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Omar Husband’s Firm Received Half Million in COVID Bailouts

Pandemic windfall came as firm was raking in millions from Omar's campaign

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and husband Tim Mynett / Instagram
• December 4, 2020 1:00 pm

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A political consulting firm co-owned by Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) husband, Tim Mynett, received more than half-a-million dollars in pandemic bailout cash—even as it was raking in millions from Omar's campaign.

The E Street Group, a D.C.-based company run by Mynett and Will Hailer, received $134,800 in Paycheck Protection Program loans and $500,000 in Economic Injury Disaster loans, new data show. Both funds were established to help small businesses cope with the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mynett's firm, whose LinkedIn page says it has between 11 and 50 employees, received the aid as it was being showered with cash from Omar's campaign. Throughout the 2020 election cycle, Omar's campaign steered nearly $3 million to the E Street Group to cover advertisements, consulting, travel expenses, and production costs. It was by far the campaign's largest vendor.

The firm also hauled in hundreds of thousands of dollars from other campaigns, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The additional payments include $175,000 from Omar mentor Pramila Jayapal's (D., Wash.) committee, nearly $130,000 from the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party for Omar mailers, and $40,000 from the Democratic National Committee.

The federal cash was intended to help struggling small businesses pay workers and stay afloat during the lockdowns. The new figures were released Tuesday after a federal judge ordered that detailed data be made public following challenges from news organizations. The Trump administration had insisted that making more detailed data public would infringe upon personal privacy.

Omar's campaign sent an email to supporters in mid-November saying she will cut ties with her husband's firm.

"So we've decided to terminate our contract with Tim and Will's firm," the email stated. "While many of our close supporters know these two well and have recommended we keep them on — I want 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."

Just two months earlier, Omar said that getting rid of her husband's firm would be a "stupid thing to do." She also defended herself following a Washington Free Beacon report that her campaign dished out $600,000 in payments to the firm over a 3-week span in July.

"I don't pay my husband, I pay the firm to do work, and that 600 really is an example of that work," Omar said. "And so what we do is that we have this firm really carry out the contractual work that we do with other vendors."

For months, Omar and Mynett had insisted they were not romantically involved, even after Mynett's ex-wife said in divorce filings that the two were having an affair. Mynett claimed at the time that his ex-wife was trying to ruin his career. Omar and Mynett announced they were married in March.

The E Street Group did not respond to a request for comment.

Published under: Coronavirus, Ilhan Omar, PPP