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FEC dismisses campaign finance lawsuit against Rep. Ilhan Omar

WASHINGTON — The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a 2019 lawsuit against Representative Ilhan Omar of a conservative group alleging the Minnesota Democrat illegally spent campaign funds on her husband’s political consulting firm.

“The FEC’s unanimous 6-0 decision confirms what we have said all along: this was a baseless effort by a right-wing group to smear the congresswoman,” the spokesperson said. campaign of Omar, Isi Baehr-Breen, in an SMS. “We’re glad people now have a better idea of ​​what kind of tactics the right is ready to use in an attempt to smear and silence Rep. Omar. Good riddance.”

The complaint from the Virginia-based National Legal and Policy Center asked whether Omar’s campaign paid Tim Mynett’s E Street group for personal travel expenses. The complaint covers the period from August 2018 to September 2019, when Omar’s campaign paid more than $369,000 to E Street, according to campaign finance records.

Omar announced her marriage to Mynett in March 2020, and she cut ties with her company later that year. She denied any impropriety but said she wanted to avoid a perception of conflict.

In a unanimous decision, the commission found there was no reason to believe that Omar’s campaign “knowingly and willfully violated” federal law or regulation by “converting campaign funds to any use personnel” or by “inappropriately reporting beneficiary information”.

The commission urged Omar’s campaign to work with the FEC to update its reports as necessary.

“Once again, the FEC has shown itself to be ineffective in the fight against corruption,” said Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, in a telephone interview Friday. “We believe it was a meritorious complaint and they should have taken more appropriate action.”

Omar is currently serving her second term as a representative for Minnesota’s fifth congressional district. She married Mynett after the two divorces finalized with previous spouses.

“We have found true happiness together. He is my light and an amazing father to our blended family,” Omar wrote in November 2020. “And while I won’t comment on our personal life any more than that, I can assure you that every interaction our campaign had with members of his team was authorized by federal law.”

E Street Group was co-founded by Mynett and Will Hailer, both formerly of Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office when Ellison represented the Fifth Congressional District. Hailer was one of the first to reach out to Omar when Ellison announced his candidacy for attorney general in 2018.

In a 2020 online essay, Hailer defended her company’s work for Omar, writing that her personal relationship with Mynett began “long after our work for Ilhan began” and that FEC rules allow members to the family from working for campaigns as long as they provide “good faith service” and the payments reflect a fair market value for those services.

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