The young political career of Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar is headed downhill amid reports of infidelity, campaign finance violations, and anti-Semitism. She has been able to avoid direct questions for the most part with Congress out of session, but she will have a hard time doing that when Congress returns next week.
Omar has been an elected official for just over eight months, but she is already one of the most recognizable figures in politics. Omar has established herself as a firebrand due to her harsh criticism of the U.S.-Israel relationship, which had been one of the last bastions of bipartisanship in Washington D.C. She has claimed that U.S support for Israel is “all about the Benjamins,” conjuring up anti-Semitic tropes, and compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.
Now, rumors are swirling about Omar’s personal life that could do further damage to her reputation, and possibly damage her career. A recent report from The New York Post cited a source close to Omar’s second husband Ahmed Hirsi, who claims he is seeking a divorce because Omar has reportedly been unfaithful and is rarely home.
Hirsi’s reported request follows an initial report from the Post last month, which obtained a divorce filing from the DC Superior Court that alleged that the 37-year-old congresswoman had been engaged in an affair with Tim Mynett, a political consultant in Washington D.C. FEC filings revealed that Omar’s congressional campaign had disbursed $21,547 in travel funds to Mynett’s company. (RELATED: Mike Pence Rips Rep. Ilhan Omar Over Venezuela)
The timeline of Omar and Hirsi’s relationship has also raised eyebrows. The two became engaged in 2002, but never married until years later. Omar’s later married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi in 2011, which lasted until 2017. Some conservatives, including President Donald Trump, have seized on the brief marriage to allege that Omar married her brother, a claim the congresswoman has denied, but one which may have legs. (RELATED: Poll: Plurality Of Israeli Jews Support Israel’s Decision To Ban Omar, Tlaib)
A Minnesota Star-Tribune report from earlier this year found discrepancies in her marriage, and said that “New investigative documents released by a state agency have given fresh life to lingering questions about the marital history of Rep. Ilhan Omar and whether she once married a man — possibly her own brother — to skirt immigration laws.”
The report also cited public records searches that showed that Omar, Hirsi, and Elmi once shared the same address. A later report published by earlier this year by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board also found that Omar filed joint tax returns with Hirsi while married to Elmi. The report stated that Omar filed joint tax returns with Hirsi in 2014 and 2015, years before she divorced Elmi. Around the same time, Omar was ordered to pay a fine of $3,500 for misusing campaign funds between the years of 2016 and 2017. (RELATED: Omar, Tlaib Share Cartoon From Prominent Anti-Semitic Cartoonist)
Omar’s entire political career has operated under a dark cloud of controversy and rumors of illegality, but so far she has managed to mostly keep her mysterious past away from public knowledge. Omar has refused to discuss any rumors involving her alleged infidelity, campaign finance violations, or other improprieties. She has used the month-and-a-half long August recess to avoid the media, but that won’t be an option soon.
Omar has gone great lengths to avoid answering questions from her hometown newspaper, but it’s unlikely she’ll have the same option with the Washington press corps.
When the House of Representatives reconvenes on Monday, Omar will be the most discussed figure in Washington, D.C., even more so than Trump. Omar will be hounded by press wherever she goes. She has been heavily covered before now, but with many more questions having been raised during the recess about her private life, she can expect to be asked about them. Before entering Congress, Omar’s only experience as a public figure was the two years she spent representing Minnesota’s 60th district in the state House of Representatives.
Now, allegations of infidelity, immigration fraud, and campaign finance violations have made her one of the most recognizable figures in American politics. In the past, Omar has failed to handle the limelight well, but she hasn’t seen anything like she will see in the coming weeks.
The turmoil surrounding Ilhan Omar is about to reach Defcon 1, and how she responds might just become the biggest story in American politics.