Corruption? Ilhan Omar Finally Cuts Ties with Husband’s Firm After Shelling Out Millions
In September, in an interview with The New York Times, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar was asked whether her campaign would cut ties with a political consulting firm it had a cozy relationship with, considering the fact she shared a cozy — in fact, conjugal — relationship with the firm’s co-owner.
The Democrat’s campaign had paid nearly $3 million to the E Street Group, owned by Omar-lover-turned-spouse Tim Mynett. The arrangement had turned a lot of heads, given the obvious ethical implications. However, Omar pushed back on the implication that there was anything wrong.
Cutting ties with the E Street Group now that she and Mynett are married, Omar told The Times, “would be the stupid thing to do. You don’t stop using the service of people who are doing good work because somebody thinks it means something else.”
“Why would I not work with people who understand my district, who have been working there for 10 years, who understand what it means to raise resources for a candidate like myself and manage and target our communications to our district to battle the misinformation and narratives that the media and our adversaries continue to put out?”
On Sunday, she announced she was doing something stupid.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the representative said in an email to supporters that she was cutting ties with her husband’s group to eliminate the appearance of a conflict of interest, saying she wanted to “make sure that anybody who is supporting our campaign with their time or financial support feels there is no perceived issue with that support.”
Yes, apparently Nov. 15, 2020, was the perfect date for Omar to announce she was closing the Minneapolis barn door on any “perceived issue” with the arrangement, all while that horse had left so long ago that it was already clear to Montana.
“Every dollar that was spent went to a team of more than twenty that were helping us fight back against attacks and organize on the ground and online in a COVID-19 world,” the email continued. “And Tim — beyond his salary at the firm — received no profit whatsoever from the consulting relationship the firm provided.”
Omar went on to say that she wanted everyone to know that she and Mynett had “found true happiness together.”
“And while I won’t comment more on our personal life than that, I can assure you that every interaction our campaign had with the folks on his team, were allowed under federal law,” she added.
However, exactly when she found this true happiness with Mynett and why her spending with his firm accelerated as this true happiness became more widely known may raise some eyebrows.
The relationship between the two first became a matter of public speculation in August of 2019, when Mynett’s former wife alleged in a divorce filing that her husband’s affair with Omar had precipitated the breakup of their marriage.
“The parties physically separated on or about April 7, 2019, when Defendant told Plaintiff that he was romantically involved with and in love with another woman, Ilhan Omar,” stated court documents, first reported by the New York Post.
“Defendant’s more recent travel and long work hours now appear to be more related to his affair with Rep. Omar than with his actual work commitments.”
At the time, Omar denied the relationship, telling WCCO-TV that she wasn’t separated from her then-husband, Ahmed Hirsi, or dating outside of her marriage and that “I have no interest in really allowing the conversation about my personal life to continue.”
Days later, however, came reports that Omar had been separated from Hirsi for months and that he was filing for divorce.
When Omar’s relationship with Mynett was first reported in August of 2019, the amount her campaign had spent with the E Street Group was reported at $230,000. That swelled to $370,000 by November of 2019 and $587,000 by January of this year.
In March, Omar and Mynett announced they were married. By late July, the Washington Free Beacon reported, Omar had spent $1.6 million with the firm during the 2020 election cycle, including $606,000 in the first three weeks of July alone. This accounted for 77 percent of the campaign’s disbursements over that period.
Between then and the end of September, the Omar campaign spent another $1.1 million with the organization, bringing the grand total to $2.7 million, the Free Beacon reported, noting the amount was 70 percent of the campaign’s disbursements between July 23 and then.
The arrangement could be technically legal, if optically problematic.
“Salary payments to a member of a candidate’s family are not considered personal use, provided that the family member is providing bona fide services to the campaign and at a rate that does not exceed fair market value of the services provided,” a public affairs specialist at the Federal Elections Commission told the New York Post shortly after the scandal first broke.
“I think it’s a horrible idea to allow it, given the amount of money that goes into these campaigns from special interests,” he told the New York Post in July.
In March, after her marriage to Mynett, Omar pushed back in a Twitter thread, saying that the controversy “is what happens when rightwing Twitter trolls are treated as authorities on campaign law.”
“If the trolls looked at the our campaign finance reports, they would see a substantial portion is for digital buys, print and advertising which are costs that get passed on,” she added.
Ah yes, we trolls, curious over why a sitting American congresswoman decided to divert a substantial amount of her campaign’s finances in the direction of someone she was in a relationship with.
While she faced well-financed opponents, the only reason there was even much of a race to speak of in the Democratic primary — aside from Omar’s frequent anti-Semitic dog-whistles — was the Mynett controversy, which Omar challenger Anton Melton-Meaux highlighted. Even then, she garnered almost 60 percent of the vote.
Omar had already been fined for campaign finance controversies before this. Yet, she apparently thought after all this, it would be “stupid” to cut ties with Mynett’s firm until after the election.
In her email, Omar told her supporters that “you deserve to be a part of a movement that you can rely on, believe in, and know that it is holding itself to the highest possible standards.”
She just didn’t explain why they didn’t deserve it before Sunday.
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