Analysis

GOP firebrand boosted fossil fuels without admitting her husband made nearly $1m from a driller

Rep. Lauren Boebert pictured leaning on her chair inside her restaurant

Rep. Lauren Boebert told voters about her money-losing, gun-themed restaurant — but not about her husband's $700k oil job

A high-profile fossil fuel booster on the House Natural Resources Committee was caught concealing conflicts of interest affecting her judgment on oil and gas issues.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican and Trump loyalist, has pushed to loosen drilling rules and block efforts to hold polluters accountable since being elected to Congress last year.

Until last month, she failed to disclose that her husband is a consultant for Houston-based driller Terra Energy Partners, earning $478,000 from them last year and $460,000 the year before, the Associated Press reported. He is on track to receive $768,000 from Terra this year.

The revelations came in a financial disclosure that Boebert filed late after receiving a 90-day extension. Her husband’s oil and gas income was not disclosed in disclosures she filed as a candidate last year.

Boebert’s place at the nexus of oil wealth and political decision-making highlights a consistent fact underlying Washington’s debate over ending fossil subsidies: Those defending the industry invariably benefit financially from its largesse with political candidates, executives, and lobbyists.

As Democrats seek to close loopholes that sustain fossil fuels (while costing taxpayers billions), the industry’s most vocal defenders remain squarely in its pocket. While a member of House Natural Resources, Boebert has sponsored bills aiming to oppose conservation initiatives, prohibit President Biden’s moratorium on issuing new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and obstruct implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Public lands and natural resources were the topic of 42% of the bills she has introduced, according to GovTrack.

BailoutWatch readers might recall Boebert’s appearance at a May hearing of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Although the hearing was titled “Misuse of Taxpayer Dollars & Corporate Welfare in the Oil and Gas Industry,” Boebert used her time to belittle a former oilfield worker and praise a Koch-funded hipster climate denier.

Boebert has reported receiving $61,000 in career campaign donations from the oil and gas industry, according to OpenSecrets.

Federal candidates are required by law to file disclosures including income and assets for their whole immediate family. Boebert said her family’s income came from Shooters Grill, the restaurant she owns in Rifle, Colo. where waiters open-carry guns. The restaurant lost $143,000 in 2019 and $226,000 in 2020, her disclosure form said.

The filings are designed to give voters a clear view of potential conflicts.

In truth, her staff told the Associated Press in a statement, her husband Jayson has had an energy-consulting business since 2012. He has worked for Terra Energy Partners since 2017 as a contracted foreman, the Post reported.

TEP Rocky Mountain, a Terra affiliate, has asked Colorado state regulators to approve 17 new gas wells just outside Rifle without a hearing. Terra is the nation’s number four methane emitter and was Colorado’s largest onshore oil and gas greenhouse gas emitter in 2018, according to EPA studies reported bySalon.