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Ilhan Omar was at the center of the news last week, amidst her antisemtic tweets and her attack on Elliott Abrams.

Yet despite what her tweets condemning AIPAC and her false claim that it pays off government officials, Omar’s own history of violating and abusing the rules governing receiving money — and having to return it — has received scant attention.


In July last year, The Daily Caller reported, Democratic Congressional Hopeful Forced To Return College Speaking Fees

Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor congressional candidate Ilhan Omar said Monday that she will return $2,500 in college speaking fees that she accepted in violation of Minnesota House of Representatives rules.

Minnesota state lawmaker Omar was paid $2,000 in February 2017 to speak at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota. She was paid $500 in April 2017 to speak at Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, according to a press release issued by Republican state Rep. Steve Drazkowski.

Omar was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in November 2016. She had agreed to speak at the events before she was sworn into office in January 2017 and did not know the rules for an elected official would apply to her, she said, according the Star Tribune. [emphasis added]

AP confirms that Omar did in fact return the money.

Omar claims she did not know the rules, but if so, it wasn’t for lack of being told that it was against the rules. The website from the Minnesota State House website reports on State Representative Steve Drazkowski (Republican), who revealed Omar’s violation:

Drazkowski said Omar clearly violated rules that are in place to prevent payment to a member from an organization that has business before the Legislature. According to Minnesota House Rule 9.20, Acceptance of an Honorarium by a Member: A member must not accept an honorarium for a service performed for an individual or organization that has a direct interest in the business of the House, including, but not limited to, a registered lobbyist or an organization a lobbyist represents.

Rep. Omar voted to adopt the Permanent Rules of the Minnesota House – which includes Rule 9.20 – on February 16, 2017, 12 days before her first paid MNSCU speaking engagement.

In addition, Drazkowski noted every newly-elected member attends an orientation where non-partisan House research staff explains potential conflicts of interest to incoming lawmakers, including gifts, travel and lodging, and honoraria.

And there were other issues with Omar’s less than stellar transparency on her finances:

  • 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.

That last point, that Omar filed her Statement of Economic Interest late is important. It helped Omar avoid the consequences for her financial violations:

Omar was able to avoid a potential House Ethics Committee hearing into her financial misdeeds because the Legislature had adjourned sine die (with no appointed date for resumption). The late filing also prevented bad publicity or any other conflicts that could have arisen during the DFL endorsement to replace outgoing Congressman Keith Ellison.

Fast-forward to now.

How did Ilhan Omar conduct her successful campaign for the US House of Representatives?

Sunday, August 5, 2018: Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of CAIR-California posts on Facebook that Ilhan Omar, campaigning for Democratic Representative of Minnesota, will attend 3 CAIR sponsored events — in California. It’s just like the lady said: “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby.”

Ilhan Omar standing next to CAIR-CA executive director Hussam Ayloush (to her right)
From Hussam Ayloush’s Facebook page

Thursday, August 9, 2018: Omar gets a donation from CAIR-CA

But something funny happened in between Omar speaking at 3 CAIR events and then receiving a $5,000 donation from CAIR…

Monday, August 6, 2018: Omar attended a special JCRC event 

But while Omar claimed she would “share our vision” as it turned out, Omar’s “vision” was a little bit blurry that day. According to Haaretz, the reaction was that Omar was less than straightforward, in light of her later public support for BDS:

This seemed like a bait-and-switch to many Jewish Minnesotans: When she was asked at an August primary debate held in a synagogue to specify “exactly where you stand” on BDS, Omar said that BDS was “not helpful in getting that two-state solution” — never explaining that she in fact supported the policy. [emphasis added]

Does anyone think that Omar was equally evasive in her 3 CAIR-arranged appearances in California to collect donations?

In an article in the Algemeiner, Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America, describes the degree to which Ilhan Omar Is Funded by Israel-Hating BDS Promoters and PACs in the 2018 election:

  • CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is one of Rep. Omar’s top 20 contributors. CAIR was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial for funneling money to Hamas. FBI testimony reportedly indicated that CAIR has been a Hamas front group.
  • In addition, CAIR-CA’s executive director Hussam Ayloush, who called for Israel’s “termination,” gave Ilhan Omar $1,200.
  • James Zogby, president of the anti-Israel Arab-American Institute (AAI), chairman of the anti-Israel Palestine Human Rights Campaign, and a major anti-Israel propagandist, gave Rep. Omar $2,700. Zogby falsely accused Israel of committing a “Holocaust” against Palestinians, called Israelis “Nazis,” campaigned to prevent the extradition to Israel of a Fatah terrorist who killed two Israeli teenagers and wounded 36 other Israelis, called Cuban-American Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen an “Israel-firster” (an antisemitic trope implying dual loyalty), praised the intifada as a “good story,” and was a leading architect of propaganda themes used to pry progressive Jews away from supporting Israel.
  • The Soros-funded, which attempted to kill the pro-Israel anti-BDS bill in Congress, gave Omar $5,000. also co-founded Avaaz, which initiates extremely offensive, falsehood-filled anti-Israel campaigns, including movements to release Palestinian Arab terrorist Ahed Tamimi and in support of Ireland’s dangerous BDS Bill.
  • A $500 donor to Rep. Omar showed his wife wearing Hamas scarves and put on his Facebook profile in Arabic: “Jerusalem is ours, WE ARE COMING!”
  • Debbie (Dhabah) Almontaser, who defended an Arab women’s group for hawking “Intifada NYC” T-shirts that glorify Palestinian-Arab terror, gave Omar $500.

Putting it all together, we see that:

  • Despite campaigning out of state at 3 events for CAIR, just one day later, Omar sidestepped a direct question on BDS that she knew was important to the people who invited her to talk — and took $5,000 from CAIR
  • Omar was less than transparent in reporting money she received
  • Omar agreed to return money she received in violation of Minnesota House laws that she herself voted on and was informed about at an orientation.
  • Omar donations from people and organizations that strongly support the BDS movement and oppose the existence of Israel.

Last year, Drazkowski said:

Representative Omar’s willingness to accept money from institutions that are dependent on her committee and her vote for their funding is the textbook definition of unethical

Omar’s antisemitic comments last week come from someone with a record for violating both the rules and the trust of her constituents.

But in terms of real consequences, Ilhan Omar has so far received nothing more than a slap on the wrist — and an appointment to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she behaved exactly as we would expect.


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Bennett Ruda has been blogging at since 2003. He also contributes to the Elder of Ziyon website. Bennet lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey, with his wife and two children