When the freshmen Congressional class of 2018 was ushered into office, there was a sense by the media that the tides were shifting for the better. After all, the class contained the largest group of elected female representatives, including the “Squad.” Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the “Squad” also includes Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The New York Times proudly proclaimed that the women are the “Future of the Democratic Party.”
But three out of the four are now facing allegations of corruption.
It’s recently been announced that Rep. Rashida Tlaib is under investigation for illegitimately using campaign funds for personal use. According to Fox News, documents recently released show that Rep. Tlaib was “frantically contacting members of her staff for financial help.” She apparently even also asked for a “loan” from her campaign for personal reasons. The documents indicate that she paid herself $45,500 from her campaign committee. While people running for office can draw a salary from their campaigns, the situation does change after the individual is elected to office.
In a statement, Rep. Tlaib said, “I have cooperated fully and forthrightly, providing hundreds of pagese of documents, emails, and text messages to the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Ethics Committee, and making my staff available to the Committee for interviews. Those documents and interviews show that my campaign and I diligently sought to comply with FEC rule.”
If found guilty, then Rep. Tlaib has violated “House rules, standards of conduct and federal law.”
Although not officially under investigation yet, there have been growing calls for an ethics investigation into Rep. Ilhan Omar for giving $230,000 to her alleged lover, Tim Mynett. Judicial Watch, “a conservative non-partisan educational foundation that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law,” called for an investigation into her relationship with Mynett and payments to his consulting firm after his wife cited his affair with the congresswoman as part of the reason for their divorce. There are also questions about whether or not Rep. Omar married her brother in order to get him a green card.
When asked for comment about the allegations of an affair, she dismissed it as a “stupid question.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has also faced allegations of corruption for listing her live-in boyfriend as a staff member, but so far has been able to escape serious scrutiny. But a peripheral member of the “Squad” wasn’t so lucky.
Former Rep. Katie Hill resigned from office last month after reports that she was engaged in an affair with a man, and in a throuple with her husband and a female staffer. Her behavior and judgement forced Democratic party leader Nancy Pelosi to ask for her resignation. As a result, her first term in office was cut short.
There are other members of the House who are under investigation as well. Rep. Ross Spano of Florida is also facing charges of campaign finance violations, and Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida being investigated for having a relationship with a subordinate staff member.