Jason Chaffetz: Rep. Rashida Tlaib may test Democratic claims that no one is above the law

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Freshman House Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., reportedly received payments from her campaign while running for office in 2016. While such unusual arrangements can be legal under narrow guidelines during the campaign season, Tlaib allegedly continued to take money from the campaign after the election, potentially violating federal law. Any payments prior to the election also must meet stringent requirements regarding legitimate campaign expenses.

In a report last week, the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) announced that the House Ethics Committee would extend its investigation into Tlaib after finding “substantial reason to believe” she violated campaign finance laws.

It was unusual and significant that specific documentation, including emails from Tlaib, was released to the public.

The OCE wrote, “(If Tlaib) converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use, or if Tlaib’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Tlaib may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”

In April 2018, Tlaib allegedly wrote, according to the OCE, that she was “struggling financially right now” and was “sinking.” She added, “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.”



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