Rep. Ilhan Omar's (D., Minn.) campaign payments to her husband's firm accounted for nearly 80 percent of its cash haul during the 2020 elections, federal filings show.
The E Street Group, a D.C. consulting firm owned by Tim Mynett, Omar's husband, and his partner Will Hailer, received $3.7 million from political committees this past cycle. Omar's campaign was by far its biggest moneymaker, doling out 146 checks for $2.9 million, or 78 percent of the firm's payments. Its second biggest cash source was Omar mentor Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.), whose campaign provided $194,000. The two combined for 85 percent of the firm's payments.
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Omar's payments to E Street constituted a large part of her campaign expenditures. Her committee spent $5.2 million, meaning that the $2.9 million that she funneled to her husband's firm was 56 percent of the campaign's operational costs. The money went toward advertisements, mail, consulting, and travel.
Omar faced heat over the payments but brushed them off as typical campaign work. Last July, she defended herself following a Washington Free Beacon report detailing $600,000 in payments over a three-week span. "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 when questioned during a debate. "And so what we do is that we have this firm really carry out the contractual work that we do with other vendors."
Omar doubled down in September, telling the New York Times that getting rid of her husband's firm would be a "stupid thing to do."
"You don't stop using the service of people who are doing good work because somebody thinks it means something else," she said. "Why would I not work with people who understand my district, who have been working there for 10 years, who understand what it means to raise resources for a candidate like myself and manage and target our communications to our district to battle the misinformation and narratives that the media and our adversaries continue to put out?"
Two months later, however, Omar sent an abrupt email to supporters announcing that she would cut ties with the firm. "So we've decided to terminate our contract with Tim and Will's firm," the email said. "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."
Omar's final payment was made in early November.
Despite raking in millions from Omar's campaign, Mynett's firm also received more than a half a million dollars in bailout cash last year intended to help small businesses cope with the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Omar's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the payments.