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Rep. Lauren Boebert is renting an apartment from a top official at a Koch-backed organization.
The Colorado Republican's office confirmed the arrangement to Insider.
Ethics experts told Insider that Boebert is not violating any rules.
Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert rents a Washington, DC, apartment from a top official for the right-wing advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, according to the Colorado congresswoman's office and to records reviewed by Insider.
Americans for Prosperity is a key part of the conservative influence network originally funded by the oil-billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. After David Koch's passing, the network has continued to remain active in conservative causes. The official, who Insider is not naming for security reasons, has been a senior executive with Koch-linked groups for years. He owns a $1.3 million row house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood with his wife, and they rent out the lowest floor as a one-bedroom garden apartment.
There are no ethics rules or laws that bar members of Congress from renting apartments from people affiliated with lobbying groups. But the arrangement is an indicator of how small Washington, DC, can be, and how closely entwined Washington legislators can become with the people who are paid to influence them.
Boebert boasts on her website that she came to Congress to "drain the swamp," and blasts the "Washington way of pandering to lobbyists, special-interest groups, and partisan politics."
"Instead of going to meetings with lobbyists," she wrote, "I'm spending time in the District."
While the official that Boebert pays rent to is not a registered lobbyist, Americans for Prosperity has spent more than $3.9 million lobbying Congress since Boebert joined the House, according to congressional records.
The group gives Boebert a 100% career rating.
She does differ from Americans for Prosperity on some points: Boebert is far more restrictive when it comes to immigration, a major departure from the Koch-backed groups that have previously pushed for legal status for so-called "Dreamers." The Kochs have also launched an effort to deny Trump the GOP presidential nomination; Boebert supports him.
Ethics experts told Insider that Boebert is not violating any rules by renting from someone who helps run an advocacy group, as long as she pays the market rate. Anthony Fakhoury, a Boebert spokesperson, said she pays $2,000 per month under the terms of her 12-month lease.
The going rents in Boebert's neighborhood vary widely. According to Census data, the 2021 median rent in the zip code was $2,395, a number that incorporates all home sizes and includes utilities. An Insider survey of advertised rents for other one-bedroom apartments nearby ranged from $1,695 to just under $7,000 per month, depending on the location and amenities offered. A no-longer-active listing for Boebert's apartment, provided by Fakhoury, says that the typical monthly rent for one-bedroom apartments nearby is $3,061 — and $4,000 for "premium" units. Zillow estimates that the rent for Boebert's apartment would be $3,518.
The unit boasts stainless steel appliances, a walk-in closet, granite countertops, and in-unit washer and dryer. Despite being a basement unit, it appears to get lots of natural light. Its main selling point is, of course, the close proximity to the Capitol.
Boebert came by the place by chance, Fakhoury said: "She found a flyer at the property with all the information on it." He added that Boebert was not aware the owners were connected to the Koch-backed group.
"There are no potential conflicts as she doesn't talk policy to them," Fakhoury said. A representative for Americans for Prosperity declined to comment on the record.
Boebert had a far easier time finding a home in Washington than some of her colleagues. Rep. Maxwell Frost, a Democrat from Florida, was rejected by one potential landlord for bad credit. "This ain't meant for people who don't already have money," he wrote at the time on the social network that was then known at Twitter.
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez worried after being elected that she wouldn't be able to afford a place in the district.
Under a new policy, House lawmakers also have the option to be reimbursed for some rental expenses provided they are in DC for official business. Records from this program show that Boebert has not requested any such payments.
Renting apartments from people affiliated with lobbying groups has been an issue for some political figures in the past. Former EPA chief Scott Pruitt was investigated for renting a $50-a-night condo from the wife of the head of a lobbying firm that had business with his agency. Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin's condo rental from a campaign donor and businessman became an issue during her 2022 re-election campaign. Before he became Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy faced questions after he admitted that he rented a room from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who also advises some corporations.
Boebert, who barely survived reelection in 2022, is increasingly embattled after scores of headlines after she was thrown out of a Denver performance of "Beetlejuice."
The Colorado Republican apologized for "maybe overtly animated behavior" after video of the incident became public. Boebert can be seen vaping and groping a man during a performance that is billed as family-friendly entertainment.
Earlier this year, Boebert filed for divorce from her husband of nearly two decades. It is likely that will be finalized during a court hearing next month.
Read the original article on Business Insider