Two House Republicans introduced a bill on Friday to prevent members of Congress from using campaign funds to pay their spouses, a measure they named after Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Wisconsin Reps. Tom Tiffany and Mike Gallagher introduced the Oversight for Members and Relatives Act, or the OMAR Act, in response to reports that Omar’s campaign paid $2.8 million to a consulting firm owned by her husband, Tim Mynett.
The payments accounted for 70 percent of Omar’s campaign spending, according to a Fox News report.
“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 news release.
Today, I introduced the Oversight for Members And Relatives (OMAR) Act with @RepGallagher.
For too long, lawmakers of both parties have engaged in the ethically dubious practice of pocketing campaign funds by hiring spouses and laundering the money as campaign related expenses.
— Rep. Tom Tiffany (@RepTiffany) February 5, 2021
“Loopholes that allow members of Congress to funnel campaign funds to their spouses are despicable and erode trust in our government,” Gallagher said in a statement.
Tiffany and Gallagher said the proposal is based on one that Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, introduced in 2007 to prohibit elected officials and candidates from employing their spouses on their campaigns.
The Republicans quoted Schiff saying at the time that his bill was “an important step forward in restoring the public’s confidence that elected officials are working in the public’s interest and not their own.”
They also quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said Schiff’s bill would “increase transparency in election campaigns and [prevent] the misuse of funds.”
The Republican proposal goes further than Schiff’s, prohibiting payments to candidates’ spouses who serve as consultants to their campaigns.
Mynett’s firm, E Street Group Consulting, provides digital and cable advertising consulting to progressive candidates.
Omar announced in November that she was cutting ties with E Street Group.
Her office did not respond to a request for comment about the bill.
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