ST. PAUL – State Representative Ilhan Omar used state resources to conduct her own personal business according to new information obtained by State Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa).
“As we learn more about Representative Omar’s activity as a member of the Minnesota House, we continue to find more troubling violations of House Rules, and in this case, Minnesota law,” Drazkowski said.
As part of a data practices request into Rep. Omar’s acceptance of payments from state colleges for serving as a keynote speaker – a violation of Minnesota House Rules – the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MNSCU) provided contracts and email correspondence between MNSCU and Rep. Omar.
In these documents, it was found that Rep. Omar also accepted a payment of $250 for appearing on a panel at Minnesota State University (MSU) - Mankato on February 9, 2018.
According to the contract dated February 9, 2018, Rep. Omar represented that she was not a current employee of the State of Minnesota. It also appears that Rep. Omar has used state resources and state staff time to conduct her private business activities. Drazkowski noted this misappropriation of state resources appears to be a violation of State Law (43A.38, subd. 4), the Minnesota House email policy, and the Minnesota House Code of Conduct.
Drazkowski said Omar must return the $250 to MSU – Mankato, stop using state employees and state resources to conduct personal business, and apologize to the state and her constituents for her repeated misconduct.
“Once again, Rep. Omar has put the House in disrepute through her actions and has not accepted responsibility for them,” Drazkowski said.
Prior to this latest finding, Rep. Drazkowski discovered that Rep. Omar, who serves as a member of the Minnesota House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance Committee, was paid $2,000 to serve as a keynote speaker at a Normandale Community College event on February 28, 2017. On April 19, 2017, Omar was paid $500 to serve as a keynote speaker at an Inver Hills Community College event. Both are violations of Minnesota House Rule 9.20.
Omar recently claimed to have signed the documents prior to her November election, but a data practices requests found Omar signed and dated the contract on January 27, 2017 –after she voted to adopt the temporary House Rules that included Rule 9.20: Acceptance of an Honorarium by a Member.
In addition, Omar has also had repeated violations with the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board:
On May 17, 2017, Rep. Omar was fined $1,000 due to the late filing of her 24-hour notice reports.
On November 30, 2017, Rep. Omar was fined $150 due to the late filing of her campaign finance report. That 2016 report listed a non-campaign disbursement in the amount of $2,250 in legal fees to the Kjellberg Law Office, which specializes in divorce law, and is listed as her representative during her 2017 divorce case. It also noted that she paid her now current husband $3,100 for unspecified campaign services.
On June 20, 2018, Rep. Omar was fined the maximum $1,100 due to the late filing of her Statement of Economic Interest.
Supporting data and information can be found on Rep. Drazkowski’s website. Rep. Omar’s signed MNSCU contract can be found here, and Rep. Drazkowski’s MNSCU data practices request can be found here, see pages 13 and 47 for specific details.