Rep. Ilhan Omar is fined for state campaign finance violation | Daily Mail Online

Democrat congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been fined for a violation of state campaign finance rules, in part due to expenditures that arose in response to unproven claims that she was once married to her brother.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board published its findings on Thursday, ordering Omar to personally reimburse her own campaign account $3,469.23 and to pay a civil penalty of $500 for violating state campaign finance rules.

The violations date back to Omar’s time as a representative in the Minnesota state House in 2016 and 2017, and the reimbursement amount represents spending of campaign funds that the board says were not allowed by state law.

That includes a payment of $1,500 her campaign made to a law firm following the formation of a ‘crisis committee’ in August 2016 to respond to allegations that Omar ‘married to her brother as part of an immigration scheme,’ according to the board’s report.

Rep. Ilhan Omar was fined $500 and ordered to reimburse her state campaign committee $3,469.23 by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

The board’s findings of law are seen above in an excerpt from the report issued on Thursday

The board found that the law firm, originally tasked with reviewing tax and immigration records to rebut the marriage claim, incidentally discovered an error in Omar’s personal taxes and was reimbursed for paying an accountant to correct it, an expense that the board ruled an impermissible use of campaign funds.

The board also found that Omar’s campaign committee made several improper expenditures for her travel to Boston, Washington DC, New York and Florida.

‘I’m glad this process is complete and that the Campaign Finance Board has come to a resolution on this matter,’ Omar said in a statement to DailyMail.com. ‘We have been collaborative in this process and are glad the report showed that none of the money was used for personal use, as was initially alleged.’ 

Omar went on to say that she plans to close the account from her state House race and distribute the funds to organizations that help train first-time candidates to run for office. 

Omar, a Somali immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen who has been legally married twice in the U.S., has in the past vehemently denied claims that she was formerly married to her brother, an allegation that appears to have emerged on a Somali online discussion board and was spread by conservative blogs.

According to marriage records in Minnesota’s Hennepin County, Omar applied for a license in 2002 to marry her current husband, Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, who Omar says went by Ahmed Abdisalan Aden at the time. 

Omar is seen celebrating her election victory with her current husband Ahmad Hirsi. She has previously denied rumors that her prior husband Ahmed Nur Said Elmi was her brother

Records show a marriage certificate wasn’t issued and Omar has said they didn’t pursue a civil marriage but instead married in their Muslim ‘faith tradition.’

Omar and Hirsi had two children, but ended their relationship in 2008, she has said.

Omar then legally married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, whom she said is a British citizen, on February 12, 2009, according to a marriage certificate issued in Hennepin County. 

Conservative online sites have alleged that Elmi is Omar’s brother and she married him to commit immigration fraud in the form of providing him a quicker path to U.S. citizenship.

Omar said in a 2016 statement: ‘Insinuations that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is my brother are absurd and offensive.’ 

Sorting out these claims is difficult without access to immigration records, birth certificates or other documents that could prove parentage or family lineage. 

Omar has said she and others can’t get birth certificates because the infrastructure in Somalia collapsed during a civil war that displaced over 2 million Somalis. 

Omar said that her relationship with Elmi ended in 2011 and the two divorced in their faith tradition, but Omar didn’t take legal action to divorce him until 2017.

The divorce records say that Omar and Hirsi reunited and had a third child together in June 2012. Omar legally married Hirsi in early 2018, a month after her divorce from Elmi was finalized.

Omar is seen with her current husband Hirsi and their three children. Omar legally married Hirsi in early 2018, a month after her divorce from Elmi was finalized

The campaign finance complaint against Omar was first brought by state Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a Republican in the Minnesota House. 

At the time, Omar’s campaign issued a statement saying that Drazkowski’s allegations were politically motivated ‘and it should be concerning to his constituents that he is using taxpayer dollars to harass a Muslim candidate.’ 

‘We recognize how these folks are deeply invested in stopping a progressive, Black, Muslim, hijab-wearing, immigrant woman,’ Omar said. ‘We know these people are part of systems that have historically been disturbingly motivated to silence, discredit and dehumanize influencers who threaten the establishment.’   

Drazkowski said in a statement on Thursday that the results of the probe provide ‘no reassurance to Minnesotans,’ and the report ‘raises even more troubling questions.’ 

This content was originally published here.

Plus size women kicked out of business class on flight for being ‘too big’

Three women said they were “utterly humiliated” when Thai Airways staff kicked them out of their paid-for business class seats for being “too big”.

Huhana Iripa, 59, and her two daughters Renell, 28, and Tere, 37, were flying from Bangkok to Auckland following weight loss surgery when the incident occurred, reports the. 

The trio had booked economy seats for the outbound flight, but following the surgery they’d wanted to ensure they were comfortable, and had paid NZ$2,650 (£1,328) each for business class seats as a result.

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However, when they approached the business class check-in desk, they were accosted by staff trying to assess them with a tape measure.

“We were utterly humiliated in front of all the other passengers,” Ms Iripa told the NZ Herald.

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World’s best airlines 2020

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World’s best airlines 2020

1/10 1. Air Zealand

The Kiwi flag carrier claimed the top spot in the AirlineRatings.com Airline Excellence Awards due to inflight innovations, environmental leadership and staff motivation

2/10 2. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines came second overall and also took the Best First Class award for its Suites product

3/10 3. All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways claimed third place, hailed for being at the forefront of cabin innovation

4/10 4. Qantas

Qantas won two awards – Best Domestic Airline Service and Best Lounges – alongside fourth place

5/10 5. Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific was named the best long-haul airline in Asia
Best Inflight Entertainment was awarded to Emirates

7/10 7. Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic came in seventh

9/10 9. Qatar Airways

The Best Catering and Best Business Class awards went to Qatar Airways thanks to its Qsuites

10/10 10. Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia won Best Economy for an “extremely spacious cabin that sets it apart from many airlines”, plus Best Cabin Crew

1/10 1. Air Zealand

The Kiwi flag carrier claimed the top spot in the AirlineRatings.com Airline Excellence Awards due to inflight innovations, environmental leadership and staff motivation

2/10 2. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines came second overall and also took the Best First Class award for its Suites product

3/10 3. All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways claimed third place, hailed for being at the forefront of cabin innovation

4/10 4. Qantas

Qantas won two awards – Best Domestic Airline Service and Best Lounges – alongside fourth place

5/10 5. Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific was named the best long-haul airline in Asia
Best Inflight Entertainment was awarded to Emirates

7/10 7. Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic came in seventh

9/10 9. Qatar Airways

The Best Catering and Best Business Class awards went to Qatar Airways thanks to its Qsuites

10/10 10. Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia won Best Economy for an “extremely spacious cabin that sets it apart from many airlines”, plus Best Cabin Crew

“The next thing, there were about five members of staff all around talking in their native language, shaking their heads and looking at us as if we’d committed a crime.

“A staff member then came forward and started saying ‘no, you’re too big, you’re too big’.”

Ms Iripa said she broke into tears, adding: “The whole thing was disgusting.”

The three women were told they would have to sit in economy instead.

After they complained, the family was offered a refund of the price difference between the two seats, plus NZ$450 (£225) in compensation, but they felt they should be refunded the full ticket price.

”I’ve never felt discriminated against before because of my size, so this experience left me completely in shock,“ said Ms Iripa.

The family was eventually refunded in full by Flight Centre, the travel agency they’d originally booked through.

Thai Airways’ Dreamliner 787-900 business class seats have seatbelts with airbags in them, which means they can’t be extended, according to the airline.

Passengers with waists measuring more than 56 inches are therefore excluded from flying in business class.

However, Ms Iripa was at no point informed of the size restrictions during the booking process.

”The new 787-900 Dreamliner aircraft used on flights between New Zealand and Thailand is fitted with integrated airbag seatbelts in business class,” a Thai Airways spokesperson told the Herald.

“The extension seatbelt normally used to accommodate oversize passengers cannot be fitted to the airbag seatbelts; therefore passengers not able to fit the standard airbag seatbelt cannot be carried in business class.

”As this issue involves passenger safety, I am sure you will understand that we cannot compromise on this.“

The Independent has contacted Thai Airways for further comment.

This content was originally published here.

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