Democratic Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib dipped into her campaign funds during last year’s election cycle to pay herself $45,500, according to records from the Federal Election Commission.
According to the records, Tlaib began getting $2,000 in roughly two-week intervals beginning in May. FEC records show that this was accounted for as “salary.” The only exception to this during the campaign came in August, when the roughly biweekly payments went up to $3,000.
On Dec. 1, one final “salary” payment of $15,500 was made to the now-freshman legislator.
In its reporting on the payments, the Washington Free Beacon noted that under federal rules, first-time candidates can take a salary.
“If the candidate wins the primary election, his or her principal campaign committee may pay him or her a salary from campaign funds through the date of the general election, up to and including the date of any general election runoff,” the FEC has said.
“If the candidate loses the primary, withdraws from the race, or otherwise ceases to be a candidate, no salary payments may be paid beyond the date he or she is no longer a candidate.”
The Free Beacon said that under election law, candidates can receive salary payments after an election for time spent before the voting.
In July, Tlaib defended the payments.
“I pay exactly what I need for me to step away from my full-time position,” she said, according to the Detroit News.
Tlaib said that during the campaign, she took a leave of absence from her job as a lawyer for the Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice.
Campaign spokesman TJ Bucholz said Tlaib could have taken “far more” than what she did per month.
“In short, Rashida is a single mother of two children working tirelessly on the trail and she’s not independently wealthy,” Bucholz said.
“The salary is nominal and necessary for her to be a full-time candidate trying to take a progressive vision to Washington.”
FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram said what Tlaib did is “not unheard of at all.”
During 2016 and 2017, Tlaib had also been paid under a fellowship from the George Soros-based Open Society group.
“Rashida Tlaib was awarded a Leadership in Government fellowship from the Open Society Foundations in the fall of 2016,” said Jonathan Kaplan, Soros’s spokesperson.
“Her project: to focus on increasing the civic participation of disenfranchised urban communities of color. When Ms. Tlaib informed us that she was planning to run for Congress, we mutually agreed to suspend her fellowship and no further payments were made.”
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