Ilhan Omar Faces Second Investigation Into Misuse of Campaign Funds

Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis), who easily won her election for Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District Tuesday, now faces a second investigation into her purported misuse of campaign dollars for personal benefit.

As The Minnesota Sun previously reported, the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board (CFB) found “probable cause” against Omar and her state legislature campaign committee for at least three separate violations. In October, the CFB announced that it would investigate Omar for the alleged use of campaign funds to pay for legal fees owed to her divorce attorney, noting that the congresswoman-elect may have personally benefited from “immigration and accounting services” accrued from the transaction.

Omar also faced public scrutiny for the acceptance of speaker fees from local community colleges that lobby at the state Capitol, a violation of Minnesota House rules.

On Monday, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) announced that an additional investigation has been opened up into Omar’s alleged use of campaign funds to pay for airline tickets to attend a rally for Boston City Council candidate Deego Jibril.

According to a CFB report provided to Drazkowski, it has found “probable cause” that Omar’s “out of state travel may not have been to events that would have helped a candidate in the performance of state legislative duties.”

Drazkowski also took issue with airline expenses related to Omar’s trip to Estonia, saying that her year-end report includes $3,000 in travel-related disbursements.

“I’m pleased the Campaign Finance Board is taking Representative Omar’s blatant misuse of taxpayer resources seriously. Omar doesn’t get to pick and choose the rules she wants to follow, yet it appears that’s exactly what she’s been doing,” said Drazkowski, who has filed numerous complaints against Omar for her alleged finance violations.

Omar has yet to respond to the new investigation, but previously accused Drazkowski of attempting to derail a Muslim woman’s campaign, saying that “it should be concerning to his constituents that he is using taxpayer dollars to harass a Muslim candidate.”

“We have not been cited for any campaign violations, and look forward to working with the Campaign Finance Board in a fair and transparent process,” she added, according to The Pioneer Press.

The Star Tribune Editorial Board later responded to the investigation, saying Omar “owes a fuller explanation to Fifth District voters—and soon.”

“Omar’s response to the latest accusation has been terse,” the Editorial Board wrote. “To be sure, the sum of money in question in any one of these accusations is small. But together, the charges suggest a pattern of carelessness and/or self-dealing with legally restricted funds. Neither conclusion inspires the confidence voters deserve to have in someone they send to the U.S. House to represent them.”

Drazkowski responded to Omar’s comments by noting that his allegations against her are now under investigation.

“She not only has failed to offer any explanation for her ignorance of our laws but had the audacity to tell her constituents she has not been cited for any campaign finance violation,” he said Monday. “Well, the Campaign Finance Board now has two open investigations against her and it’s long past time for Omar to give the public some real answers as to why she’s tap-dancing around our laws and using campaign dollars for personal gain.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
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