Politics

Rep. Rashida Tlaib Asked Campaign for Money for Personal Use, Messages Show

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) likely violated federal law by paying herself with money from her campaign, a probe of the spending found.

Tlaibs campaign reported campaign disbursements that might not be legitimate, the board Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics ruled earlier this year, prompting the launch of an investigation. The documents (pdf) were released on Nov. 14 by the House Ethics Committee.

“There is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Tlaib converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use or Rep. Tlaibs campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes,” the board stated.

On April 4, 2018, Tlaib told her campaign manager and campaign consultant that she was “struggling financially.”

“I was thinking the campaign could loan me money, but [campaign staffer] Ryan [Lomonco] said the committee could actually pay me. I was thinking a one time payment of 5K,” she wrote.

Andy Goddeeris, the manager, replied that he wanted to consult with an attorney before adding, “If its legally permissible I want to do whats necessary so that this campaign doesnt dig you a hole youre struggling to get out of.”

About three weeks later, Tlaib emailed a number of staffers on her campaign saying she was “not going to make it through the campaign without a stipend,” and requested “$2,000 per two weeks but not exceeding $12,000.”

(House Ethics Committee)
(House Ethics Committee)

After research, Tlaibs staff concluded Tlaib could be legally paid for her service but the decision to pay Tlaib a salary from the campaign “remained a source of concern” for both Tlaib and her staff throughout the campaign, messages showed.

Tlaib was ultimately paid $45,500 from May 7, 2018, to Dec. 1, 2018. That included $17,500 for a period of time after the Nov. 6, 2018, general election, which the board found likely ran afoul of personal use prohibitions.

Tlaib and all of her staffers refused to submit to interviews with the board. The board recommended issuing subpoenas to Tlaib and three of her staffers.

According to federal law, a “contribution or donation [to a candidate or member of Congress] shall not be converted by any person to personal use.”

A check Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) received in Dec. 2018 for $15,500, after the general election. (House Ethics Committee)

Personal use “means any use of funds in a campaign account of a preseRead More – Source