Now that’s keeping it in the family. Ilhan Omar’s 2020 campaign paid the firm co-owned by her husband Tim Mynett over $2.7 million for services rendered, allowing the couple to keep a significant part of the $5.7 million they raised for her re-election. The E Street Group LLC was by far the biggest recipient of Omar’s campaign, accounting for half of all disbursements. The second-ranking recipient was the state Democratic Party (DFL here in Minnesota) with just under $400K.
At the same time E Street Group and Mynett/Omar scored big incomes with the campaign, they also scored big on COVID-19 relief, according to Fox News:
Public records show that E Street Group, co-owned by Omar’s husband, Tim Mynett, received nearly $135,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and $500,000 in Economic Injury Disaster loans. …
Public records show that E Street Group, co-owned by Omar’s husband, Tim Mynett, received nearly $135,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and $500,000 in Economic Injury Disaster loans.
Federal Election Commission filings also show that the firm received payments for other campaigns, including $175,000 from the committee of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and nearly $130,000 from the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.
In what world was E Street Group LLC in need of taxpayer support? Why did a member of Congress who personally benefited from campaign donations through E Street Group allow her husband’s firm to get access to $635,000 in subsidized relief loans in the first place? One might think this kind of grift should get the attention of the House Ethics Committee at some point — if not federal prosecutors.
In mid-November, Omar cut ties with her husband’s firm after she won re-election in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, saying she wanted to “make sure that anybody who is supporting our campaign with their time or financial support feels there is no perceived issue with that support,” the Star Tribune reported.
“Every dollar that was spent went to a team of more than twenty that were helping us fight back against attacks and organize on the ground and online in a COVID-19 world,” she added. “And Tim — beyond his salary at the firm — received no profit whatsoever from the consulting relationship the firm provided.”
The Star Tribune noted at the time that this wasn’t a spontaneous demonstration of transparency. Omar cut ties because an outside group had filed a complaint about her campaign-finance ties:
The Federal Election Commission has taken no public action in response to a complaint last year from a conservative group that alleged money from Omar’s campaign paid to now-husband Tim Mynett and his E Street Group LLC for personal travel expenses.
Beyond being able to point to Omar as a high-profile client, the contract was a lucrative one for the E Street Group: Omar’s campaign reported paying the firm more than $1.1 million for advertising and consulting in the third quarter of this year alone — transactions that Omar has defended as legitimate. The firm’s leadership has also previously said that much of the advertising expenses are transferred to other vendors. …
Omar stopped short of adequately addressing concerns about how the money was spent by E Street Group, said Thomas Anderson, a spokesman for the National Legal and Policy Center, the group that filed the initial complaint. “We feel Congresswoman Omar is attempting to clean up a mess we laid out in our complaint.”
Add the COVID-19 loans to the mix, and it’s pretty easy to see the grift in Omar’s approach to public service. That might not make Omar unique in the Beltway, but the sheer chutzpah of draining badly needed relief aid for her family’s business puts Omar in a class of her own. Or so we hope, at least.
Update: Just what “economic injury” did E Street Group LLC suffer in 2020? They made $4 million in this cycle, according to Open Secrets. They only made $145,000 in 2018, the first cycle of their operation. The amount of their COVID-19 relief loans was four times their entire income of the 2018 cycle. Where’s the “injury”?