The lawsuit claims that Lamborn ignored congressional pandemic protocols and endangered his own staff, mocked aides who wanted to wear masks, forced staffers to show up for work in person and dismissed social-distancing guidelines. Eventually, those actions resulted in “widespread transmission of the virus throughout both the district and Washington DC offices,” the lawsuit states, leading both offices to shutter for a time.
Yup, sounds like a horrible, dangerous, and hostile environment—also known as “America” (for most of the past year, anyway).
Pope — a Marine veteran who started with Lamborn as a Wounded Warrior fellow before being promoted to defense policy adviser — claims in the suit that early in the pandemic, he raised safety concerns to a superior. He suggested teleworking or at least some social distancing in the office after hearing from colleagues who were worried about the health risks of in-person work because of immunocompromised family members. Those suggestions were ignored, Pope says.
According to Pope’s lawsuit, early on in the pandemic, when most congressional offices moved to remote work, Lamborn insisted that his staff continue to operate in-person — allegedly saying that he would not allow House leadership to dictate how he ran his office, and “belittl[ing] any staffer who raised health-related concerns.” When Pope suggested that one staffer with health conditions at least be afforded a “zip wall” to limit exposure to other staff, Lamborn denied those requests.
Holy shit, what a prick.
Pope also alleges that Lamborn once told a staffer, “Well, I don’t care about you guys getting it.” This was in October 2020, just as U.S. COVID-19 case numbers were poised to skyrocket, and after Lamborn had discovered his office was becoming a “hotbed” of infection. The lawsuit claims that around Oct. 5, 2020, Lamborn was told that his deputy chief of staff had tested positive. Despite having worked closely with the individual just prior to hearing about the positive result, Lamborn refused to quarantine, attending a campaign event and a shipyard tour in subsequent days. Earlier in the pandemic, Lamborn had also referred to COVID-19 as a “hoax” that was being hyped up to influence elections.
And it keeps getting worse. Lamborn also reportedly told his staff to stay mum about their infections “lest the media pick up on the office’s (COVID-19) problem.”
And that’s still not all!
Pope also claims he was fired for “alleged lack of professionalism and abrasiveness toward his colleagues and supervisors” after continuing to raise concerns about the office’s failure to follow COVID-19 protocols.
In order to further establish Lamborn’s assholery, Pope also alleged that Lamborn let his son live in a storage area in the Capitol basement after he moved to Washington, D.C., and that the congressman’s staff did personal errands for him and his family, such as moving furniture or picking up his personal mail when he went on vacation. Staffers were also allegedly told to do campaign work during office hours.
Having watched Republicans flout the rules from sea to shining sea for most of the past year, it’s refreshing to see that there may be a comeuppance for at least one of them.
And, hey, maybe this will inspire others to file their own suits. Now wouldn’t that be fun?
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