Rashida Tlaib Misrepresented Soros Stipend in Financial Disclosures

Congresswoman-elect did not disclose name of source and wrote a lesser amount than given

Rashida Tlaib / Twitter

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Congresswoman-elect Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) did not disclose the name of the source of funds for a fellowship that was paid by liberal billionaire George Soros—as required by the House ethics committee—and also disclosed a lesser amount than she received, according to a review of tax and financial disclosure forms.

The Washington Free Beacon obtained the most recent copies of tax forms for a number of Soros's organizations, including the Open Society Institute, the legal name for the Open Society Foundations, the entity in which Soros pushes millions in funding to a number of liberal causes and organizations.

An expenditure of $85,307 to Rashida Tlaib in Detroit, Mich., from 2017 is shown on page 97 of the 321-page report to "to increase involvement of disenfranchised urban communities of color with their local governance process by creating a community benefits strategy for equitable development and creating a leadership training for impacted residents focused on negotiation skills and identifying leverage at the local level."

Tlaib did not report any income in the amount of $85,307 on financial disclosure forms submitted as she was running for office, which identified the names of the sources that provided her income in three of four cases. Tlaib received compensation from the Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center, Wayne State University, and Metro Solutions, the forms show. 

However, the fourth reported source of earned income is marked as a "Leadership in Government Fellowship," but does not identify who provided the payment.

A press release from 2016 shows that Tlaib was chosen for a "leadership in government" fellowship by Soros's Open Society Foundations along with seven other individuals.

"The eight fellows, chosen from the senior ranks of federal, state, and local government, will work on a wide variety of issue areas: devising new ways to bring criminal justice reform to local prosecutors' offices; developing new strategies for helping school children exposed to trauma; improving life outcomes for low-wage workers, immigrants, and boys and men of color; and closing the digital divide, and more," the release reads.

A spokesman for Soros's Open Society Foundations said Tlaib's fellowship was terminated earlier this year when she informed the group she would be running for Congress..

Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, said that Tlaib's failure to report the source of her income is "problematic" due to rules requiring that the income source be identified.

Candidates are required to disclose the name of groups and organizations that provide their source of income, according to the manual on financial disclosure statements from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ethics.

"Identify the source by naming the organization, corporation, or other entity making the payment. It is not necessary that individual clients of a business be named, only the business itself," the manual states on page 31. "For example, on Schedule C, an editor would report the name of the publishing firm as the source of earned income, not the clients for whom the work was performed. Describe the type of income as salary, commissions, fees, pension, etc., as appropriate."

The $68,307 income marked for the "Leadership in Government Fellowship" on the financial disclosure forms is also $17,000 less than the $85,307 that was marked as being paid out by Soros's group.

Arnold said this discrepancy is not as clear and could be the result of hard costs associated with the program.

"Filers must report the exact amount of income earned by them," the ethics manual reads. "Filers are not required to report an amount for their spouse’s income; rather they should report "N/A" in the "Amount" column. Filers, however, are required to report the exact amount of an honorarium received by their spouse."

Tlaib was paid $139,873 by Soros's group in 2016, tax forms show. Between 2016 and 2017, Tlaib received a total of $225,180.

Tlaib did receive any income from the Open Society Foundations in 2018, Soros's spokesman said.

Tlaib's campaign acknowledged receiving the Washington Free Beacon's inquiry but did not explain why the source of funding was excluded from her financial disclosure forms and why the amount is lower than what she actually received by press time.

UPDATE 11:45 A.M.: Jonathan Kaplan, the communications officer for the Open Society Foundations, sent the following quote after publication:

"Rashida Tlaib was awarded a Leadership in Government fellowship from the Open Society Foundations in the fall of 2016. Her project: to focus on increasing the civic participation of disenfranchised urban communities of color. When Ms. Tlaib informed us that she was planning to run for Congress, we mutually agreed to suspend her fellowship and no further payments were made."

This post has been updated to reflect Kaplan's comment.

Joe Schoffstall   Email Joe | Full Bio | RSS
Joe Schoffstall is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Previously, he spent three years with the Media Research Center and was most recently with the Capitol City Project. He can be reached at Schoffstall@freebeacon.com. His Twitter handle is @JoeSchoffstall.

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