Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) election campaign before cutting ties helped her husband’s political consulting firm keep afloat last year, providing nearly 80 percent of the company’s haul during the 2020 elections, according to federal filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Omar’s husband Tim Mynett co-owns E Street Group, a D.C. consulting with his partner Will Hailer and received $3.7 million from political committees during the 2020 cycle. According to the filing, Omar’s campaign was the group’s biggest moneymaker, receiving 146 checks totaling $2.9 million, about 80 percent.
The second biggest cash source was from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) campaign wool doled out $194,000. The two liberal lawmakers campaigns compromise for 85 percent of the firm’s payments.
The payments to her husband’s political firm constitute the largest part of her campaign expenditures. Omar’s committee funneled $2.9 million of the committee $5.2 million spent for the campaign’s operational costs to the consulting vendor.
Fox News reported in November that Omar’s campaign had paid nearly $2.8 million to her husband’s political consulting firm, including nearly 70% of her third-quarter disbursement. The final payment was in early November.
From the start of 2019 to July 22, 2020 according to Federal Election Commission data, Omar’s campaign paid $1.6 million to E Street Group LLC. After that, she reported an additional $1.1 million in the third quarter and $27,000 in the following weeks. That $1.1 million constituted nearly 70% of the $1.6 million that Omar’s campaign spent that quarter.
The expenses covered a range of campaign services, including cable advertising, “digital consulting,” video production and editing.
Shortly after it was reported Omar’s husband raked in nearly $3 million, the Minnesota lawmaker cut ties from his political consulting firm, sending an email to supporters saying she will now distance herself from the E Street Group.
“So we’ve decided to terminate our contract with Tim and Will’s firm,” the email states. “While many of our close supporters know these two well and have recommended we keep them on — I want to make sure that anybody who is supporting our campaign with their time or financial support feels there is no perceived issue with that support.”
In December, Mynett’s political firm received nearly $635,000 in coronavirus funds — $134,800 from the Paycheck Protection Program and $500,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Omar has come under scrutiny over her campaign’s financial payments to her husband’s firm.
In March of last year, Omar tweeted a lengthy thread defending her expenses by claiming that her relationship with her husband had long began after her campaign started working with his consulting firm. She brushed off the payments as typical campaign work when pressed on this issue.
“If the trolls looked at the our campaign finance reports, they would see a substantial portion is for digital buys, print and advertising which are costs that get passed on,” Omar tweeted in March, just days after tying the knot with Mynett.
“My relationship with Tim began long after this work started,” Omar continued. “We consulted with a top FEC campaign attorney to ensure there were no possible legal issues with our relationship. We were told this is not uncommon and that no, there weren’t.”
Omar doubled down defending the payments as typical campaign work by telling the New York Times last September that it a “stupid thing to do” getting rid of her husband’s firm despite facing heat.
“You don’t stop using the service of people who are doing good work because somebody thinks it means something else,” Omar told the New York Times in an interview. “Why would I not work with people who understand my district, who have been working there for 10 years, who understand what it means to raise resources for a candidate like myself and manage and target our communications to our district to battle the misinformation and narratives that the media and our adversaries continue to put out?”
The FEC allows lawmakers to hire family members or spouses to work on their campaigns, due to a 1960s federal anti-nepotism statute that prohibits members of Congress from hiring relatives for government jobs but does not block family members from doing campaign work.