It’s a COVID-era case of he said, he said.
GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn denies allegations leveled against him in a lawsuit by a former staffer, who says Lamborn put his staff at risk. And he is now asking that the case be heard in Colorado, not Washington D.C.
In May, Brandon Pope sued Lamborn’s office alleging a “reckless and dangerous approach to COVID-19.” Lamborn said Pope “never raised any concern regarding the office’s COVID-19 protocols” and “regularly expressed his opposition to COVID-19 safety measures,” like social distancing and wearing masks.
In documents filed Friday, Lamborn’s office said Pope was allowed to resign rather than be terminated because of his “own failure and unwillingness to meet the office’s legitimate expectations.” And the office denied any retaliation.
The response, however, did acknowledge that Lamborn allowed his son to stay with him in his office “temporarily.” It was one of a number of examples laid out in Pope’s suit that he said showed the office’s disregard of ethics and norms.
Lamborn said in the response that those examples were included because it was “scandalous” and done for no other reasons than to “harass or embarrass” Lamborn and to increase the “newsworthy nature” of the complaint. The office denied the allegations, which included helping his son apply for government jobs, using staff to move furniture or pick up unofficial mail and using office time to do campaign work.
Members of Congress had wide latitude on office staffing during the pandemic, with many choosing to let staff work remotely.
Lamborn had his staffers come in. And In October 2020, staffers in Lamborn’s D.C. office reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The office then went to 50 percent staffing in the D.C. office. The Colorado Springs area Congressman announced he had tested positive in mid- November.
Pope is a former Marine who worked in Lamborn’s Colorado Springs office for a year and half. He said he was fired “for seeking to protect employees from unsafe conditions” during the pandemic.
No date has yet been set on the change venue motion.
Read the full lawsuit
Read Rep. Doug Lamborn's response
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