In a March 11, 2010 newspaper article in The Detroit News, Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D-MI) father accused her of lying “big-time to get elected” by falsifying her address on an election affidavit.
Tlaib’s father, Harbi Elabed, made the accusations against Tlaib, who at the time was a freshman state-level representative from the 12th District in Detroit’s Southwest side. The newspaper article was scrubbed from the internet when The Detroit News migrated to a new website but was available in a subscription-based digital archive. The Detroit News reported:
He said his daughter misrepresented her residency when she signed an election affidavit in 2008 with the Wayne County Clerk claiming she was a citizen of Detroit.
According to that affidavit, Tlaib claimed she lived at 9123 Rathbone in Detroit. That house is owned in part by her father, Harbi Elabed, and he now says she did not live there and he was only recently made aware that she had claimed so.
“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.”
The Detroit News continued:
Dearborn is not a part of the 12th House District that Tlaib was elected to represent.
Residency issues are very difficult to prove. To become a candidate, you must be a “registered and qualified elector” of that district, according to state law. That means you must have your primary residence — the address on your driver’s license and where you’re registered to vote — in that district.
There is no law however, according to state election officials, saying that a person must spend any particular number of days, weeks or months at a certain location. Perjury is an offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Tlaib even admitted at the time that accusations against her caused problems for her, saying: “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.”
The Detroit News added:
According to property and tax records, Tlaib lived in a house on Tireman in Dearborn that her husband purchased a decade ago. Taxes were paid on that house in 2009 with her husband claiming it as his primary residence.
But in 2008, as Tlaib was preparing for a run for the seat, she said she separated from her husband and moved into her father’s house with her two brothers.
Tlaib said she had bills to prove where she lived but it does not appear that she ever provided those bills to the newspaper to validate her claims.
Tlaib’s father said that he came forward with the allegation because it was part of a “growing litany of transgressions that his daughter committed upon him — culminating in a dispute about care of his aged mother, who suffers from dementia,” adding that Tlaib “sided against him and in favor of his nephew in a battle of custody, a complete breach of family values.”
“My sons told me blood is thicker than water and I should keep my mouth shut, so OK, I did,” Elabed said. “Then she crossed the line with her father. When she interferes in the father’s business, when she shows him no respect. This life in politics has changed her.”
Tlaib ended up reconciling with her husband and moved next door to her father.
“It’s not surprising that he did this to me. It’s not. He was abusive to me as a girl and he’s angry at me about my grandmother,” Tlaib claimed. “I know he’s proud of what I’ve accomplished but he’s also vindictive. It’s all very embarrassing. What do they say, you can’t choose your family?”