House ethics panel concludes 'Squad' member Tlaib violated campaign law, must repay $10,800

Committee rules payments from campaign after she won election were illegal but there was no 'ill intent.'

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Tlaib
Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Talib, Iowa, February 2020
(Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Updated: August 7, 2020 - 10:21pm

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The House Ethics Committee unanimously ruled Friday that Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and member of the rebellious group of liberals known as "the Squad,"  violated election law by paying herself campaign funds after winning the 2018 election.

The committee concluded that Tlaib's violations were the result of "bad timing" and not "ill intent" and that her only penalty should be to repay within a year $10,800 in monies she improperly collected.

The ruling was made public just a few days after Tlaib won a tough primary race on Tuesday.

"The Committee has determined that Representative Tlaib’s receipt of a portion of the post-general election payments violated FECA’s personal use restrictions because: (1) it represented a salary payment that covered a time period after she ceased being a candidate; and (2) it represented a deferred compensation payment that covered a time period after she ceased being a candidate," the committee's official report declared.

Candidates for federal office may pay themselves a reasonable salary during a campaign, which must cease after Election Day.

Tlaib's campaign argued the post-election payments she received in 2018 were deferred compensation but the committee found conflicting evidence and concluded the payments violated the "letter" of the law but were not an effort to "unjustly enrich herself."

You can read the ruling here.

Tlaib is one of four freshman who won election in 2018 who became known as "the Squad," a boisterous and proudly ultra liberal group that has pressured the House Democratic caucus to move further left on issues ranging from spending to social justice.

They also have been known for their intensity and occasional irreverence. Tlaib, for instance, made waves in January 2019 shortly before she took office when she declared "we’re gonna impeach the motherf---er" in reference to President Trump.

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