A Minnesota state lawmaker is calling for a federal ethics inquiry into U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar over state campaign finance violations and tax irregularities that he says warrant revoking the freshman congresswoman's security clearance and removing her from a foreign affairs committee.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski — a Mazeppa Republican who filed a state complaint against Omar in 2018 — made his plea Tuesday in a letter to U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat also serving her first term in Congress. Drazkowski cited a state agency's report this month that Omar violated state campaign finance rules and filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband while she was legally married to but separated from another man.
"Miss Omar appears to be a serial career criminal and should not have access to our nation's highest secrets and intelligence," Drazkowski told reporters at a Capitol news conference.
Omar was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Craig called the letter "a political stunt."
"The people I talk to want me to focus on reducing the price of health care and prescription drugs, and that's exactly what I'm doing," she added.
Earlier this month, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board found that Omar improperly used campaign money to pay a lawyer to fix her tax filings. Omar, a former state representative, was ordered to pay a $500 fine and use her own money to cover the legal fees.
The agency's findings also revived questions about the Minneapolis Democrat's marital history, including allegations that she possibly married a brother for immigration purposes — an assertion championed by conservative bloggers since 2016 and which Drazkowski underlined in his letter to Craig.
Drazkowski, a member of the breakaway New House Republican Caucus, has drawn national attention from conservative media, including an appearance this week on Tucker Carlson's Monday Fox News program. Drazkowski insisted to reporters on Tuesday that he wrote to Craig as a constituent and rebuffed suggestions that the letter was part of an effort to put Craig in a difficult position with fellow Democrats.
"This is not about congresswoman Craig, it's not about Republican or Democrat, it's about an avenue for me to bring forward these questions and get it in front of the U.S. House of Representatives," Drazkowski said.
Generally, the U.S. House Committee on Ethics considers violations by members of the chamber's Code of Official Conduct or "of other law, rule, regulation, or other standard of conduct applicable to the performance of duties or discharge of responsibilities." The allegations against Omar precede her time in the House, which began in January.
Omar has previously come under attack from Republicans, including President Donald Trump, for statements she made about Jewish support for Israel in the U.S. She also drew rebukes from some top Democrats. The controversy ended earlier this year with a House resolution condemning bigotry, including anti-Semitism, but not specifically naming Omar.
Stephen Montemayor • 612-673-1755 Twitter: @smontemayor