Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib is one of the fiery new progressive leftists in Congress. She quickly gained notoriety by immediately attacking President Donald Trump on the day she was sworn into office, telling a crowd of cheering leftists that she fully intended to “impeach the mother f***er.”
However, Tlaib may not be the best individual to lead the Democratic charge against Trump. A review of filings with the Federal Election Commission suggests that the congresswoman may have violated campaign finance regulations for her own monetary benefit.
Paid herself a salary with campaign funds
The Washington Free Beacon reported that FEC filings showed that Tlaib had paid herself tens of thousands of dollars from campaign funds both during and after the 2018 election.
The filings revealed that, between May and November of 2018, Tlaib’s campaign paid the candidate a total of $28,000 from the campaign committee funds in monthly installments averaging $4,000, except for the month of August, when $6,000 in two equal payments was dispatched.
That isn’t a violation of campaign finance laws in and of itself, as the FEC allows first-time candidates to pay themselves a salary via campaign funds up until the day of their election. A provision in the FEC rules 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.”
“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 provision added.
Questionable post-election payments
The problem is that Tlaib appears to have paid herself $17,500 after the election on Nov. 6, including a $2,000 payment on Nov. 16 and a $15,500 payment on Dec. 1. The $2,000 payment could be explained as the salary Tlaib paid herself for the first week of the month of November, prior to election day. However, that most certainly wouldn’t account for the larger sum dispersed to Tlaib nearly a month later.
A lawyer who deals with election law and government ethics told the Free Beacon, “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.”
“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,” the attorney continued. “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 $15,500 payment is interesting,” the lawyer speculated. “It’s not 100% clear what she’s doing, but what she may have done is to low ball her earlier payments for political purposes (at $2k), knowing full well that she would make up any difference at the end by giving herself a lump sum payment.”
The lawyer noted that doing so might have helped Tlaib avoid potentially bad publicity during the campaign, and added, “An after-the-fact, lump sum payment cuts against the purpose of the rule, which is to help the candidate pay for daily living expenses while campaigning.”
Tlaib’s office did not respond to requests for comment from the Free Beacon.