Rep. Steve Drazkowski's Campaign Finance Complaint leads to More Questions

On July 19, 2018,  Rep. Steve Drazkowski filed a complaint with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board regarding the Neighbors for Ilhan (Omar) committee (Omar committee). The Omar committee is the principal campaign committee of then-State Rep. Ilhan Omar.

The complaint detailed a $2,250 payment to the Kjellberg Law Office on November 20, 2016, that was reported on the Omar committee’s 2016 year-end report of receipts and expenditures. It alleged that the committee’s payment to the Kjellberg Law Office was for services related Rep. Omar's divorce with Ahmed Elmi and therefore constituted a conversion of committee funds to personal use in violation of Minnesota Statutes section 211B.12.

On October 8, 2018, the Board Rep. Drazkowski made another complaint regarding the Neighbors for Ilhan (Omar) committee. This new complaint alleged violations of Minnesota Statutes Chapters 10A and 211B that were not raised in the earlier complaint, that her campaign filings showed several out-of-state trips paid for by the committee and he argued that such disbursements should not be allowed as campaign expenditures or noncampaign disbursements.  

After many months of investigation by the campaign finance board on June 6, 2019, over a year after the initial complaint had been filed, the Campaign Finance Board came out with its findings that then State Representative Ilhan Omar had violated Minnesota Campaign Finance laws and had to pay her campaign back for the unqualified expenses and pay a civil fine for violating the law.  

These violations were in addition to breaking Minnesota House ethics rules, by taking honoraria from two Minnesota State Institutions of higher learning, while she sat on the Higher Ed Finance Committee.  

They were also in addition to frequently missing deadlines for required disclosures and filings with the campaign finance board.

For a two year term, State Representative Omar amassed an impressive list of law and ethics violations, none of which stopped her from running for Congress and leaving the Minnesota State Legislature. In fact, delay of some of the required disclosures on her part made her endorsement as the DFL candidate for Congress easier in a large field of potential candidates.  

 

Below is a compendium of documents and links to news stories about further developments with the case.

1. Google Drive Compendium of Documents related to the complaints against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

2. Press Releases from the New House Republican Caucus and Rep. Steve Drazkowski on the Ethics Complaint and Campaign Finance Complaint.

 

3. News Stories about the on the Ethics Complaint and Campaign Finance Complaint.

 

4. Video Archive of Press Conferences and Media Appearances.