Ilhan Omar, a Muslim Democrat Representative in Minnesota is in hot water after she was caught violating House rules at least two times in one week.
Omar, who is currently running for Congress to take over Keith Ellison’s seat in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District violated House rules by accepting $2,500 in speaking fees from two community colleges in Minnesota.
After she was exposed for violating House rules and criticized by her Republican colleagues, Omar on Monday said that she would return the $2,500.
“To address this concern, these honoraria will be returned to the institutions through their scholarship funds as soon as possible,” Omar said in a statement released by her office.
The House rule that Omar violated a Minnesota House rule that states members cannot accept honorariums for services from individuals and organizations that have direct interests in House business.
Although she is running for office, Omar is currently a member of the House committee that makes policy and funding decisions for the public colleges and universities in Minnesota, which is why her now exposed pay-for-play tactics with Minnesota colleges snd universities is concerning.
“I don’t like corruption in government, and neither do my constituents,” said Republican Rep. Steve Drazkowski, who represents District 21B in Mazeppa.
It is important to note that Omar consciously violated House rules and only retuned the money after she was caught. Shortly after she assumed office in January 2017, Omar was paid to speak at Normandale Community College in February and Inver Hills Community College in April.
Instead of taking full responsibility for her blatant violation of House rules, Omar pleaded ignorance and said she didn’t know the rules applied to her. She claimed that she booked the speaking engagements before she was elected in November 2016.
“It’s regrettable Rep. Drazkowski didn’t approach me directly with his concern so I could address this oversight,” said Omar, who appears to be playing the victim card in light of being caught participating in clear cut House violations.
Not only was Omar caught accepting money against House rules, but she also failed to file her required Statement of Economic Interest on time. On June 20, Omar finally filed her statement, months past the set deadline, and it is through her statement that Rep. Drazkowski discovered that violations had occurred.
Along with being forced to return the $2,500 in speaking fees, Omar also had to pay a $1,100 fine for failing to properly file her Statement of Economic Interest by the required deadline. Omar also received hundreds of dollars in compensated travel expenses for speaking engagements she was not supposed to accept as a House member.
“Being a legislator is not supposed to be a transactional occupation and that just appears to be what we have here,” Rep. Drazkowski said.
On July 11, Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra sent an email to campus leaders proclaiming that he was notified of the campuses that unethically paid Omar for her speaking engagements, and asked the schools to address the problem so that it wouldn’t happen again.
Omar is a repeat offender who is constantly embroiled in controversy. In May 2017, she was fined $1,000 after filing a late campaign contribution report. She is also being fined $150 for a late filing in November 2017.
“It continues to show really a worrisome pattern,” Rep. Drazkowski said. He noted that Omar has a “very unusual” amount of campaign finance violations.
Omar is one of three Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) candidates running for Ellison’s open congressional seat. Other candidates running against Omar for Ellison’s seat include former DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, and state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray. In June, Omar won the DFL Party endorsement for Congress.
Omar, who is no stranger to controversy and political malfeasance, first received national attention last year when she became the first Somali-American person elected to a state legislative seat in the United States after ousting a 44-year incumbent. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, she immigrated to the United States when she was a teenager.
Of even greater concern is Omar’s alleged campaign finance fraud. Last week, another complaint was filed with Minnesota’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board against Omar by Rep. Drazkowski, accusing Omar of using $2,500 of her campaign funds to pay her divorce lawyer, which is a direct violation of the law. According to the claim, Omar made the payment in November of 2016 to Kjellberg Law Office for “legal fees”. Kjellberg Law Office, which specializes in family law and divorce cases, handled Omar’s 2017 divorce.
Responding to the claim, Omar and her attorney denied the allegation and said the funds were used for “crisis management”.
“That’s absolutely false, I provided legal services for crisis management prior to that, and those funds were for reimbursements for costs on crisis management,” attorney Carla Kjellberg said.
It is worth noting that Omar has also been accused of having a fraudulent marriage to her biological brother. It is safe to say that being married to your brother and running for office in America would certainly create an image crisis, given that Omar allegedly married her brother in an attempt to help him easily immigrate to the United States. It is against the law to marry people under false pretenses with the intention of helping them immigrate to the United States.
According to Power Line Blog, Omar claims to be married to a man named Ahmed Hirsi, the father of her children and the man she publicly refers to as her husband, but the couple never finalized their marriage application and was never legally married on paper. In 2008, their non legal “marriage” ended.
However, Omar claims that in 2009, she legally married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a British citizen. Along with the Power Line blog, Alpha News also claims that Elmi is Omar’s brother. According to Alpha News , Omar was involved with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (her legal husband) and Ahmed Hirsi (her “cultural” husband and father of her children) at the same time. Although Omar has claimed that the accusations are false, Alpha News has confirmed that the legal name for Omar’s father is Nur Said Elmi Mohamed, which is the same last name as her legal husband.
“A number of baseless rumors have been made recently about my personal life and family. I will say it again here: they are absolutely false and ridiculous,” Omar said in a statement regarding the allegations.