Subpoena incoming after witness skips DFL senator’s ethics probe

Fateh is also accused of receiving free rent for a campaign office without reporting it as a campaign contribution, which would violate state campaign finance rules.

Sen. Omar Fateh speaks before an ethics subcommittee earlier this year. (Minnesota Senate Media Services)

(The Center Square) — After a key witness in an ethics investigation of Sen. Omar Fateh, DFL-Minneapolis, didn’t appear at a Thursday hearing, lawmakers plan to issue a subpoena.

Dawson Kimyon, a former Fateh campaign manager until May, didn’t attend the meeting. At 6:36 a.m., Kimyon’s attorney notified lawmakers that the client wouldn’t appear without a subpoena.

The subcommittee planned to ask Kimyon details about Fateh’s campaign in 2020.

Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, who chairs the bipartisan Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct, called Kimyon’s no-show “very disturbing.”

“This is a very serious process and needs to be taken seriously by everyone,” Osmek said.

Lawmakers are investigating Fateh’s relationship with his brother-in-law and former campaign volunteer Muse Mohamud Mohamed, who was convicted in May of lying to a federal grand jury about alleged ballot fraud in the 2020 primary election.

Kimyon was named during the trial and later resigned after Mohamed’s conviction.

Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, questioned having another hearing after Fateh testified last month.

“The person we are reviewing is Sen. Fateh,” Torres Ray said. “We are reviewing his conduct.”

In May, GOP lawmakers filed ethics complaints against Fateh, alleging a quid pro quo after he sponsored a bill to give Somali TV Minnesota, a YouTube channel with 173,000 subscribers, $500,000 of taxpayer money in return for free campaign advertising and an endorsement.

Fateh has denied the accusation and provided what appear to be screenshots from the app Cashapp as proof he paid for advertising.

Fateh is also accused of receiving free rent for a campaign office without reporting it as a campaign contribution, which would violate state campaign finance rules.

Fateh’s office hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

Osmek said the subcommittee plans for Kimyon to testify on July 27. If the witness doesn’t appear, Osmek said the committee can compel the witness to appear.