twitter account for Cohen's podcast tweeted on July 11. "My job is to stop misinformation, not to spread it; no excuse for getting this wrong. I apologize to the congresswoman and you all."

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USA TODAY reached out to Boebert’s office for additional comment.

Our rating: False

The claim that Boebert received a PPP loan for her restaurant Shooter's Grill is FALSE, based on our research. Boebert denied the claim, and her restaurant is not listed as a PPP loan recipient. Users apparently confused her restaurant with Shooters Sports Grill in Ohio.

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Posts falsely claimed Lauren Boebert received a PPP loan

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