Democrat Ilhan Omar, who hopes to become the first female Muslim elected to Congress, has been accused by a state lawmaker of using campaigns to pay for her divorce. Minnesota state Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R) filed a complaint this week before the state’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board about a $2,250 payment to a law firm, according to the Star Tribune. She became the first Somali-American legislator in the country when she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016.

Omar and her lawyer, Carla Kjellberg, who assisted in Omar’s 2017 divorce, have denied the allegation. “That’s absolutely false, I provided legal services for crisis management prior to that, and those funds were for reimbursements for costs on crisis management,” Kjellberg said, according to newspaper. Omar has faced questions in the past about her divorce. 

Should the state board find sufficient evidence to merit a probe, it will interview Omar. The board would then to decide whether or not to conduct a months-long formal investigation. Republican 
Drazkowski said that Omar has shown a “worrisome pattern” of making campaign finance violations, according to the Star Tribune. For far, Omar has paid a total of $2,250 for three separate violations since May 2017.

Omar is leading in the polls to replace United States Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim leftist, who will not stand for re-election. Ellison is currently running for state attorney general. 

In 2016, the Star Tribune noted a blog report by Power Line that said that Omar had been accused of sealing a marriage with her own brother and thus commit immigration fraud. Power Line reported that  Omar first married Ahmed Hirsi, the father of her three children, in 2002. Then in 2009, she committed bigamy when she wed her brother to commit immigration fraud. 

Omar has steadfastly denied the allegations, saying that she never followed through with her application for a marriage license to wed Hirsi. She also claimed that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, whom she married in 2009, is not actually her brother. Omar admitted she had not yet divorced Elmi in 2016.

Playing the race card, Omar’s campaign told Power Line reporter Scott Johnson, “There are people who do not want an East African, Muslim woman elected to office and who will follow Donald Trump’s playbook to prevent it. Ilhan Omar’s campaign sees your superfluous contentions as one more in a series of attempts to discredit her candidacy.” Omar has yet to finish a full term in the Minnesota legislature.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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