Ilhan Omar violated Minnesota state campaign finance rules, board says

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar violated state rules when she used campaign funds to pay for personal out-of-state travel and help on her tax returns and must reimburse her former campaign committee nearly $3,500, Minnesota campaign finance officials announced Thursday.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said the first-term Democratic congresswoman also must pay the state a $500 civil penalty for using campaign money to travel to Florida, where she accepted an honorarium.

The board found Omar’s campaign bought a plane ticket to Boston to speak at a political rally; paid for a hotel in Washington, D.C., where Omar participated in an interview for the Girl UP UN conference; and covered her travel to Chicago to accept an award and attend a fundraising luncheon, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Under state law, trips must be reasonably related to serving in office. Omar was a state representative from Minneapolis at the time of the violations. She was elected to the U.S. House last November.

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