PAC asks feds to investigate Garfield County, Rep. Boebert corruption allegations

Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 1:52 PM MDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2022 at 3:22 PM MDT
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GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) - The American Muckrakers PAC fired off a letter asking the U.S. Department of Justice and the Denver office of the FBI check out allegations of corruption in Garfield County, CO.

The request focuses on the relationship between Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario. The complaint consists of 42 pages and is based on a series of emails the PAC says it received after filing a Colorado Open Records Act request.

Many of the emails are focused on a temporary restraining order Boebert’s Chief of Staff requested the sheriff’s office serve on the President of the PAC, David Wheeler.

Boebert’s office accused Wheeler of threatening and stalking her. A judge granted a temporary TRO but Wheeler says he was never served the court documents. The judge dismissed the case at a later hearing.

“”The same organization that filed these complaints was proven in a CNN fact check to have lied about Congresswoman Boebert multiple times and a judge granted a Temporary Restraining Order against one of the organization’s staff. Congresswoman Boebert is focused on reducing inflation, increasing domestic energy production, and firing Nancy Pelosi. These false allegations will not distract her,” stated a spokesperson for Representative Boebert

The email chain shows Vallario supports Boebert and has even used his taxpayer owned email account to campaign for her. The Secretary of State confirmed it received a complaint from the American Muckrakers PAC alleging Vallario has used his official resources for political purposes.

We asked for Vallario’s response to the complaint. We are including it here unedited:

Also, since the complaint is new, I have not been contacted by the SOS with respect to my due process rights in this proceeding. There has been no ruling, so any “conclusions” would be pre-mature.

I question how any of this pertains to “campaign finance” issues since I have not accepted nor spent any campaign funds in 12 years, having run unopposed for the previous two elections as well as the current one.

What I can comment on is the following:

1. We have a civil department that serves papers. We do not “hire’' additional Deputies. This is just one of many that we process as routine workload. This particular service would require a fee and mileage assessment to be paid by the requestor (Boebert), per the established Sheriff’s fees in statute.

2. Our SWAT team (AHRT) provides several functions and dignitary protection / assist local agencies is one of them. The team is multi-jurisdictional and comprised of members from several agencies. I would not have access to their payroll records.

3. Additional patrols are commonly requested from residents for a variety of things from traffic concerns to criminal activity in their neighborhood. We routinely support these requests as manpower and workload allow.

4. I did not use my taxpayer owned equipment for campaigning purposes. The email in question was a script of a robo call I did for the Congresswoman that I received via text and copied and pasted to my email so I could read it when I recorded it. Contrary to Wheeler’s suggestion that I sent this out, I only sent it to myself.

Regardless, there is case law from the Colorado Supreme Court (see attached) where (I’m paraphrasing) an elected official was using his government devices to send personal and public messages. The court ruled that the devise used does not matter if it’s used for personal correspondence, no different than using the phone on my desk to make a personal call. It further ruled that personal material remains personal and cannot be released under a records request whereas public information including budgetary and operational issues of the Office are public information and subject to disclosure.

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario