Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s (D-Michigan) annual financial disclosure forms have been filed after several delays and an interesting fact has come to light. It turns out that she had some income last year above and beyond her generous congressional salary in the form of rental property income. And it wasn’t an insubstantial amount of money. There’s nothing whatsoever illegal about that, providing that all of the income is disclosed, but Tlaib has placed herself in an awkward position politically. Last year she joined the rest of the members of “the squad” in sponsoring a bill calling for the cancellation of all rent and mortgage payments for the duration of the pandemic. That bill never wound up passing, but the intent was clear. Landlords shouldn’t be forcing tenants to pay rent during such trying times. And yet Rashida Tlaib seems to have cashed in quite nicely. (Fox News)
Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s annual financial disclosure shows that she made thousands of dollars in rental income last year, despite being a co-sponsor of a bill to cancel rent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tlaib joined fellow “Squad” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and other progressives in April 2020 to co-sponsor Rep. Ilhan Omar’s, D-Minn., bill to “institute a nationwide cancellation of rents and home mortgage payments through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.”
She tweeted during the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 that there should be a “moratorium” on mortgage and rent payments to “combat this public health crisis.”
As I mentioned above, this revelation puts Tlaib in the same boat as her squad-mate Ayanna Pressley. Pressley and her husband similarly collected thousands in rent on a property in Boston after calling to cancel all rent. Fox News asked Tlaib if she had offered her tenants (who paid her somewhere between $15,001 and $50,000) the opportunity to cancel their rent but she did not return a request for comment.
Of course, Tlaib is no stranger to hypocrisy when it comes to walking the walk after talking the talk in Congress. Remember that she also called for an end to all policing earlier this year, despite still maintaining armed security guards for herself. She regularly enjoys reminding everyone that she represents one of the poorest districts in the country with high crime rates. But she doesn’t seem to want to afford those constituents any protection from criminals while she remains considerably more secure.
As a capitalist, I don’t begrudge anyone, including members of Congress, the opportunity to earn income through investments in real estate and other legal endeavors. This is still America. You take your opportunities where you find them and investing in real estate represents a very real risk in some cases. There’s nothing wrong with being rewarded for risking those types of investments.
But if you’re going to do it, you should own up to it. Profiting from these sorts of ventures while you complain about the evils of capitalism is simply blatant hypocrisy. The charge becomes even more direct when you’re specifically calling out the evils of landlords collecting rent during a pandemic while you do the precise same thing yourself.
Will this sort of political misstep endanger her seat next year? That seems unlikely. She’s in one of the safest blue seats in the country. She drew a primary challenger last year who shocked the political world by massively outraising her in campaign cash, but in the end, it didn’t really slow her down and she cruised to another term. Don’t be shocked if the same thing happens again next year.