A donor to Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) has been dead for more than a decade, the latest irregularity in the congresswoman’s campaign and time in office.
Tlaib received a $2,500 donation from a George S. Farah Sr. on June 22, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Public records perused by the Washington Free Beacon show that a man with the same name and living at the same address died on Feb. 1, 2009.
Tlaib is the only federal official to receive a donation in Farah’s name this election cycle but Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) also received funds in Farah’s name between 2011 and 2017.
— Brent Scher (@BrentScher) July 31, 2019
Farah, a businessman and real estate developer who migrated to the United States from the Palestinian territories in the 1950s, died at age 73 more than a decade ago, reported Mlive.com.
Political donations from dead people do happen but are rare, election lawyers and campaign finance experts previously told the Center for Responsible Politics.
“Any time a contribution is made in the name of a deceased person, it’s potentially problematic,” said Larry Noble, an attorney at D.C. law firm Skadden Arps and former executive director of the center. “Generally, the dead aren’t supposed to give.”
One case that would be legal is an individual establishing a trust and leaving instructions on how to donate in their name.
That’s what happened in the case of Kildee, a representative told the Free Beacon.
“Gisele Farah is the sole beneficiary of a trust in her late husband’s name, George S. Farah Sr., who passed away in 2009,” the Kildee campaign spokesman said.
“Since his death, Gisele Farah, as the sole beneficiary in control of the trust, has contributed to the campaign with funds from her trust. Our campaign’s records have been amended to clarify that the campaign contributions were from Gisele Farah and should be designated under her name.”
Gisele Farah has not commented publicly on the donations.
Tlaib sent a similar statement to the Free Beacon.
“Gisele Farah is the sole beneficiary of a trust in her late husband’s name, George S. Farah Sr., who as you noted passed away in 2009.,” a Tlaib spokesperson said.
“Gisele Farah, as the sole beneficiary in control of the trust, contributed to our campaign with funds from her trust. We will amend our campaign records and filings to clarify that the campaign contribution was from Gisele Farah and should be designated under her name.”
The maximum penalty for making false statements to a federal agency and making illegal campaign contributions from a corporation is five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine, according to the Department of Justice.
Tlaib has been accused of irregularities before.
Her father, Harbi Elabed, said that his daughter lied about where she lived in order to get elected.
Elabed told The Detroit News in 2010 that the house Tlaib swore to have lived in at the time, 9123 Rathbone, Detroit, which was partially owned by him, was not her home.
“She lied,” Elabed said. “She lied big-time to get elected. I never teach her that way. I teach her the right way. It’s my house. She didn’t live there. She lived in Dearborn in her house with her husband and boy.”
Dearborn was not a part of the district that Tlaib was elected to represent. While there’s no law that says a person must spend a particular amount of time at any of their houses, enabling politicians to have multiple houses and spend most of their time outside their district if they wish, perjury is an offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Tlaib said that her father was wrong.
“People have questioned that a lot, but never my father and I’m sad about that. The point is I complied with the law. I moved into the district before I filed. Period,” she said. She claimed to have bills proving where she lived but never produced them.