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Ilhan Omar fined by state for unlawful use of campaign funds

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 6/7/2019 John Gage
Ilhan Omar looking at the camera © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., has to personally pay a fine for multiple violations of the state’s campaign finance laws.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ordered the freshman Democrat to personally pay a $500 civil fine along with paying back $3,469 to her Minnesota statehouse campaign after she unlawfully used funds for multiple personal expenses.

The board required Omar to repay $2,250 she had been reimbursed for law firm invoices for her immigration records and personal tax returns. The report said the law firm was tied to a "crisis committee" which was created to defend her against allegations that the congresswoman had married her brother in an immigration scheme.

In addition, the board found that on five different occasions that Omar paid for travel and hotel expenses on out-of-state trips in 2017, including a rally for a local candidate in Boston, that Omar had "categorized as expenses of serving in public office."

The investigation started in 2018 after Minnesota GOP state Rep. Steve Drazkowski filed a complaint to the board.

“This just really adds on to the litany of disrespect for the law that Rep. Omar has,” Drazkowski told the Washington Examiner after the board’s report was released Thursday. “You have eight violations here.”

Drazkowski, who filed multiple complaints, called Omar “a serial violator of the law” who had no hesitation when it came to trampling on campaign finance rules.

Omar said in a statement she would comply with the board’s fine.

"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,” Omar said.

She also said she plans to close the account from the state race and give the money to organizations that help first-time candidates "so that the next generation of candidates and their teams know how to adequately track and report campaign expenses.”

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