Rep. Omar’s Marriage Raises Questions About Campaign Money Flows

After denying for months that she and political consultant Tim Mynett were having an affair, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) announced via Instagram that the two have married.

Mynett’s firm, known as the E Street Group, LLC, has been the recipient of an increasing share of Omar’s campaign spending. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Mynett’s firm received more than half of Omar’s campaign spending, after receiving more than a third in the prior quarter.

In the third quarter of 2019, Mynett’s firm received $146,713. In the fourth quarter it received $217,000.

In a Complaint to the Federal Election Commission on August 28, 2019, National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) alleged that Omar made personal use of campaign funds by reimbursing Mynett’s expenses while he traveled around the country with her.

According to the Complaint, “It appears that Respondent Mynett’s travel as reported by Ilhan for Congress may have been unrelated, or only partially related, to Omar’s campaign. If Ilhan for Congress reimbursed Mynett’s LLC  for travel so that Rep. Omar would have the benefit of Mynett’s romantic companionship, the expenditure must be considered personal in nature.”

The Complaint also alleged that Omar’s campaign failed to itemize the reimbursements. FEC regulations require that for travel exceeding $500, campaigns must report the individual receiving the reimbursement as the payee, and report the payments aggregating over $200 of any one vendor, such as airlines and hotels. Omar’s campaign simply reported lump sum payments to E Street Group for “travel expenses.”

In October 2019, Omar filed for divorce from her husband Ahmed Hirsi, which was granted in November. Mynett was also granted a divorce from his wife in November.

Omar married Hirsi in 2002 and separated in 2008 after having two children with him. In 2009, Omar married Ahmed Elmi, who is alleged to be her brother. In 2011, Omar and Elmi “split” and Omar supposedly reconciled with Hirsi, with whom she had a third child a year later.

According to media reports citing unidentified sources, Hirsi is to receive $250,000 over six years as part of the divorce settlement.

NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty reacted to the marriage news by stating, “Omar’s marriage to Mynett, while hundreds of thousands of dollars are flowing to his firm, reinforces the allegations in our FEC Complaint that campaign funds have been illegally used for personal purposes.”