Fact check: Democratic group makes multiple false claims in its dramatic allegations about Lauren Boebert’s past
In emails this week and in a Thursday interview, Wheeler conceded that the super PAC was wrong when it insisted a photo of another woman posing on a bed is a photo of Boebert, was wrong when it claimed Boebert initially failed to disclose a campaign contribution from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, was wrong to suggest Cruz had made big contributions to Boebert’s campaign immediately after she started running in her first primary, was wrong about the date of a Boebert vehicle accident, and was wrong when it published a claim that Boebert had an abortion “in the fall of 2004” — at most six months before she gave birth to a son in March 2005.
The “major thrust” Wheeler defended includes the super PAC’s allegation that Boebert had met escort clients through her profile on a “sugar daddy” website — though the site told CNN it has no record of Boebert ever using it. Wheeler also defended the allegation that the anti-abortion congresswoman has had two abortions. The super PAC cited a list of three anonymous “Jane Doe” sources, whose names it has not published, as the basis for these claims.
“Wheeler’s baseless and slanderous claims have been proven wrong time and again with facts and evidence,” Stout said in a statement to CNN on Thursday. “Congresswoman Boebert has instructed her legal counsel to pursue all legal remedies to stop this outrageous behavior.”
Wheeler said the super PAC is “ready and willing” to defend its main claims in a legal fight, though he also said it is “not interested in a lawsuit” and does not believe its errors have been defamatory. The super PAC says all of its anonymous sources have expressed a willingness to come forward to be deposed and testify in court if Boebert does pursue legal action.
While the super PAC’s case against Cawthorn was bolstered by videos and other evidence, the super PAC has so far not released evidence that would substantiate its claims about Boebert’s personal and medical past. And the Boebert material the super PAC has released to date, citing those anonymous sources, has proven far from unassailable.
Here are some inaccuracies CNN has found.
A photo of a woman who isn’t Boebert
A photo the super PAC insisted is of Boebert posing on a bed in a tight dress is actually a photo of another woman. That woman, who had posted the photo years ago on her profile on a modeling website, confirmed to CNN this week that it is her in the shot.
After Wheeler argued in an email to CNN on Wednesday that this woman might have been “lying” when she said it is her — Wheeler wrote that he had confirmed “8 times” with an “absolutely confident” source that the photo is of Boebert — Wheeler then conceded in an interview on Thursday that the photo is not of Boebert.
“I will concede that. I think somehow our source mixed that up with something else. I don’t know how she mixed it up,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler’s claim that the woman in the photo might be “lying” prompted the woman to show CNN additional evidence proving it is indeed her, including an old hard copy of that photo and a second photo of herself in the same distinctive dress.
An error in the abortion allegations
When CNN then brought Tyler’s date of birth to Wheeler’s attention, Wheeler claimed in an email that there had been a “typo by our social media guy” and had the document quickly changed to say the abortion happened “in the fall of 2005.”
The “in the fall of 2004” claim, however, had been made in a document on the super PAC’s website — in a section the super PAC claimed had been “reviewed” by its source prior to publication.
He said the “underlying fact” of Boebert having had abortions is nonetheless accurate. Again, Boebert says she has not had any abortions.
Cruz’s big contributions weren’t made during Boebert’s primary
The super PAC claimed on its website last week that Boebert was introduced to Cruz by a wealthy and politically connected escort client before she began her run for Congress in 2019 — and the super PAC then claimed, “When Boebert announced her campaign for Congress in December 2019, Senator Cruz donated at least $136,250.00 to the Boebert Campaign.”
Boebert spokesman Stout said Boebert has never had an escort client and that she never spoke to Cruz or met Cruz until after she won the 2020 primary. Cruz’s office declined to comment for this article.
Wheeler said in the Thursday interview: “I agree that that was not an accurate way to put it. It should’ve said ‘subsequently’ or ‘in September’ or ‘the summer of 2020′ instead of — yes, it does sound like it was immediate, but it wasn’t until, as you pointed out, ’til the fall of 2020.”
Boebert did not fail to report Cruz’s contribution
When CNN explained these facts to Wheeler on Thursday, he admitted that the super PAC’s claim that Boebert had initially failed to report the Cruz contribution was not true. “I’ll concede that point as well,” he said.
He said that what the super PAC, “very haphazardly or sloppily,” was “trying to intimate was that it’s very odd for a freshman, or for a first-time candidate in a congressional election, to get $136,000 from a sitting member, or sitting senator.”
‘Sugar daddy’ site says it has no record of Boebert
A representative of the “sugar daddy” website on which the super PAC claims Boebert had a profile, SugarDaddyMeet.com, supported Boebert’s claim that she had never used the site — saying in an email to CNN that a search of its internal records found “no record of Congresswoman Boebert using this website.”
That statement is not case-closed evidence that Boebert was never on that site or some other such site. (The representative of the site, which connects “successful” men with “young and aspiring” women, would identify themselves only as “Alice” and would not respond to follow-up questions.) But the super PAC has so far released no evidence to contradict the statement.
Wheeler said the evidence does exist. He said “Jane Doe 3” possesses images of Boebert’s old SugarDaddyMeet profile and that he has seen these images — but that he does not possess them himself and so could not provide them to CNN.
Wheeler also acknowledged that Jane Doe 3 is the same source who made the error in identifying the photo of the woman on the bed as Boebert.
CNN asked Wheeler if there is absolutely no doubt that the woman pictured in the purported SugarDaddyMeet page is Boebert. Wheeler paused for five seconds and said, “Well, it’s a picture that I’ve seen before, but I didn’t verify that that was her picture.” Wheeler said he relied on the veracity of his sources, whom he said had also seen Boebert’s SugarDaddyMeet profile in years past.
Boebert spokesman Stout told CNN repeatedly that Boebert has never had a profile on the site.
Quoted from Various Sources
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