Group uses divorce filing to press for investigation of Omar

Updated: 6:50 p.m. | Posted: 10:33 a.m.

A conservative group known for filing campaign finance complaints against prominent Democrats asked federal regulators Wednesday to investigate U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., over her campaign spending.

The National Legal and Policy Center seized on the latest controversy surrounding Omar, a first-term Democratic congresswoman who represents a Minneapolis-area district. The group wants the Federal Elections Commission to look into whether Omar spent campaign money inappropriately.

The complaint relates to a divorce filing in Washington on Tuesday that alleged that Omar has had an extramarital affair with one of her top political consultants. The consultant’s firm has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars from Omar’s campaign, including on the man’s travel to events involving Omar. His wife filed for divorce.

On Tuesday, Omar told WCCO that she is not dating outside her own marriage but declined to say more.

The group says the commission needs to determine if there were campaign spending violations. The National Legal and Policy Center has previously filed complaints against outspoken Democrats in Congress, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and California’s Maxine Waters.

David Mitrani, an attorney for Omar’s campaign and the E Street Group consulting firm implicated in the complaint, said accusations that either client acted to skirt campaign law are “absolutely false and completely unfounded.”

Mitrani said in a written statement that the expenses to the consulting firm were properly documented and allowed by federal campaign law.

“The complaint is nothing more than a blustering to attempt to create the appearance of legal jeopardy, where there is none,” Mitrani said.

The Federal Elections Commission currently has vacancies that leave the entity short of a quorum, raising concerns it won’t be in a position to adequately police campaign spending heading into the 2020 election.

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