The House Ethics Committee ordered Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) to return $10,800 she paid herself from her campaign, a violation first discovered by the Washington Free Beacon in March 2019.
The committee ruled on Friday that Tlaib violated federal election laws in 2018 when she received $17,500 from her campaign after the election. While Federal Election Committee rules allow candidates to receive a salary from their campaign up to Election Day, candidates are prohibited from receiving contributions after being elected.
Though the payments violated the law, the report said the payments were not made out of "ill intent," but rather "in bad timing."
"The Committee, after further reviewing the allegations, has determined that the evidence is sufficient to support a determination that a portion of the salary payments that Representative Tlaib received after the 2018 general election was inconsistent with the requirements outlined by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971," the report said. "The Committee also recognizes, however, that Representative Tlaib’s violation of the applicable restrictions was one of bad timing and not ill intent. Representative Tlaib engaged in good faith efforts to comply with the relevant FECA requirements."
The report insists Tlaib only received a small salary from her campaign after leaving her full-time job as an attorney to focus on the election. An election law and government ethics lawyer told the Free Beacon when the payments were originally reported that Tlaib may have drawn a conservative salary during the campaign to avoid negative press coverage, with the intention of collecting a large sum after the election.
"What she may have done is to low ball her earlier payments for political purposes, knowing full well that she would make up any difference at the end by giving herself a lump sum payment," the lawyer said. "That would let her skirt negative publicity, of the sort that Alan Keyes generated when he paid himself a sizable salary."