Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib is facing a House Ethics Committee probe based on allegations that she frantically requested personal money from her campaign, according to Fox News.
The committee recently released a series of documents containing internal communications between Tlaib and her staff and has “expanded” the investigation on a recommendation from the Office of Congressional Ethics.
For example, she wrote an April 2018 email claiming that she was “struggling financially right now” and “sinking.”
“So I was thinking the campaign could loan me money, but Ryan said that the committee could actually pay me,” Tlaib continued in the same message, referring to her future chief of staff, Ryan Anderson. “I was thinking a one time payment of $5k.”
In a different message, she claimed that she was “just not going to make it through the campaign without a stipend.”
“With the loss of a second income to lean back on, I am requesting $2,000 per two weeks but not exceeding $12,000,” Tlaib wrote. “The cost of living stipend is going towards much needed expenses due to campaigning that includes car maintenance, child care and other necessities. Please let me know if I can proceed.”
Text messages between Tlaib and Anderson further outline her pleas.
“Sorry for the early text but do you think the campaign can still pay me a stipend until the general. Trying to get out of debt,” she asked.
“I think we definitely afford to do so,” Anderson responded. “But we need to really clearly define your time and space.”
While Tlaib very well may have been in a financial bind, this doesn’t look like a good situation for her, especially given that her campaign admitted to paying her thousands of dollars.
If she truly was in dire straights financially despite having a law degree, it’s amazing to think that someone who can’t properly steward her own finances is now in a position to control those of taxpayers.
Given her radical, free-spending agenda, it’s easy to see where those connections lie.
Despite the evidence that Tlaib requested and received funds, it is still unclear whether she violated ethics rules or federal law.
The Federal Election Commission allows campaigns “to pay limited salary to candidates who curtail outside employment to focus on their campaigns,” but only under certain conditions.
Tlaib’s lawyers argue that those conditions have been met, and the investigation is still ongoing.
The key questions are whether the payments stayed within the legal limitations and whether Tlaib’s campaign properly reported the finances.
The OCE released a statement on the matter, describing its rationale for conducting the probe.
It said Tlaib’s campaign “reported campaign disbursements that may not be legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.”
If she “converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use, or if Tlaib’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Tlaib may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law,” the OCE continued.
Obviously, Tlaib needs to be properly punished if these allegations are true, and there wouldn’t be any sad faces on the right side of the aisle if she were to resign.
It wouldn’t be such a bad thing for Congress to become a little less bigoted.
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