GOP lawmaker makes new complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

October 9, 2018

A Republican state lawmaker on Tuesday accused state Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democratic candidate for Congress, of improperly charging $3,000 in travel expenses to her campaign committee.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski has been mounting a series of allegations against Omar in recent months. His latest complaint stemmed from travel expenses, including airfare to Estonia and expenses for Omar to speak at a rally for a Boston city council candidate, that he said he found in the year-end report for Omars legislative campaign committee.

Omars congressional campaign did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Drazkowski, of Mazeppa, also shared correspondence from the chair of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board confirming that regulators found probable cause to investigate his earlier complaint that Omar illegally used campaign money for personal legal expenses.

The more we dig, the more problems we find, said Drazkowski, who also accused Omar of being a serial violator of our laws.

Drazkowski first alleged the misuse of campaign funds in July. Also that month, Omar announced that she would return $2,500 in speaking fees from two Minnesota community colleges after Drazkowski called out the payments as violating House rules against accepting an honorarium for a service from anyone with a direct interest in House business. Omar is on a House committee that makes funding and policy decisions for Minnesotas public colleges and universities.

In response to Drazkowskis first campaign finance complaint in July, Carla Kjellberg, Omars divorce attorney, called Drazkowskis claims absolutely false and said Omar instead reimbursed her for crisis management services not her 2017 divorce.

But in a report that Drazkowski made public on Tuesday, Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Chair Carolyn Flynn said her board would open an investigation after documents that Omars committee shared appeared to show that the committee paid for immigration and tax services that appeared to benefit Omar personally.

Flynn wrote that Omars committee may have also violated House rules by not sufficiently justifying the payment in expenditure reports and called into question the timeliness and completeness of the committees disclosures.

Omar, of Minneapolis, is the Democratic candidate for Congress in Minnesotas Fifth Congressional District. She is running against Republican Jennifer Zielinski.

Stephen Montemayor 612-673-1755

Twitter: @smontemayor

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