Two Wisconsin GOP reps. introduce ‘OMAR Act’ to combat ‘laundering’ campaign funds to spouses

Two Republican congressmen from Wisconsin on Friday introduced legislation that would bar candidates from office for “laundering” their campaign funds to enrich their spouses called the Oversight for Members And Relatives Act or “OMAR Act.”

The bill’s acronym references Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (D), who, according to a Fox News report in November, hired the political consulting firm of her husband, Tim Mynnett, during the most recent election cycle and paid it about $2.8 million.

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In a press release emailed by Rep. Tom Tiffany’s (R-Wis.) office, Tiffany was quoted as saying: “For too long, lawmakers of both political parties have engaged in the ethically dubious practice of pocketing campaign funds by ‘hiring’ their spouses and laundering the money as campaign related expenses.”

In that same press release, the other U.S. representative who helped introduce the bill, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), said “[l]oopholes that allow members of Congress to funnel campaign funds to their spouses are despicable and erode trust in our government,” adding that “[t]here’s simply no logical reason for allowing this practice to continue, and I’m proud to join Rep. Tiffany in this common-sense effort to ensure members can’t profit off running for Congress.”

The bill, according to the press release, is based on a bipartisan proposal introduced in the 110th Congress by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), with the release saying that Schiff’s proposal was endorsed at that time by members of the current House Democrat leadership team.

“Regardless of political party, we should all be able to agree that running for political office shouldn’t be part of a family enrichment scheme,” Tiffany also said. “Passing the OMAR Act will help restore public confidence in Congress and stop politicians from effectively pocketing their campaign funds.”

Back in December, SaraACarter.com also reported that the firm co-owned by Mynnett, “E Street Group,” received nearly $135,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and $500,000 in Economic Injury Disaster loans, according to public records.

The introduction of the OMAR Act comes as Republicans in Congress are pushing again for removing the progressive representative from her committees after a majority of the Democrat-controlled House voted Thursday to strip GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) of her committee assignments.

Greene in the past had expressed support for and promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory as well as supporting violence against Democratic lawmakers, among other incendiary statements. Prior to Thursday’s vote, Greene said she regretted those statements but did not apologize.

Back in 2019, Republicans called for Omar to be stripped of her committee assignments after making a number of antisemitic statements. While the GOP effort failed, the House at the time did successfully pass a resolution condemning “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of bigotry,” though without mentioning Omar by name.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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