Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., left, joined at right by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listens to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib has managed to stay out of the news lately but she’s back in it tonight, and in a big way.
The Office of Congressional Ethics has referred Tlaib to the House Ethics Committee for campaign finance violations. An investigation has now been opened and part of the evidence includes messages sent by the Congresswoman asking for money from her campaign for personal use.
BREAKING: Congress Releases Messages Showing Tlaib Asked Campaign For Personal Money, Announces Investigation Into Her https://t.co/G6ZoHG60pb
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 15, 2019
Here’s part of the complaint from the OCE.
Rep. 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. 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.
From what it looks like, she appears to be caught red-handed.
“Texts and emails released by the Ethics Committee show Tlaib frantically contacting members of her staff for financial help,” Fox News’ Gregg Re reported. “The OCE also attached scans of checks made out to Tlaib from her campaign, totaling thousands of dollars.”
“I am struggling financially right now. … I am sinking,” Tlaib wrote on April 4, 2018, later adding, “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.”
There are copies of checks and numerous email and text messages to back up the allegations. All of this happened prior to her election during her campaign for the House of Representatives in 2018.
There’s so much irony here that it’s hard not to burst out laughing. Tlaib has been at the forefront calling for the impeachment of President Trump. She’s consistently accused him of corruption and has even hit him on campaign finance issues dating back to the Stormy Daniels matter. All the while, Tlaib herself knew that she had illegally taken money from her campaign coffers. No one in Washington has any shame I guess.
Honestly, reading the emails, it sounds like she may have legitimately been struggling, but her hypocrisy on this issue will earn her no sympathy now.
Fox News’ write up includes some comments from her lawyers when the OCE probe was first opened.
Talib’s lawyers said in August there was no evidence that she violated the law on purpose or otherwise, and insisted there were no bad intentions. They noted that Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations permit campaigns to “pay limited salary to candidates who curtail outside employment to focus on their campaigns” in certain limited conditions that, the lawyers said, were met in this instance.
The attorneys went on to say it was “most irregular” for OCE to call for a probe into a member of Congress based on pre-election activities, and argued that there was no “conscious disregard of any law or regulation.” Tlaib was paid by her campaign after Election Day, the attorneys conceded, but they asserted that the money was for services performed before Election Day.
The problem is that it doesn’t appear she actually curtailed her outside employment. The idea that she didn’t know what she was doing is also questionable, as there’s an email exchange between her and her campaign showing Tlaib being warned about still working her day job.
The next shoe to drop is going to be a DOJ investigation, which is probably already underway. There’s very little chance they sit idly by with all of this evidence now out there. When that happens, things are really going to explode and you can expect lots of gnashing of teeth and accusations of “politically motivated” investigations. In the meantime, I’d expect the mainstream media to enact a near total black-out. As of this writing, only right-leaning sources and local Detroit media have reported on this breaking news.
Tlaib will be protected at all costs at the national level but she was already very vulnerable to a primary challenge back in her district. This latest news may be enough to cost her the chance to even run for re-election next year.
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