Minnesota Board: Yes, Omar Violated State Campaign Finance Rules

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Posted: Jun 07, 2019 8:10 AM
Minnesota Board: Yes, Omar Violated State Campaign Finance Rules

Source: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) repeatedly violated campaign finance rules by using funds from her congressional campaign to pay for personal travel and on her tax returns, Minnesota campaign finance officials ruled Thursday.

The Democrat must reimburse her former campaign committee approximately $3,500 for those expenses. She must also pay a $500 civil penalty to the state for using campaign money to travel to Florida to accept an honorarium, the Associated Press reports. 

The board found Omar’s campaign bought a plane ticket to Boston to speak at a political rally; paid for a hotel in Washington, D.C., where Omar participated in an interview for the Girl UP UN conference; and covered her travel to Chicago to accept an award and attend a fundraising luncheon, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Under state law, trips must be reasonably related to serving in office. Omar was a state representative from Minneapolis at the time of the violations. She was elected to the U.S. House last November. (AP)

"Rep. Omar must personally reimburse the Omar committee $3,469.23," the report states. "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."

Republican state Rep. Steve Drazkowski said in a statement that the campaign finance board "upheld" his complaint against the lawmaker.