More Campaign Finance Violations For Ilhan Omar

The revelation “continues a troubling pattern of state law violations" from Omar, Drazkowski says.

Credit: Zoe Griffing Heller/Wikimedia Commons

State Rep. Ilhan Omar may have improperly used campaign resources for personal travel expenses, according to one Republican state legislator.

State Rep. Steve Drazkowski recently discovered Omar improperly used campaign resources for personal travel expenses. The revelation adds to Omar’s growing list of violations. Drazkowski says this “continues a troubling pattern of state law violations.”

“Once again, Representative Omar’s disbursements appear to fall outside of allowable campaign committee expenditures, which continues a troubling pattern of state law violations in this area,” Drazkowski said. “The more we dig, the more problems we find.”

This is not the first violation Drazkowski has called out. Earlier this year, Drazkowski discovered Omar accepted payments from campuses in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, a direct violation of House ethics rules.

Drazkowski also previously called out Omar for using campaign money to pay legal fees to her divorce attorney. The Minnesota Campaign Finance Board is currently conducting a formal investigation into the complaint, according to Drazkowski, and another complaint has been filed against Omar over his newest discovery.

“What we are seeing before our eyes is a serial violator of our laws,” Drazkowski said.

The latest violations were discovered in the 2017 year-end report for Omar’s campaign committee. The report showed over $3,000 in travel-related disbursements, including airfare to Estonia and travel expenses to Massachusetts so Omar could speak at a rally for a Boston City Council candidate.

According to state law, money collected for political purposes may not be converted to personal use. In addition, the CFB’s Candidate Handbook specifies what constitutes “reasonable costs of serving in office” that may be covered by campaign committee funds. “Trips for general fact-finding and relationship building” does not fall under that provision, according to the handbook.

“Like anyone else Representative Omar has the right to make a living, but she doesn’t have the right to use campaign funds to offset her out-of-pocket expenses as she chooses to travel the world,” Drazkowski said.

Omar has not responded to Drazkowski’s latest findings.

Drazkowski’s full complaint to the CFB can be viewed here.

Christine Bauman