House Ethics panel reviewing Tlaib over campaign salary

House Ethics panel reviewing Tlaib over campaign salary
© Aaron Schwartz

The House Ethics Committee on Monday announced it is extending a review of Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Democrats square off at final impeachment hearing Live coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing MORE (D-Mich.) over accepting a salary from her 2018 campaign before taking office.

The announcement was the first time the committee has publicly acknowledged that the progressive freshman lawmaker is under scrutiny.

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House Ethics Committee Chairman Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchBipartisan lawmakers condemn Iran, dispute State Department on number of protesters killed Bipartisan lawmakers introduce amendment affirming US commitment to military aid to Israel Ethics sends memo to lawmakers on SCIF etiquette MORE (D-Fla.) and the panel's ranking Republican, Rep. Kenny MarchantKenny Ewell MarchantHouse GOP wants Senate Republicans to do more on impeachment Ethics sends memo to lawmakers on SCIF etiquette Ethics panel investigating Rep. Hastings over relationship with staffer MORE (Texas), said in a joint statement that the probe "does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee."

The committee will announce its next course of action, such as potentially opening a formal investigation, by Nov. 14.

A spokesman for Tlaib said that the review involves allegations about her 2018 campaign salary but denied any wrongdoing.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) allows nonincumbent candidates to pay themselves a salary from their campaign committees if they meet certain criteria. The campaign salary is designed to help first-time candidates who aren't independently wealthy.

“As the Ethics Committee made clear, the fact that it received a referral does not mean any violation occurred,” Tlaib spokesman Denzel McCampbell said in a statement to The Hill. “Representative Tlaib has cooperated completely with the Committee to resolve the referral, which involves the same claims over her publicly disclosed salary during the campaign that conservative groups pressed back in March. Representative Tlaib fully complied with the law and acted in good faith at all times.”

Conservative outlets in March highlighted FEC records showing that Tlaib's campaign paid out $17,500 in salary disbursements after the Nov. 6, 2018, general election. One payment of $2,000 was dated Nov. 16, while another of $15,500 was dated Dec. 1.

The FEC rules for allowing a candidate to receive a campaign salary state that the payments can be made until the date of the general election or until the candidate is no longer running.

The rules also state that the salary cannot exceed the minimum annual salary for the federal office sought by the candidate or what the candidate received as income in the previous year.

An FEC spokesperson did tell The Washington Free Beacon in March that a candidate can pay themselves after the general election date for an activity that happened up to that date.

Tlaib is not the only freshman lawmaker to have taken a campaign salary.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Democrats reach cusp of impeachment Progressives hopeful for deal with Pelosi to avert showdown on drug prices MORE (D-N.Y.), a close Tlaib ally who had been working as a bartender before running for Congress, also collected a salary from her campaign before taking office.

Rank-and-file members of Congress currently earn a salary of $174,000 annually.