FACT Calls for OCE to Investigate Rep. Ilhan Omar for Violating House Ethics Rules and Federal Law
Evidence Omar Failed to Properly Disclose Assets
Washington, D.C.— September 23, 2020— Yesterday, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to immediately investigate Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) for failing to properly disclose assets in violation of House ethics rules and federal law.
Representative Omar was elected in November of 2018, and in January 2019 Forbes reported she had sold her memoir, This is what America Looks Like, to Dey Street books for between $100,000 and $250,000. In May 2020, Omar’s book was released. However, Omar’s financial statements have not included any information about the book deal or income received. In Fact, Omar’s financial disclosures covering the years 2018 and 2019 do not contain any assets, unearned income, or agreements, with the exception of a Minnesota state retirement account.
Under federal law, members are required to file a personal financial disclosure report, which provides a “full and complete statement” of Member’s assets and income. Additionally, Members must disclose any position held during the two-year period proceeding the first report filed, including non-profit organizations. The ethics rules also specifically address royalties: any contract for royalties must be approved by the Committee on Ethics and the advance payment of copyright royalties is strictly prohibited. Finally, the ethics rules require that each Member reflect creditably on the House and prohibit anyone from seeking “to profit by virtue of their public office.”
“Despite media reports identifying a sizable book deal, an examination of Rep. Ilhan Omar's financial disclosures does not include any information about the book deal or proceeds. Given disclosure requirements, and the fact the book exists, it is likely Rep. Omar has profited from her book without being forthright with the American people," said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT. "Especially given apparent past failures to disclose information, and that she only reported a single asset on one of her two reports, the OCE needs to investigate Rep. Omar to ensure she has met the disclosure requirements of federal law."
A full copy of the complaint can be found here.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: www.factdc.org.