From the mixed-up files of Rep. Ilhan Omar

The story of Ilhan Omar’s joint tax filings with a man to whom she was not married while she was married to another man (assuming that marriage wasn’t void) is a big story. Omar is a national figure. The story reveals illegal conduct on Omar’s part. It raises related issues including the treatment of her marriage to Ahmed Nur Said Elmi as a sham.

Omar has issued a vacuous statement regarding her illegal tax filings and refused to respond to questions from the Star Tribune (Patrick Condon and Patrick Coolican), WCCO 4 (Esme Murphy), and Power Line (me). It’s an approach that has always worked for her in the past. Why not now? It’s a good bet that it will so long as it remains in the hands of the local media. No offense intended, but their laziness, stupidity, and knotted-up political correctness cannot be overestimated.

For the record, this is Omar’s statement as reported by Patrick Condon in his first story on the board order: “I’m glad this process is complete and that the Campaign Finance Board has come to a resolution on this matter. We have been collaborative in this process and are glad the report showed that none of the money was used for personal use, as was initially alleged.”

Condon leaves it at that. Given the board order, I cannot fathom what it is supposed to mean. It is blatantly false. That is why she was ordered to reimburse her campaign committee.

In the Star Tribune follow-up story, Condon and Patrick Coolican provide this statement from Omar on the 2014 and 2015 joint tax returns: “All of Rep. Omar’s tax filings are fully compliant with all applicable tax law[.]” Formulated in the present tense, the statement avoids the underlying facts. Condon and Coolican report that Omar declined an interview request and “the campaign did not furnish copies of the tax returns in question.”

The Star Tribune has let the story ride since the (June 8) Condon/Coolican story. This is a major story. Dogged pursuit of a major story this is not.

The story came to light thanks to the investigation of Omar’s 2016 campaign for the state legislature. The Minnesota campaign finance board found that Omar misused campaign funds for personal purposes. The joint tax filings came to light in the investigation. Their story raises straightforward questions that Omar, in her accustomed style, declines to address.

The board has made its investigative file in the campaign finance case available to the press. It is a voluminous file, but it’s there for the asking. I picked up a copy from the board yesterday. Asking who else had been around, I was advised that only one other outlet had preceded me. Hint: it wasn’t the Star Tribune.

This is the first part of a series I will break into bite-size parts on the board investigation and related issues that come to mind. My goal is to keep the story alive for at least a few more days and inspire a curious soul or two who does this kind of thing for a living to ask a few more questions.

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