Ethics Committee expands investigation into Rep. Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

DETROIT – An ethics investigation into Michigan U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) is expanding.

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics released on report regarding Tlaib’s campaign spending from last year. The board found she was paid more than $17,000 from her campaign after the general election.

READ: Rep. Rashida Tlaib dodges questions on ethics complaint, campaign T-shirts

While candidates are allowed to be paid by their campaign, it’s only for work performed through the general election.

The ethics complaints against Tlaib will now be reviewed by the House Ethics Committee.

Statement from Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics:

"On August 16, 2019, the Committee on Ethics received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) regarding Representative Rashida Tlaib. Pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3(b)(8)(A), and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(A) and 17A(c)(1), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics jointly decided on September 30, 2019, to extend the Committee’s review of the matter. In order to gather additional information necessary to complete its review, the Committee will review the matter pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a). The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.

In order to comply with Committee Rule 7 regarding confidentiality, out of fairness to all respondents, and to assure the integrity of its work, the Committee will refrain from making further public statements on this matter pending completion of its initial review.

Pursuant to Committee Rule 17A, the Committee hereby publishes OCE’s Report and Findings relating to allegations against Representative Tlaib, and Representative Tlaib’s response to OCE’s Report and Findings."

Comment from Rep. Tlaib:

“The matter before the House Ethics Committee is about salary I earned under a Federal Election Commission (FEC) rule that allows non-incumbent candidates to receive a salary from their campaign to make up for lost income while running for office. I have openly answered questions for more than a year about the salary I earned during our 2018 campaign. I am glad that the public now has access to the facts of this matter and can see for themselves that I have complied with FEC regulations and the law at all times.

When I ran for Congress in 2018, I had to leave my job as a civil rights attorney at the Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice to focus on campaigning full-time, while continuing to support my two young sons as a single mother. FEC regulations allow campaign committees to pay a limited salary to candidates to enable them to curtail outside employment to focus on their campaigns—a sacrifice incumbent members of Congress don’t have to make. This rule was created so that people of average means, who can’t afford to forego income, can run for office without that barrier.

After leaving my job and struggling to keep up with financial burdens without a steady source of income, and after consulting with my campaign leadership and attorney, the campaign ultimately decided to pay me a salary as permitted under FEC regulations to ensure I could focus on winning the election. During the campaign, I received the minimum salary payments necessary for me to meet my personal financial obligations, while ensuring that the campaign reserved the resources needed to reach voters. All in all, I was paid less than I was entitled to receive under FEC regulations.

I have cooperated fully and forthrightly, providing hundreds of pages of documents, emails, and text messages to the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Ethics Committee, and making my staff available to the Committee for interviews. Those documents and interviews show that my campaign and I diligently sought to comply with the FEC rule. 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.

It is our duty to ensure that Congress becomes a place that is made for people like me and everyday people who want to have a seat at the decision-making table.”

View the report from the Office of Congressional Ethics United States House of Representatives below:

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