Far-left Rep. Rashida Tlaib is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee amid allegations claiming the freshman Democrat begged her staffers for funds to cover her personal expenses in violation of campaign finance laws.
In a slew of text messages and emails publicly disclosed by the House Ethics Committee Thursday, Tlaib, congresswoman famous for promising to “impeach the motherfucker” is seen pleading with her staffers to illegally give her funds.
“I’m sinking,” she wrote in one exchange, pleading with former Michigan state Rep. Steve Tobocman and her senior policy advisor Andrew Goddeeris for cash to pay for her mortgage, child care, and other personal expenses.
“I am struggling financially right now. Fayez doesn’t pay child support (my fault for not pushing him) and Shane is not helping as much as I had hoped. Sugar Law Center is going to compile all my vacation and sick days to give me another full paycheck, but I am sinking,” she wrote. “I budgeted myself, but I think I underestimated having to handle rent and mortgage. The house finally got clearance to rent from the city. We had a ton of interest last month but I didn’t want to risk the attacks by proceeding without clearance.”
“So I was thinking the campaign could loan me money, but Ryan said that the committee could actually pay me. I was thinking a one time payment of 5k. I can always borrow from the brother, but wanted to ask you both first,” the email continued.
The correspondence between Tlaib and her staffers reveal the self-described “Squad member” fell into a financial pit while campaigning in 2018, prompting her to consider renting her house and taking on a second job with her former employer, but was warned by Tobocman and Goddeeris an additional job would limit her ability to campaign.
Tlaib asks her staffers to provide her with $4000 a month from her campaign funds “to lean back on” in another email exchange.
“I am just not going to make it through the campaign without a stipend,” she wrote. “With the loss of a second income to lean back on, I am requesting $2,000 per two weeks but not exceeding $12,000.”
“The cost of living stipend is going towards much needed expenses due to campaigning that includes car maintenance, child care and other necessities,” she continued. “Please let me know if I can proceed.”
The campaign subsequently agreed to pay her a $4,000 per month stipend, maintaining the payment adheres to campaign finance law.
Yet, text message exchanges between Ryan Anderson, Tlaib’s soon-to-be campaign manager, and Goddeeris prove they were wary about the decision, warning the then-congressional candidate she would face backlash if the public became aware of the scheme.
“Sorry for the early text but do you think the campaign can still pay me a stipend until the general. Trying to get out of debt,” Tlaib wrote.
“I think we definitely afford to do so,” Anderson responded. “But we need to really clearly define your time and space if you’re also working at Sugar, the combo might draw the most concern.”
“I think if you’re going to take a salary from the campaign, which I think you should, you should think very hard about whether you need to be working part time at Sugar, because if you didn’t like the media’s reaction to you taking a salary while campaigning full time you probably won’t like the story that Rashida is paying herself from the campaign while getting paid by her job,” Godderris warned.
Towards the end of her campaign, Tlaib received a $15,500 payment. A note at the bottom of the payment states “11/6 -12/31 adjustment.”
There is “substantial reason to believe” Tlaib violated rules and possibly committed a crime, the House Ethics Committee warns.
The Office of Congressional Ethics also warns Tlaib may pay be penalized for her financial malfeasance.
“Tlaib’s campaign committee, Rashida Tlaib for Congress, reported campaign disbursements that may not be legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes,” the OCE said in a statement. “If Rep. Tlaib converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use, or if Rep. Tlaib’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Rep. Tlaib may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”
Tlaib’s attorneys insist the payments she received from her campaign were within the law, arguing the committee is “exceeding its authority” and becoming a “partisan battleground” by probing the congresswoman.
“In short, the facts as presented in the findings are entirely consistent with compliance with the law and House rules,” a statement from them said.
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