Federal election watchdogs are being asked to determine whether newly divorced congresswoman Ilhan Omar took her lover on trips paid by her campaign.
Peter Flaherty, chairman of the conservative National Legal and Policy Center last month filed an amended version of a complaint he had lodged earlier into Omar’s campaign spending, following DailyMail.com’s revelation she was having an affair with her finance chief Tim Mynett.
Omar’s divorce from husband Ahmed Hirsi became final this week. Mynett’s wife Beth has also filed for divorce in the wake of the affair.
Flaherty is asking the Federal Election Commission to investigate payments made by the Minnesota congresswoman’s campaign, Ilhan for Congress to Mynett’s company, The E Street Group.
Ilhan’s campaign paid Mynett’s company more than $369,000 since hiring him in August of 2018 and payments run up until this past September. Nearly $25,000 is labeled as travel expenses, according to records filed to the FEC.
‘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,’ he wrote.
‘Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit the use of campaign funds for personal expenses collateral to travel…unless personal funds are used to reimburse the committee,’ he added.
But whether the probe ever gets underway is up in the air due to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to schedule hearings to confirm new members of the agency, tasked with enforcing campaign finance laws.
‘This is a matter of frustration,’ Peter Flaherty, the man who brought the complaint against Omar told DailyMail.com.
Ilhan for Congress paid The E Street Group more than $222,000 between August last year and July when DailyMail.com exclusively revealed the affair between Omar and Mynett.
It paid him a whopping $92,746 in July, and in August and September the company pocketed another $54,000, according to figures filed with the FEC. She has until November 20 to file her October figures.
‘If you total her expenditure, about one-third of it went to E Street,’ Flaherty told DailyMail.com. He also said the committee erred by not splitting travel expenses from fundraising.
‘A disbursement can be a ”travel” expense or a ”fundraising” expense but it cannot be both, even if the travel is in conjunction with fundraising activities.’
He claimed both Omar’s campaign and Mynett’s company ‘either continue to disregard the law or misunderstand it.’
‘There continues to be reporting problems,’ Flaherty told DailyMail.com. ‘But the bigger issue is her veracity and credibility.
‘She said she wasn’t having an affair but now, based on DailyMail.com’s reporting it looks like she wasn’t telling the truth.’
David Mitrani, a lawyer who acts for both Omar’s campaign and the E Street Group originally dismissed Flaherty’s complaint, calling it ‘nothing more than blustering to attempt to create the appearance of legal jeopardy when there is none.’
‘The parties have at all times complied with federal campaign finance law,’ Mitrani said.
Whether the FEC actually considers Flaherty’s complaint is open to question as it does not have enough members to reach a quorum after vice chairman Matthew Peterson resigned in August. President Donald Trump has nominated one new member but McConnell has not scheduled a confirmation hearing.
Omar’s divorce from Hirsi was finalized just 30 days after she filed in early October. She filed after DailyMail.com had revealed she had moved out of the family home in Minneapolis and into a penthouse apartment.