Almost one year after first receiving a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”), the House Committee on Ethics released a report on its findings in the case of Representative Rashida Tlaib. In early 2019, media reports indicated that Representative Tlaib may have run afoul of campaign finance laws related to the salary she had paid herself from her congressional campaign committee. In August of 2019, the OCE transmitted a referral to the Committee on Ethics with the recommendation that a further investigation into the situation be initiated. The OCE cited that the FEC reports filed by Rep. Tlaib’s campaign committee, Rashida Tlaib for Congress, showed campaign disbursements that were paid to Representative Tlaib for a salary past November 6, 2018.
While non-incumbent candidates are authorized to receive a salary from their campaign committee – subject to certain limits — they may not do so after the conclusion of the general election. The Committee on Ethics, however, has deemed that $10,800 of the compensation paid to Representative Tlaib came after the general election date, which is prohibited by the Federal Election Campaign Act (“FECA”). In its ruling, the Committee “determined that Representative Tlaib did not comply with the letter of the relevant laws and regulations governing her receipt of salary payments from her Campaign.” The Committee will consider the matter closed, with no formal sanctions, provided Representative Tlaib “return the funds that she improperly received to her Campaign in full” within one year.
The full report from the House Committee on Ethics can be found here.