DailyMail reports the bipartisan House Ethics Committee has ordered Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan to repay her campaign $10,800 for salary she drew from it when she was no longer actively running for Congress.
But the committee did not admonish the first term lawmaker and ‘squad’ member, noting that it is within existing rules for a candidate to draw a salary from their campaign under certain conditions.
It found a ‘portion’ of the salary she took after her 2018 election win were ‘inconsistent’ with the requirements of federal elections law. But it said her errors were of ‘bad timing and not ill intent,’ and that she had made ‘good faith’ efforts to comply with the law’s requirements.
An appendix included with the finding shows Tlaib’s correspondence with her staff as well as a lawyer to determine the propriety of taking a salary, amid apparently urgent needs after she left her job with a public interest law firm to campaign full-time.
‘The Committee did not find that she sought to unjustly enrich herself by receiving the campaign funds at issue,’ the committee wrote. In fact, she took less than an upper threshold would have allowed.
‘However, because she received some of those funds, totaling $10,800, for time periods in which she was no longer a congressional candidate, those funds were inconsistent with FECA’s personal use restrictions,’ the committee found. The committee plans to take no further action.
‘Rep. Tlaib hopes the Federal Election Commission will issue updated guidance clarifying the regulations regarding candidate salaries to allow more working-class candidates to run for Congress,” her office said in a statement.
The news comes three days after Tlaib, an ally of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)., handily defeated Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones in her primary.
Candidates can only take the payments up until the election, not after.
The committee spent months reviewing whether the funds were committed for ‘personal views,’ which is not allowable.
Tlaib wrote her top aides in April 2018 telling them she was ‘not going to make it through the campaign without a stipend.’ She testified that she was in debt and needed money for rent and child care.
Her campaign consulted a lawyer, who told her the payments were legal. But a top staffer told her it would have to ‘just accept that it may become a political issue.”