A new documentary featuring state Rep. Ilhan Omar’s rise to political stardom benefited from a taxpayer-funded film rebate program.
On Tuesday, Alpha News reported on the taxpayer-funded Walker Art Center screening “Time For Ilhan.” Now it appears the documentary received taxpayer money through the Minnesota Film and Television board “Snowbate” incentive program designed to encourage film production within the state.
State Rep. Marion O’Neill (R-Maple Lake) called attention to issue on Thursday. According to O’Neill, the producers of the documentary applied for the rebate in March 2017 and were approved a month later to receive the maximum reimbursement allowed by the program.
The reimbursement, according to O’Neill, is expected to be $11,852 in taxpayer money.
O’Neill says Minnesota taxpayers should not have their money spent on a film about a sitting politician. She also took issue with the Walker Art Center, which receives taxpayer funding, screening it in the district Omar is running to represent. O’Neill said it is “free political advertising” at the expense of the taxpayer.
“Taxpayer money should not be spent on a film about a sitting elected official and candidate for higher office,” O’Neill said. “Furthermore, the film is being played right in her own district. It’s free political advertising at taxpayer expense and it is not right.”
“Minnesotans expect transparency and fairness in government, and approving taxpayer dollars for a project like this is simply wrong,” O’Neill added.
O’Neill filed a Minnesota Data Practices Act request Thursday to inspect “any and all communication” from the Minnesota Film and TV board regarding the documentary.