Rep. Omar Guilty of Using Campaign Funds For Personal Expenses – Now Must Pay Thousands In Fines

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Rep. Ilhan Omar must pay a $500 civil fine to the state of Minnesota for violating a campaign finance law, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ordered on Thursday.

Additionally, she must reimburse her political campaign $3,469 for improperly used campaign funds, the board said in the decision.

Rep. Omar’s campaign improperly paid hotel or travel expenses for Omar to attend out-of-state events five times in 2017, the board has found. The board also found Rep. Omar’s campaign paid for Omar’s immigration records and two years of tax returns without justifying their benefit to her campaign.

The order reads: “Rep. Omar must personally reimburse the Omar committee $3,469.23. 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.”

“A civil penalty of $500 is assessed against Rep. Ilhan Omar personally for the $207 payment in violation of Minnesota Statutes section 211B.12. Rep. Omar must personally pay the $500 by check or money order made payable to the State of Minnesota. Payment must be within 30 days of the date of this order.”

The Daily Caller also reported that Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar improperly spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds on non-campaign expenses back in 2016 and 2017 while serving in the state legislature, Minnesota’s campaign finance and public disclosure board ruled on Thursday.

Republican Minnesota state Rep. Steve Drazkowski filed the initial complaint in July 2018, alleging Rep. Omar’s campaign had paid attorneys $2,250 for services related to Rep. Omar’s 2017 marriage dissolution.

He later amended his complaint to include the payments Rep. Omar’s campaign made for her personal travel.

While the state board did find that Rep. Omar’s campaign made improper expenditures, it didn’t find the $2,250 went toward Rep. Omar’s marriage dissolution.

“The 2016 payment of $2,250 from the Omar committee to the Kjellberg Law Office was not a payment for Rep. Omar’s subsequent marital dissolution,” the board stated in its findings.

“The $2,250 payment was a reimbursement for two payments made by the Kjellberg Law Office. One payment of $750 was made to De Leon & Nestor, LLC for obtaining immigration records and one payment of $1,500 was made to Frederick & Rosen, Ltd. for services related to Mr. Hirsi’s and Rep. Omar’s filed joint tax returns of 2014 and 2015.”

“I’m glad this process is complete and that the Campaign Finance Board has come to a resolution on this matter. We have been collaborative in this process and are glad the report showed that none of the money was used for personal use, as was initially alleged,” Rep. Omar said in a statement that was released by her campaign.

“In addition to complying with the Board’s findings, I plan on closing the account from my State House race and distributing the funds to organizations that help train first-time candidates to run for office—so that the next generation of candidates and their teams know how to adequately track and report campaign expenses. I also believe we need to dedicate more resources to our campaign finance agencies—and I look forward to supporting these efforts,” Omar concluded.

You can read the full order in this Link.