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Colorado lawmaker faces felony charges for allegedly lying about her residency

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Scott Franz
/
Colorado General Assembly
State Rep. Tracey Bernett

Democratic State Rep. Tracey Bernett is facing felony charges for allegedly lying about living in the district she is running to represent.

Bernett claimed she lives in an apartment she is renting in Louisville. But prosecutors in Boulder County allege that’s not true.

After receiving a complaint from a resident in September about Bernett not living in Louisville, investigators eventually got search warrants.

They say when they searched her rental apartment, they found cabinets full of cobwebs, a fridge with no food in it and an empty garage with no way to charge Bernett’s electric Tesla. They also didn’t find a pet cat the lawmaker posts about on social media.

Bernett filed forms with the Secretary of State claiming she lives in the Louisville apartment and met the requirements to run in House District 12. But neighbors told investigators they rarely see her there.

“As a result of the investigation, it is alleged that Ms. Bernett falsely represented her primary residence over a nine-month period,” Boulder County District Attorney Michael Michael Dougherty said in a statement. “It is alleged that, although she rented an apartment in Louisville in order to qualify for elected office, she did not actually live there. And, in so doing, she filed false, sworn documents with the Secretary of State’s Office. It is, also, alleged that by misrepresenting her residence, she voted in a primary election in a district in which she does not live.”

Prosecutors think she is actually living in Longmont, which is outside the district. Bernett’s Longmont home used to be part of House District 12, but it was put in a different district when the boundaries were changed following redistricting last year.

She faces three felony counts stemming from the investigation, including forgery and lying about her residence. Bernett has not responded publicly to the charges, and did not immediately respond to an interview request from KUNC on Monday.

Bernett is among a handful of lawmakers facing allegations about not living in the district they are running to represent.

The complaints started after the redistricting process changed some of the districts lawmakers live in.

Scott Franz is an Investigative Reporter with KUNC.