It can be quite an honor to have a federal bill named after you. That is, of course, if you have done something honorable.
For U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a congressional “Squad” member whose campaign has paid her husband’s D.C. consulting firm nearly $3 million, well, not so much.
U.S. Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) and Mike Gallagher (R-Allouez) recently introduced the Oversight for Members And Relatives Act, or “OMAR Act.” The legislation would put an end to the practice of slimy congressional candidates tapping their campaign accounts to enrich their spouses and, ultimately, themselves.
“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,” Tiffany said in a statement. “Loopholes that allow members of Congress to funnel campaign funds to their spouses are despicable and erode trust in our government,” Gallagher added. “There’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 is based on a bipartisan proposal introduced more than a decade ago by U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and which was endorsed at that time by members of the current House Democrat leadership team.
In 2007, Schiff called for House approval of a ban on campaign payments to spouses “an important step forward in restoring the public’s confidence that elected officials are working in the public’s interest and not their own.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), praised the House action, saying it would “increase transparency in election campaigns and [prevent] the misuse of funds.”
According to Fox News, incumbent Congresswoman Omar took advantage of this loophole “paid nearly $2.8 million to her husband’s political consulting firm so far in the 2019-2020 election cycle, including nearly 70 percent of her third-quarter disbursements.” It appears to be more than all members of Congress paid their immediate relatives during the entire 2012 election cycle, combined. “It is outrageous and inappropriate for Members of Congress to convert campaign donations to personal funds in this way,” Tiffany said. “It feeds public perceptions of corruption, undermines public trust in Congress, and must come to an end.”