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FEC questions GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert over suspected personal use of campaign funds

The Federal Election Committee sent a letter to the treasurer of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) inquiring about the suspected use of campaign funds for her personal expenses.

State of play: The FEC letter shows four Venmo payments totaling over $6,000 described as "personal expense of Lauren Boebert billed to campaign account in error." It is then noted that the expenses were reimbursed.


What they're saying: "If it is determined that the disbursement(s) constitutes the personal use of campaign funds, the Commission may consider taking further legal action," Shannon Ringgold, FEC senior campaign finance analyst, wrote in her letter.

  • "However, prompt action to obtain reimbursement of the funds in question will be taken into consideration," Ringgold added.

The other side: "The Venmo charges were personal expenses that were billed to the campaign account in error. The reimbursement has already happened and will appear in the Q3 filing," a Boebert spokesperson told CNBC on Wednesday.

Context: The FEC prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal use.

  • The commission says personal use constitutes the use of campaign funds to fulfill "a commitment, obligation or expense of any person" that is not related to the candidate's campaign or to their office responsibilities.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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