Ilhan Omar Comes Under Fire Again, This Time Because of a Deal She Signed

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., listens as Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought testifies before the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, during a hearing on the fiscal year 2020 budget. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

 

More ethical questions are being raised surrounding Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

Omar has already come under fire for a variety of issues, from her alleged affair with a political consultant to investigation for possible campaign finance violations.

The latest allegations concern the book deal she signed around the time that she was elected to Congress.

In January, Dey Street Books announced the deal for her memoir “This Is What America Looks Like,” a book about her travels from Somalian refugee to congresswoman. The deal was described as a “good deal,” meaning that it was worth from $100,000-$250,000. She’ll be working with a collaborator with the target release thought to be April 2020.

But, as the Washington Free Beacon points out, there may be a problem with the deal.

Those rules prohibit “the receipt of any advance payment on copyright royalties”—that is, a book advance—as well as “the receipt of copyright royalties” unless the contract has first been approved by the House Ethics Committee.

Omar’s colleague, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas), for example, received a $250,000 advance to pen a book about “outrage culture” before his swearing in last January. The hefty sum appears on his 2018 financial disclosure report, a filing required from all members of Congress detailing the sources and value of the incomes of House members.

Omar’s 2018 filing, which covers the calendar year, does not list a book advance. It is possible that she signed a contract with Dey Street, an imprint of Harper Collins, between Jan. 1 and Jan. 3, 2019, before her swearing in on the 3rd. If so, any advance would not have been listed on her 2018 financial disclosure and would have allowed her to comply with House ethics rules. But any contract signed outside of that two-and-half-day period—and that includes a book advance—either should have been listed on her 2018 disclosure or was signed in violation of House ethics rules.

“It’s very clear, a member cannot receive an advance payment on copyright royalties,” said Brendan Fischer, the director of the Federal Reform Program at the Campaign Legal Center. Omar is writing her book with the assistance of a research and writing collaborator and, according to Fischer, House rules prohibit that collaborator to receive an advance.

Neither Omar’s camp or the publisher has responded to requests from the Free Beacon to answer the question of when the deal was signed. That’s not a positive sign, given that if it wasn’t a violation, a simple response could dispense with the question.

This is just the latest in many questionable actions and scandals that have plagued Omar since she was elected. Prior issues included being found in June to have illegally used campaign funds when she was a state representative. She’s also the subject of an ethics complaint filed by a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, looking into the thousands of dollars paid from her campaign to the consulting firm of her alleged boyfriend, Tim Mynett. The relationship with the alleged boyfriend hit the papers when his estranged wife claimed in court filings earlier this year that he and Omar were having an affair. Omar has since gotten a divorce from her husband, Ahmed Hirsi. She also came under scrutiny for reportedly filing joint tax returns with Hirsi years before they were legally married and at a time when she was married to another man, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi.

Omar also came under fire in the past couple of weeks because of an allegation in a Florida court proceeding by Canadian businessman, Alan Bender. Bender claimed that Qatari officials told him Omar had been recruited as an “asset” by Qatar who passed on sensitive intelligence to them, according to the Jerusalem Post.

According to his sworn deposition, the three officials told him: “If it wasn’t for our cash, Ilhan Omar would be just another black Somali refugee in America collecting welfare and serving tables on weekends.”

That allegation got a lot of attention and was also covered by al-Arabiya. Omar’s people denied it.

“Since the day she was elected, Saudi Arabian trolls and mouthpieces have targeted Omar with misinformation and conspiracy theories,” a spokesperson for the Congresswoman wrote in a statement to The Jerusalem Post. “The latest, outlandishly absurd story from a Saudi-funded media outlet is of course false and only the latest in that trend,” the statement said.

Al-Arabiya is a Saudi government-funded publication. The Daily Caller pointed out a variety of problems with Bender’s account.

HT: PJ Media