One of the members of “the squad” of progressive first-year congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), is under investigation by the House Ethics Board for allegedly misusing campaign funds in the aftermath of the 2018 election.
In a report released by the Office of Congressional Ethics, the board concluded that charges that Tlaib improperly used campaign funds for personal expenses were credible enough to warrant further investigation.
Tlaib reportedly received two payments from her campaign, Rashida Tlaib for Congress, in the weeks following the election that are potentially illegal — one for $2,000 Nov. 16, 2018, and another of $15,500 on Dec. 1.
Candidates are allowed to receive payments for work during a campaign, but not for work done afterward. Emails obtained by the ethics board showed that the December payment was for work between Nov. 16, 2018 and December 31, 2018. The election was Nov. 6.
At the time, according to the board, Tlaib told campaign staffers that she was in dire financial straits and, at one point, said she needed $1,000 a week in order to make it through the campaign.
In a statement obtained by the Detroit News, Tlaib said she had to leave her job as a civil rights attorney to campaign for the U.S. House in 2018 while raising two sons as a single mother. She said she accrued the legally allowed minimum salary for work done during the campaign but took payment at a later date.
“I look forward to the Ethics Committee’s prompt resolution of this matter in my favor, and I hope my experience will clear more room for people like me to run for office by availing themselves of FEC innovations that level the playing field, like paying a non-incumbent candidate salary or covering childcare expenses with campaign funds, so that financial privilege is not a prerequisite to participate in our democracy,” she said in the statement.
The Ethics Board report states that Tlaib and her staffers refused to cooperate with its investigation.
“Because Rep. Tlaib refused to interview with the OCE, the OCE could not address these potentially problematic payments with her,” it said. “Likewise, the OCE was unable to address these documents with members of her campaign staff given their refusals to interview with the OCE.”