Ilhan Omar Fined For Violating Campaign Finance Rules, Must Pay Back Misspent Funds (Report)

Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar repeatedly violated state laws and illegally used campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, Minnesota campaign finance officials ruled on Thursday.

As Fox News reports, the immediate fallout will include Omar paying back nearly $3,500 of money that she illegally spent while working in the Minnesota state legislature.

Per the report:

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., repeatedly violated state rules when she used campaign funds to pay for personal out-of-state travel as well as help on her tax returns and must reimburse her former campaign committee nearly $3,500, Minnesota campaign finance officials ruled Thursday.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said the first-term congresswoman also must pay the state a $500 civil penalty for using campaign money to travel to Florida, where she accepted an honorarium.

“Rep. Omar must personally reimburse the Omar committee $3,469.23,” the report concludes. “This reimbursement payment is the total amount of campaign funds that were used for purposes not permitted by statute in 2016 and 2017. Rep. Omar must provide documentation within 30 days from the date of this order showing the deposit of the reimbursement into the Omar committee’s account.”

In addition to the use of campaign funds, Omar could be in more trouble as she may also be investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for fraudulent tax filings.

According to the report, Omar and her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi filed jointly in 2014 and 2015, before they were married and while Omar was married to another man. This is a violation of state and federal law, Fox News reports.

“Omar engaged in a civil marriage with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi in 2009, and the couple separated in 2011 without formally petitioning for divorce until 2017,” the report continued.

And, “Prior to her marriage with Elmi, Omar had reportedly wed Hirsi in the Muslim “faith tradition,” but the couple separated shortly afterwards. Omar did not officially marry Hirsi until 2018, after reconciling with him and splitting with Elmi.”

The Western Journal adds:

The report released Thursday only dealt with whether or not Omar broke Minnesota campaign finance rules, which she clearly did.

The report details how her campaign funds paid for plane tickets out of states for her appearance at political rallies or picking up an award, while Minnesota law clearly states that all campaign trips have to be related to serving in office.

However, the elephant in the room will be her tax returns.

If Omar filed jointly with a man who wasn’t her husband at the same time she was married to someone else, that’s going to be a problem.

According to Fox News, Omar believes the investigation and the decision of the committee are politically motivated. She said though, she intends to comply with the board’s findings. Here’s more:

The board found that Omar’s campaign bought her a plane ticket to Boston, where she spoke at a political rally; paid for a hotel in Washington, D.C., where Omar participated in an interview for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl UP conference; and covered her travel to Chicago to accept an award and attend a fundraising luncheon.

Under Minnesota law, campaign trips must be related to serving in office. Omar was a state representative from Minneapolis at the time of the violations. She was elected to the U.S. House last November.

Republican state Rep. Steve Drazkowski initially raised the complaints against Omar, suggesting that she used $2,250 in campaign funds to pay a lawyer for her divorce proceedings. Omar has said those payments to her attorney were campaign-related fees.

The board found the payment was actually reimbursement to two other law firms for work related to immigration and tax documents. The board also determined that $1,500 spent to correct an issue on Omar’s tax return was not a campaign-related expense and must be returned.

According to the board, evidence indicates that the $2,250 was not payment for Omar’s marital dissolution. The board directed Omar to file an amended report with more information about the law firm payments.