Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib has some explaining to do after a new bombshell report raises questions about some shady financial payments.
The truly tragic part of this story is that this is all probably 100% legal and that both sides probably do it in equal measure.
But it still stinks to high heaven – imagine if they were all doing this and we didn’t know? That would certainly explain why Congress is such a disaster.
From The Free Beacon: Freshman Democratic representative Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) paid herself tens of thousands of dollars from her campaign’s funds during the midterm elections, filings with the Federal Election Commission show.
Tlaib, who was elected to the House last November, began paying herself on May 7, 2018, from Rashida Tlaib for Congress, her campaign committee, and averaged $4,000 per month outside of August, which included two checks of $3,000 each.
From May 7 until the general election on Nov. 6, Tlaib paid herself a total of $28,000 in payments from the campaign committee, which first-time candidates are permitted to do up until the day of the general election if they so choose.
“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,” FEC provisions state. “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.”
An FEC spokesperson said that a candidate can pay themselves after the general election only for activity that occurred up to the day of the election.
Following the general election, Tlaib cut herself a $2,000 check on Nov. 16 and disbursed $15,500 to herself on Dec. 1, which was well above the average of what she was paying herself during the campaign.
“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,” an election law and government ethics lawyer told the Free Beacon when asked about the payments. “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. 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. 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 continued. “That would let her skirt negative publicity, of the sort that Alan Keyes generated when he paid himself a sizable salary. 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 campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the payments.
So they raise money and use that money to pay themselves? One can only imagine what they have to do to pay that back.
Don’t most candidates put their own money into campaigns rather than take it out? This is a recipe for disaster. It is possible this is there to help less wealthy candidates but there has to be a better way to accomplish that than to basically open the floodgates to legalized bribery.