Omar violated Minnesota state campaign finance rules, board says

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) violated state campaign finance rules when she used funds from her congressional campaign for personal travel expenses, Minnesota campaign finance officials ruled Thursday.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board decided Thursday that Omar’s use of campaign funds for personal out-of-state travel and to pay for her tax returns violated state campaign finance rules, according to The Associated Press.

The board ruled that Omar must reimburse her former campaign committee nearly $3,500 and pay the state a civil penalty of $500 for using campaign money to travel to Florida.{mosads}

Omar was found to have used the campaign money during her tenure as a congresswoman to travel to Boston for a speech at a political rally, travel to Chicago to accept an award and attend a fundraising event, and to pay for a hotel in Washington, D.C., where she participated in an interview at a conference, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Under state law, trips taken by lawmakers must be reasonably related to serving in office, the AP noted.

Republican state Rep. Steve Drazkowski initially raised concerns about Omar’s travel, suggesting that she used $2,250 in campaign funds to pay a lawyer for her divorce proceedings. 

According to the board, the fee was a reimbursement to two law firms for work pertaining to immigration and tax documents. The board found that evidence indicates the $2,250 was not related to Omar’s divorce, and directed Omar to file an amended report with further information about the law firm payments.

The board also ruled that $1,500 spent to amend an issue on Omar’s tax returns was not a campaign-related expense and therefore must be returned.

The Hill has reached out to Omar’s office for comment.