Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is like so many other politicians serving in our Congress — feigning concern for the poor while padding her pocket with millions.
She wraps herself in righteous indignation as she lobbies for workers displaced by coronavirus, but reaps significant amounts of campaign cash via marriage.
She introduced legislation Friday to cancel rent and mortgage payments nationwide until unemployment levels stabilize. It would also create a fund for landlords and mortgage holders to cover losses from the canceled payments.
She urged Congress to include illegal immigrants in their next relief package and called for a halt to all deportations during the pandemic. Under her legislation help would be available to all Americans regardless of income or employment status.
These proposals are high-minded and philanthropic, if only they were not also encouraging migrants to flout our immigration laws and pillage government coffers.
They also serve as a smokescreen to deflect from her disturbing pattern of directing over a million in campaign funds to political consultant Tim Mynett. He is her former paramour — now husband — who married her last month.
Her campaign committee is on track to pay Mynett’s consulting company E Street Group $1.16M this year, twice what he was disbursed in 2019. He was collecting close to $20,000 a month until he started receiving an additional payment of $50,000 in December last year. The timing was significant as the couple had just finalized divorces with their former spouses.
The filings posted by the Federal Election Commission last Wednesday show that Omar’s campaign shells out regular monthly payments of $67,000 to E Street. They are itemized as $50,000 for ‘digital advertising,’ $12,000 for ‘fundraising consulting’ and $5,000 for ‘digital consulting.’
The payments accounted for over 40 percent of the campaign’s $674,892 in disbursements. The FEC filings shows Omar raised $456,374 during the quarter and just under $3 million since the start of 2019.
Her husband’s company also received a total of $523,000 in payments from her campaign last year.
Federal Election laws clearly state that family members can be paid for campaign work as long as they provide a bona fide service at a fair market value, but the payments are raising ethical, if not legal questions.
“As a family, we are committed to the practice of joy, compassion and love in our politics. And we are giving ourselves the permission to be happy and hope others will as well,” Omar tweeted last month.
National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative watchdog, has filed a complaint with the FEC over Omar’s spending. Chairman Peter Flaherty said this week, “Most candidates for federal office keep a close eye on their vendors to make sure they aren’t being overcharged, but with her being married to her chief fundraiser the incentive may be the other way round as the money spent is going directly to the family.”
“Basically, her campaign finance disclosures read more like a wedding registry where friends can make gifts to the happy couple,” said Flaherty.
Antone Melton-Meaux, who is challenging her for the state’s fifth congressional seat, wrote an article for the Minnesota Star Tribune earlier this month posing serious questions.
“While Rep. Omar has the right to be married to whomever she chooses, she thinks voters don’t have the right to know when her relationship with Mynett began or why her spending with his firm has significantly increased. That doesn’t work for us,” he wrote.
“Rep. Omar’s campaign has raised more than $2 million, but less than $100,000 of her itemized contributions come from people in her district. That means more than 95% of her financial support comes from somewhere else.”
Omar was asked by WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy in August 2019, whether she was dating Mr. Mynett. She said no. Mynett’s then-wife filed for divorce that same month, with Omar filing in October.