TRUTH TEST: Pro-Israel Group targets Omar in TV ad
Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been the source of controversy even before winning the 5th District congressional seat in 2018. Now many of the issues that stirred controversy, newspaper headlines and television news stories are now showing up in TV ads in the 5th District primary in 2020.
"Real leadership is selfless," says an ad by Americans for Tomorrow’s Future, a pro-Israel political action group. "Ilhan Omar puts herself first."
The ad goes on to highlight a number of news stories that have been written about Omar over the past two years.
"Omar used campaign funds to fix her personal tax returns," the ad says. "She denied it, but her own lawyer said it was true. Omar also used her campaign account for personal travel and paid a fine for it."
Both of those claims are true. The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board investigated the claims. The board found Omar spent $1,500 to have a law firm correct her personal tax returns. An investigation also found she made six trips to Boston, Chicago, New York, D.C., Florida and Estonia that were paid for by her state legislative campaign committee. Investigators determined the trips had nothing to do with her work as a state legislator.
Ultimately, the campaign board ordered her to reimburse her campaign $3,469.23 to cover the legal fees related to her tax returns and her travel. She was also ordered to pay a $500 civil penalty.
The ad goes on to say Omar’s congressional campaign committee "paid her husband’s business over a million dollars in campaign funds." This is also true, however, there is nothing illegal about it.
The TV ad cites news stories regarding Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports showing about a million dollars in payments to the "E Street Group," a firm owned by Omar’s husband. The latest expenditures were as recently as June 30 when she paid $152,000 for digital advertising and $40,000 for "mail production and postage."
However, it’s important to note there is nothing illegal about paying her husband’s firm for legitimate campaign work.
Because this ad contains mostly truthful claims, it gets and "A" on the "Truth Test."