MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has married a political consultant who worked for her, months after the two were accused of having an affair, which she denied.
A marriage license filed in Washington, D.C., shows Omar married political consultant Tim Mynett on Wednesday. Omar announced her new marriage Wednesday night on Instagram, with a photo of her and a bearded man smiling and displaying wedding rings. “Got married! From partners in politics to life partners, so blessed,” the post says, without identifying Mynett by name.
Filings with the Federal Election Commission show Omar’s campaign paid Tim Mynett or his firm nearly $600,000 since July 2018. Though it may raise eyebrows, family members, including spouses, can be on the campaign payroll as long as the family member provides services at a fair market value.
Larry Jacobs, a politics professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said the work needs to be reasonable and there has to be actual work being done.
Jacobs said constituents may question the way Omar handled the situation.
“Remember the story began with her denying a relationship, and now she’s marrying that person,” Jacobs said. “I think there are legitimate questions that constituents might ask about whether Congresswoman Omar has been fully truthful in her discussion of this relationship, and the nature of her marriage to a previous husband,” whom Omar divorced last fall.
A relationship between Omar and Mynett was publicly alleged in August, when Mynett’s then-wife, Beth Mynett, filed for divorce and accused her husband and Omar of having an affair. In response, Tim Mynett filed his own court document denying that he told his wife he was in love with Omar and was ending his marriage to be with the congresswoman.
When Omar was asked at the time whether she was separated from her then-husband or dating someone, she told WCCO-TV, “No, I am not.” She has since declined to discuss her personal life.
In October, she filed for divorce from Ahmed Hirsi, citing an “irretrievable breakdown” in the marriage. That divorce was finalized in November.
According to Beth Mynett’s divorce filing, Tim Mynett is a founder of E Street Group and met Omar while working for her. His LinkedIn page says he is still a partner at the firm; and a spokesman for Omar confirmed that E Street has a current contract with her campaign.
Data on OpenSecrets.org shows the Omar campaign has been E Street Group’s biggest moneymaker, bringing in more than $523,000 in the 2020 election cycle alone.
Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said it’s notable that Omar’s campaign is the firm’s top client, and that they are now family.
“I think it begs some questions, which might be easily explained,” she said. “Since there isn’t a prohibition on paying family members, it usually comes down to understanding the patterns and PACs and whether that’s a concern to the constituents and donors.”
According to FEC filings, Omar’s campaign paid Mynett or his firm for services including fundraising consulting, internet advertising, website development and digital communications. Several payments were also for travel expenses.
A spokesman with the Office of Congressional Ethics said he’s not permitted to either confirm or deny whether it is investigating.
Omar has been dogged by questions about her personal life since she first ran for state representative in 2016, with conservatives alleging she was married to Hirsi and another man at once, and that the other man was her brother. She has called those claims “disgusting lies.”