Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minn.) re-election campaign paid nearly $2.8 million to a political consultancy firm owned by Omar’s husband in just two years, according to government data.
Campaign finance records from the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) website suggest that the Democrat congresswoman paid husband Timothy Mynett’s eStreet Group $1.6 million between 2019 and July 2020, before giving another $1.1 million in the third quarter this year.
The $1.1 million paid by Omar’s campaign in the third quarter was close to 70 percent of the $1.6 million it spent over that period, per Fox News, which first reported the figures on Tuesday.
Most of the campaign expenses stemmed from digital advertising, which typically cost five figures, the FEC records show. The two largest payments in recent months were $404,338.75 paid on July 7 for digital advertising, and another $289,759.58 on July 24 for cable advertising.
Other payments covered services such as video production, fundraising consulting, campaign merchandise, and travel expenses ranging from less than $200 to over $15,000.
Under scrutiny for her campaign finance irregularities, Omar won her re-election in Minnesota’s fifth congressional district last week by 65 percent. After divorcing her then-husband in November 2019, Omar married Mynett, whose firm had received about $586,000 from Omar’s campaign by that point.
Shortly after Omar announced her new marriage in March, The Washington Post published an article, in which conservative critics raised concerns about payments by Omar’s campaign to eStreet Group.
“Taxpayers funded her campaign. Now they’re funding her marriage. How is this not an FEC violation?” conservative activist Charlie Kirk wrote on Twitter at that time.
Omar responded to the article, saying that her campaign was funded by “grassroots donors” rather than the government, and that everything they spent was “used for a legitimate expense and paid at fair market value.”
“E Street isn’t just a consulting company to our campaign, they specialize in MN and are essential to the work we and other campaigns do every day,” she wrote, adding that her relationship with Mynett “began long after this work started” and they “consulted with a top FEC campaign attorney to ensure there were no possible legal issues with our relationship.”
The FEC, which is tasked to regulate money spent on elections, has faced dysfunction since former Republican Commissioner Caroline Hunter resigned in June, leaving three members—one Republican, one Democrat, and one independent—and three vacant seats. The commission currently can’t act, since every enforcement action needs at least four votes.
President Donald Trump in late October said he might nominate Sean Cooksey, general counsel to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and Shana Broussard, counsel to current FEC Vice Chair Steven Walther (I), to fill two of the three vacancies on the commission.