A former aide to Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn filed suit Thursday against his former boss, alleging that he was fired from his job after raising objections to the eight-term Colorado congressman’s, shall we say, laissez-faire attitude toward coronavirus safety. The former staffer in question is Brandon Pope, who the suit says was first brought on in 2019 as a Wounded Warrior fellow in Lamborn’s district office in Colorado Springs after serving as a Marine in Afghanistan. Pope, who was then hired on a full-time basis in May 2020 as a defense policy adviser, makes a slew of damning allegations about Lamborn’s refusal to take any pandemic safety measures whatsoever.
The suit says Lamborn was “reckless and dangerous” in his approach to the coronavirus, often calling it a “hoax,” and it’s hard to argue with Pope’s characterization. Lamborn, Pope alleges, refused to wear a mask or enforce any safety protocols in the office while simultaneously refusing to allow staff to work from home. The result was—surprise, surprise—many of them got sick! When Lamborn himself was exposed to infected staffers, he refused to wear a mask or isolate. “Well, I don’t care about you guys getting it,” Lamborn allegedly told his staff. When Pope raised concerns with the chief of staff, the suit says, he was branded a troublemaker and, in retaliation for raising his concerns, was ultimately dismissed in December.
In addition to allegations of generalized pandemic terribleness, the suit also offers up a host of ethics violations by Lamborn, mostly having staff run personal errands for their boss and allowing “his wife to take the Office’s supplies for her own personal use.” There is also this delightful nugget on Lamborn allowing his son to sleep in a U.S. Capitol storage room while he was in D.C. looking for a job that Lamborn had his staff help him try to land! From the suit:
Representative Lamborn allowed his son to live in Congressional space. 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.
When Lamborn’s son was applying to federal jobs, Lamborn’s Office required Mr. Pope and another staffer to show him how the USA Jobs site worked and to give him tips on completing applications for federal employment. Subsequently, the Office required Mr. Pope to help prepare Lamborn’s son for job interviews by asking him mock interview questions and helping him craft his responses.
Lamborn’s office denied the allegations laid out in the lawsuit.