The House Ethics Committee released several documents on Thursday relating to an ongoing probe of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The documents include texts and emails from Rep. Tlaib in 2018 asking members of her campaign staff for financial support.
In one April 2018 email offered as an exhibit by [the Office of Congressional Ethics], Tlaib wrote that she was “struggling financially right now” and was “sinking.” She continued: “So I was thinking the campaign could loan me money, but Ryan said that the committee could actually pay me. I was thinking a one time payment of $5k.”
In another email, on April 4, 2018, Tlaib wrote: “I am just not going to make it through the campaign without a stipend.”
“With the loss of a second income to lean back on,” she wrote. “I am requesting $2,000 per two weeks but not exceeding $12,000. 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.”
A referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), adopted Aug. 9, 2019, says “Rep. Tlaib’s campaign committee, Rashida Tlaib for Congress, reported campaign disbursements that may not be legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes. If Rep. Tlaib converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use, or if Rep. Tlaib’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Rep. Tlaib may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”
The OCE referral recommended further review by the House Ethics Committee, stating there is “substantial reason to believe Rep. Tlaib converted campaign funds for personal use” or her campaign committee used “funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.” The House Ethics Committee is reviewing a potential campaign finance violation by Rep. Rashida Tlaib during her 2018 campaign, her office confirmed Monday.
While candidates are allowed to pay themselves a salary during the campaign, Tlaib reported a salary of $17,500 in two payments after the Nov. 6 election, according to her disclosure. The payments were dated Nov. 16 and Dec. 1.
The Federal Election Commission states that salary payments may continue “until the date of the general election.”
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