Ilhan Omar’s Tax Filings Draw Accusations of Irregularities

Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) in Minneapolis, October 26, 2018 (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

A state investigation into Representative Ilhan Omar’s misuse of campaign funds uncovered discrepancies in her tax filings as well, alleging that she filed jointly with a man she was living with while still married to her previous husband.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board stated in a report that the Democratic congresswoman filed joint tax returns with Ahmed Hirsi for two years despite still being legally married to another man, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi. Minnesota prohibits filing joint returns unless the two parties are legally married to each other.

Omar and Hirsi had two children together without being legally married, and separated in 2008. She legally married Elmi in 2009 but later reconciled with Hirsi and had another child with him in 2012. In 2017, she divorced Elmi, and in 2018 she married Hirsi legally for the first time.

In the meantime, however, Omar filed joint tax returns with Hirsi in 2014 and 2015 while still legally married to Elmi.

Omar argued that in 2011 she obtained a divorce from Elmi “in her faith,” the Muslim tradition, although the divorce was not a legal one.

The state investigation was originally initiated over accusations that Omar illegally spent campaign funds on personal expenses. The investigatory board has ordered her to reimburse her state House campaign committee almost $3,500 plus a $500 civil penalty for illegally spent funds. Of that money, $1,500 was paid to an accounting firm for work related to Omar’s divorce, while the majority was spent on travel expenses to Boston, Washington, D.C., Florida, New York, and Chicago.

“All of Rep. Omar’s tax filings are fully compliant with all applicable tax law,” her campaign said in a statement.

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