Report indicates Rep. Omar’s campaign has paid her husband’s consulting firm nearly $2.8M
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has reportedly funneled almost $2.8 million to her husband’s political consulting company since the beginning of 2019. Her campaign paid $1.6 million to E Street Group LLC, which is owned by her husband, Tim Mynett, beginning in early 2019 to July 22, 2020, Fox News reported Tuesday, citing Federal Election Commission data.
An additional $1.1 million was sent to the firm in the third quarter and $27,000. That figure represents nearly 70 percent of the $1.6 million that her campaign spent in those three months. The money covered expenses including campaign services, cable advertising, “digital consulting,” video production, and editing.
Omar is one member of the Democratic ‘Squad’. All four members easily won reelection last week and Omar’s campaign finance issues did not seem to affect her winning a second term. However, they have been heatedly contested by observers and political opponents. She took almost 65 percent of the ballot during the vote, compared to Republican challenger Lacey Johnson’s 26 percent.
Omar is defending the expenses and said her campaign worked with Mynett’s firm long before they began a relationship. Their involvement allegedly began as an affair and then Mynett divorced his wife and married Omar. Mynett began working for Omar during the 2018 election – which she won by a landslide. The congresswoman filed for divorce from then-husband Ahmed Hirsi in October 2019 as the allegations of her affair with Mynett circulated in the media.
Mynett and his wife, who had been together since 2006 and have a 13-year-old son, got divorced in December last year after seven years of marriage. Dr. Mynett went on to claim in court documents that her husband, whose firm assisted other Democratic candidates, met Omar when he worked for her.
“We consulted with a top FEC campaign attorney to ensure there were no possible legal issues with our relationship,” Omar stated in a Twitter post in March, just days after she married Mynett. “We were told this is not uncommon and that no, there weren’t.”
My relationship with Tim began long after this work started.
We consulted with a top FEC campaign attorney to ensure there were no possible legal issues with our relationship. We were told this is not uncommon and that no, there weren’t.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 17, 2020
Their marriage took place in March, just weeks before Mynett’s firm was paid $189,000 by Omar’s campaign. The payments are possible because of a 1960s federal anti-nepotism statute that prohibits members of Congress from hiring relatives for government jobs but does not block family members from doing campaign work.
However, according to a political ethics expert quoted by The New York Post, the practice creates suspicion and should be banned.
“It should not be allowed,” said attorney Richard W. Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush White House. “I think it’s a horrible idea to allow it, given the amount of money that goes into these campaigns from special interests.”
Painter ran as a Democrat for a Minnesota Senate seat in 2018 but lost to Sen. Tina Smith in the primary.