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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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Monday, November 12, 2018

ST. PAUL – State Representative Ilhan Omar’s campaign committee is now facing a second formal investigation regarding misuse of her campaign contributions.


State Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) said he was notified by the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board (CFB) last week that it found probable cause exists and that another investigation has been ordered.


“I’m pleased the Campaign Finance Board is taking Representative Omar’s blatant misuse of taxpayer resources seriously,” Drazkowski said. “Omar doesn’t get to pick and choose the rules she wants to follow, yet it appears that’s exactly what she’s been doing for the past two years.”


The latest CFB investigation into Omar’s financial misdeeds centers on airline expenses for a trip to Massachusetts so Omar could speak at a rally on behalf of Boston City Council candidate Deego Jibril.


According to the CFB’s probable cause determination, 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.”


Her 2017 year-end report also showed an expense for airline tickets for an international trip to Estonia. In all, Omar spent more than $3,000 in travel-related disbursements.


A formal CFB investigation into the Omar committee’s use of campaign money to pay legal fees to her divorce attorney also remains ongoing. According to statements made to the CFB by attorney Carla Kjellberg, Omar's payment to Kjellberg’s law office was reimbursed for services that the Kjellberg firm initially paid for on behalf of the Omar Committee, which would be a violation of state law. Additionally, it appears that the reimbursed expenses may have been related to tax preparation and legal expenses related to immigration.


"Representative Omar is a serial violator of our laws," Drazkowski said. "She not only has failed to offer any explanation for her ignorance of our laws but had the audacity to tell her consituents she has not been cited for any campaign finance violation. Well, the Campaign Finance Board now has two open investigations against her and its long past time for Omar to give the public some real answers as to why she’s tap-dancing around our laws and using campaign dollars for personal gain.”


Also in 2017, Rep. Omar had accepted payments from three Minnesota colleges after making appearances on campuses – which Drazkowski said was a clear violation of Minnesota House rules. So far, Omar has repaid $2,500 of the $2,750 amount she should not have accepted.