Controversial freshman House lawmaker Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn) is under investigation after allegations that she improperly spent nearly $6,000 in campaign funds for personal use, including payments to her divorce attorney and for travel.
Minnesota state representative Steve Drazkowski, a Republican, filed two complaints against the now-congresswoman last year alleging that she had misused around $6,000 in campaign funds during her time as a state lawmaker.
Drazkowsk’s first complaint alleged Omar had used the campaign funds to pay for legal fees for her divorce attorney. Drazkowski’s second complaint alleged Omar had used campaign funds to pay for out-of-state travel to Estonia and Massachusetts.
Minnesota’s Campaign Finance Board said Omar’s “out of state travel may not have been to events that would have helped a candidate in the performance of state legislative duties” at the time it ruled probable cause to move to a formal investigation, Drazkowski posted on his website last November.
Drazkowski’s filing of the two complaints followed an earlier episode in which Omar repaid $2,500 for honoraria she received for speeches at colleges that receive state funding, a violation of ethics rules for Minnesota lawmakers.
“I had observed a long pattern,” Drazkowski said in an interview from his office in southeastern Minnesota. “Representative Omar hasn’t followed the law. She’s repeatedly trampled on the laws of the state in a variety of areas, and gotten by with it.”
During a debate, held in the studios of Minnesota Public Radio on Oct. 23 of last year. Moderator Tom Crann asked Omar three times if she had misused campaign funds for travel, however, Omar hesitated before replying in a halting manner: “If there was, um — [pauses] — an, an improper action, I would not have used it.”
The campaign finance board has completed its review of both complaints filed by Drazkowski, relating to the divorce lawyer and the travel expenses, and is expected to issue its rulings on them within the next month to six weeks.
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