ST. PAUL, Minn. – State Rep. Ilhan Omar is in hot water again after a public data request reveals further violation of Minnesota House ethics rules.
Last month, state Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) called out Omar for accepting payments from campuses in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. According to Drazkowski, Omar’s actions were in “direct violation” of a House rule that prohibits legislators from receiving honorariums from organizations that have business before the Legislature.
Now, Drazkowski says a public data request has raised red flags of further ethics violations.
“As we learn more about Representative Omar’s activity as a member of the Minnesota House, we continue to find more troubling violations of House Rules, and in this case, Minnesota law,” Drazkowski said.
After being called out for receiving $2,500 in speaking fees from institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, Omar said she would “address the concern” by returning the money to the institutions.
Omar claimed the speaking engagements were scheduled prior to her “election, swearing-in, and instruction on Minnesota House rules.” However, a public data request obtained by Drazkowski directly contradicts this assertion, showing Omar signed a contract for the speaking engagements on January 27, 2017, once she was a sitting legislator.
The data request also reveals Omar accepted $250 for participating in a panel discussion at Minnesota State University Mankato on February 9 of this year. The honorarium is another violation of House rule 9.20 and Drazkowski says Omar must return this payment immediately.
In addition, Drazkowski says the data request shows Omar used state resources and state staff time to conduct her private business activities. This “misappropriation of state resources,” as Drazkowski calls it, appears to be a violation of both state law and House policies.
“Once again, Rep. Omar has put the House in disrepute through her actions and has not accepted responsibility for them,” Drazkowski said.
Omar has not responded to details revealed in the data request.