A former staffer has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, alleging that the Colorado Republican showed a “disregard for the rules” and a “recklessly self-serving approach” by blatantly disregarding coronavirus safety protocol.
According to The Denver Post, the lawsuit makes a variety of allegations against Lamborn and the congressman’s utter lack of concern for the pandemic: the representative purportedly let his son live in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, let employees do “whatever they wanted” inside his office, and required government workers to run personal errands for his family.
The Post notes that the complaint was filed by former staffer Brandon Pope, who says that he contracted coronavirus while working for Lamborn and was fired “for seeking to protect employees from unsafe conditions in the workplace.”
However, a spokesperson for Lamborn’s office has since said that Pope’s claims are wholly unsubstantiated.
“The workplace safety allegations made by Mr. Pope are unsubstantiated and did not result in the termination of his employment,” the statement said. “Congressman Lamborn looks forward to a full vindication as all facts come to light.”
Nevertheless, the lawsuit seeks to recount Lamborn’s allegedly lax attitude toward the pandemic.
In the complaint, Pope and his attorney assert that Lamborn frequently referred to novel coronavirus as a “hoax.” All the while, says the lawsuit, Lamborn “needlessly” kept his office open and prevented his employees from socially distancing.
Two members of Lamborn’s staff tested positive for coronavirus in October, while Lamborn himself tested positive in November.
According to the lawsuit, Lamborn told a staff who decided to wear a mask, “Well, I don’t care about you guys getting it.”
The complaint adds further allegations that Lamborn regularly uses his congressional staff for the personal benefit of himself, his wife, and one of his sons, the latter of whom Lamborn reportedly let live in the Capitol basement for two weeks.
The same son then attempted to apply for federal jobs, and Lamborn “required Mr. Pope and another staff to show [the son] how the USA Jobs site worked and to give him tips on completing applications for federal employment.”
Staffers were also purportedly coerced into running personal errands for Lamborn and his family. This including loading furniture that was going to be moved to Lamborn’s vacation home, picking up the family’s personal mail, and carrying legal documents.
“Staff were also made to believe that accepting invitations for family events, including meals with the Lamborn family, was required in order to remain employed,” the suit states.
Alongside charging Lamborn with negligence in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, the lawsuit also suggests that the congressman violated the Congressional Authority Act of 1955, which prohibits retaliation against staffers who speak out against unsafe working conditions.