The House Ethics Committee is investigating potential campaign finance violations regarding payments made to Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan following last November’s election.
Politico reported that the congresswoman’s office confirmed the review of payments by the committee.
Tlaib’s staff has denied misuse of funds saying she “fully complied with the law and acted in good faith at all times.”
Federal Elections Commission law allows candidates to take a salary from campaign funds during the campaign; however, payments totaling $17,500 were made after the Nov. 6 election.
The relevant FEC provision (pg. 199) states: “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.”
Further, “no salary payments may be paid beyond the date he or she is no longer a candidate.”
According to her campaign’s disclosure form, salary payments were made on Nov. 16 for $2,000 and Dec. 1 for $15,500.
The description listed for the payments is “salary.”
The form shows Tlaib was getting paid $2,000 every two weeks or $4,000 a month, starting in May 2018, with the exception of August, when the campaign paid the candidate a total of $6,000.
The Dec. 1 payout of $15,500 following the Nov. 6 deadline is all the more conspicuous when compared to these previous months’ payments.
Tlaib was sworn in as a House member and began earning a congressional salary of $174,000 per year on Jan. 3 of this year.
“Representative Tlaib has cooperated completely with the Committee to resolve the referral, which involves the same claims over her publicly disclosed salary during the campaign that conservative groups pressed back in March,” Tlaib spokesperson Denzel McCampbell wrote in a statement to Politico.
The Washington Free Beacon was the first to report on the post-campaign salary payments to Tlaib.
“On its face, it looks like the $2,000 payment on November 16 might be for the candidate’s salary for the first two weeks of November,” an election law and government ethics lawyer told the Free Beacon.
“But given that the election occurred on November 6 — i.e., part-way through the first November pay period — I am surprised that this last payment wasn’t prorated. In other words, Tlaib stopped being a candidate halfway through this period, but it appears that she kept collecting her full salary as if she was still a candidate throughout the full first two weeks of November.”
The ethics attorney speculated the $15,500 payment may have been an effort to augment her salary from the campaign while avoiding the negative publicity of taking a larger sum during the race.
According to the Free Beacon, the George Soros-funded Open Society Institute paid Tlaib $85,307 for a “Leadership in Government Fellowship” in 2017.
However, Tlaib listed the amount she earned from the fellowship as $68,307 in her congressional financial disclosure form.
She also earned $42,500 working for the Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center.
In May 2018, Tlaib left her full-time position with the Detroit-based firm, which deals with economic social justice issues, to focus on her congressional race.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.