U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is facing questions after campaign records revealed she paid herself $17,500 as a salary after the midterm elections, in what appeared to be a violation of campaign finance rules, a report said.
Tlaib, a firebrand freshman Democrat from Detroit, has been facing scrutiny over her connections to radical anti-Israel activists and a profane call to impeach President Trump.
She caused uproar on Capitol Hill earlier this week by insinuating that Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. -- her colleague on the House Oversight and Reform Committee -- had used Trump family friend Lynne Patton, an African-American, as a racist “prop” during former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s appearance before the panel. (Later, Tlaib and Meadows were seen sharing an embrace on the House floor, after apparently resolving their differences.)
Yet the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) may land the radical congresswoman into hot water with questions on whether her campaign broke the rules after making salary payments to Tlaib after Election Day last year.
Tlaib’s campaign began paying her a salary of about $4,000 every month since May 2018 up until the general election Nov. 6 – a perfectly legal practice if the campaign chose to do so. But according to the filings, as first spotted by the Washington Free Beacon, Tlaib also paid herself $2,000 on Nov. 16 and a whopping $15,500 on Dec. 1 – weeks after the election was over, in an apparent violation of FEC statutes.
The FEC rules state that a general election candidate is allowed to dip into campaign coffers to give himself or herself a salary only up to the election date. The candidate can no longer draw a salary after the election date, or because of other reasons that ended the campaign.
“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 rules 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.”
A Tlaib ally, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., grabbed headlines last year after saying that due to the rules that prohibit the use of campaign funds to pay a salary after the election date, she would have trouble finding an apartment in Washington, D.C. until she began receiving a paycheck for her work in Congress.
“I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real,” Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times at the time.
Tlaib’s office didn’t respond to Fox News’ request for a comment and clarification of the nature of the salary payment.
An FEC spokesperson told the Washinton Free Beacon that candidates are allowed to make payments to themselves after the election -- but only for activities that happened during the election period.
An election law and government ethics lawyer also told the outlet that Tlaib may have deflated her monthly payments during the campaign for political purposes while “knowing full well that she would make up any difference at the end by giving herself a lump sum payment.”
“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,” the lawyer added.