A former congressional staffer has settled a lawsuit out of court against his former employer, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, in which the congressman was accused of taking a lax approach to COVID safety practices early in the pandemic.
The Denver Gazette reports the terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in court filings after the lawsuit was dismissed in federal district court in Washington, D.C.
That strikes us as odd, because if taxpayer dollars were spent on a settlement, that should be made public — assuming there was a cash settlement.
Brandon Pope, a staffer who worked on military issues, claims he was fired in retaliation for complaining about workplace conditions during COVID two weeks after he was diagnosed with the virus.
Pope also made some other bizarre claims against Lamborn that are still under review by the House Ethics Committee.
Pope claimed Lamborn’s son was living in the basement of the U.S. Capitol, and that staff were required to help the son prep for job interviews.
Pope isn’t talking about the settlement, however the congressman’s spokesperson, Cassandra Sebastian, told the Gazette the settlement does not imply “any admission of guilt or wrongdoing associated with this resolution” and said that her boss “absolutely maintains that at all times, he and his office used best efforts to comply with all legal and ethical requirements.”
“While plaintiff and defendant disagree strongly about the allegations and defenses made during the Lawsuit, the parties engaged in mediation with a Magistrate Judge and jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator, to avoid the expense and burden of future litigation for all involved, including the public (taxpayers),” Sebastian said in a written statement.
She added that the “strict confidentiality provisions” of a federal law governing congressional operations “preclude the parties from revealing any other information regarding this matter; accordingly, no further comment is permissible.”
The lawsuit filed in May of 2021 also prompted an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics, a controversial office that was the brainchild of Nancy Pelosi.
Also worth noting, the office was co-chaired by former U.S. Rep. David Skaggs, who once represented Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District.
The office waited until January of 2022, an election year, to issue a report claiming Lamborn had “misused his congressional staff and resources by having aides run errands for his family and that he solicited or accepted improper gifts from his subordinates,” the Washington Post dutifully reported.
Stay tuned for the final ruling by the House Ethics Committee.