Rep. Ilhan Omar paid her boyfriend’s political consulting firm $215,000 in the last quarter of 2019 for “consulting, direct mail, research services, travel expenses, advertisements, and graphic design,” according to her FEC filing.
There’s nothing illegal about the payments. It’s just notoriously corrupt. A sweetheart deal with her sweetheart’s company gives off “bad optics” to put it mildly.
Somehow, I doubt whether there was any competitive bidding involved in choosing her lover’s company.
The new payments mark another increase in money funneled to the firm. Mynett’s group is yet again the highest-paid vendor from Omar’s campaign.
The committee reported hauling in $403,000 in individual contributions while disbursing $404,000 over the last three months of 2019. The $215,000 paid to Mynett’s group for its services accounts for 53 percent of the total disbursements from the campaign during this time.
Over the first three quarters of 2019, Omar’s campaign paid out a total of $310,000 to the E Street Group. Accounting for the fourth-quarter payments, Mynett’s firm collected a total of $525,000 from Omar’s campaign in 2019.
The Washington Examiner reports that E Street Group didn’t even exist before Omar’s campaign for Congress.
That means that, in half a year, $363,277.28 of her campaign’s total reported disbursements went to her alleged paramour’s firm, one that seems to have not existed prior to the last election cycle. In fact, of the $677,913.44 that the E Street Group reported receiving from campaigns to the FEC for the entirety of its existence, a majority, $369,551.02, came from Ilhan For Congress.
Are the two sharing the disbursements from her campaign? There are a few members of Congress who have hired their spouses as staff members or, like Omar, used the services of a spouse’s consulting company. Rep. Alcee Hastings got in trouble with the ethics committee for paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to his mistress, an attorney who once worked in his Washington office. The committee is looking into Hastings’ violation of a House rule that prohibits sexual relationships between members and their staff.
So, not illegal, but improper.
It’s doubtful the revelations will hurt Omar politically. The Minnesota media isn’t pressing her on the issue and the voters in her overwhelmingly Democratic district don’t care.
But if the American experiment ever came to a crashing conclusion, it will be because corruption like this was allowed to flourish.