REVEALED: Rep. Ilhan Omar filed joint tax returns BEFORE she married her husband while she was legally married to another man

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  •  State officials in Minnesota said Omar misused campaign funds
  •  She filed a joint tax return with her husband before they were legally married
  •  At the time, she was still legally married to another man
  • Her first marriage to Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi was without a certificate 
  • She then married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, but the two divorced in their faith tradition without taking legal action until 2017
  • Omar is a former refugee from Somalia 

REVEALED: Rep. Ilhan Omar filed joint tax returns BEFORE she married her husband while she was legally married to another man

  •  State officials in Minnesota said Omar misused campaign funds
  •  She filed a joint tax return with her husband before they were legally married
  •  At the time, she was still legally married to another man
  • Her first marriage to Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi was without a certificate 
  • She then married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, but the two divorced in their faith tradition without taking legal action until 2017
  • Omar is a former refugee from Somalia 

By Associated Press

Published: 18:58, 11 June 2019 | Updated: 19:26, 12 June 2019

Minnesota campaign finance officials said last week that U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar misused campaign funds in violation of state rules. They also revealed that she had filed joint tax returns with her husband years before they were legally married and at a time when she was married to another man.

The revelation puts the freshman representative under more scrutiny from critics who have taken issue with her marital past. One tax expert says if the issue has been corrected she’s unlikely to face any criminal consequences.

Some questions and answers about the tax issue:

In this May 18, 2019 file photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks during the fourth annual Citywide Iftar Dinner in Austin, Texas. A campaign finance investigation found that U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar filed joint tax returns with her husband before they were legally married

In this May 18, 2019 file photo, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks during the fourth annual Citywide Iftar Dinner in Austin, Texas. A campaign finance investigation found that U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar filed joint tax returns with her husband before they were legally married

Ilhan Omar, her husband Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, and their children are seen in one of Omar's Facebook photos, posted Jan. 5, 2019

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Ilhan Omar, her husband Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, and their children are seen in one of Omar’s Facebook photos, posted Jan. 5, 2019

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said Thursday that Omar and her husband, Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, filed joint tax returns for 2014 and 2015 – before they were actually married and while Omar was legally wed to another man. While some states allow for joint filing for “common law” marriages, Minnesota does not, and filing joint tax returns with someone who is not your legal spouse is against both federal and state law.

Q: How did this become public?

A: Last year, a Republican state representative accused Omar of misusing campaign funds, alleging among other things that she used $2,250 in campaign money to pay a lawyer for her divorce proceedings. The campaign finance board investigated and found she didn’t use the funds to pay for a divorce lawyer as alleged, but other irregularities were found. The board’s final report said “there was an issue with her tax returns that needed to be corrected” and that some campaign funds went to an accounting firm.

Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (pictured) and Ilhan Omar married in 2009

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Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (pictured) and Ilhan Omar married in 2009

Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (pictured) and Ilhan Omar completed their divorce in 2017

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Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (pictured) and Ilhan Omar completed their divorce in 2017

Omar has drawn fire for controversial statements as a new lawmaker, and now has been revealed to have filed a joint return before being legally married to her husband

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Omar has drawn fire for controversial statements as a new lawmaker, and now has been revealed to have filed a joint return before being legally married to her husband

Ilhan Omar (C), newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, celebrates with her husband Ahmad Hirsi and daughter Ilwad as her son Adnan (R) looks on, after her congressional 5th District primary victory in Minneapolis

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Ilhan Omar (C), newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, celebrates with her husband Ahmad Hirsi and daughter Ilwad as her son Adnan (R) looks on, after her congressional 5th District primary victory in Minneapolis

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), 2nd-L performs a ceremonial swearing-in for US House Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN), 2nd-R at the start of the 116th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 3, 2019. At far left is Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), 2nd-L performs a ceremonial swearing-in for US House Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN), 2nd-R at the start of the 116th Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 3, 2019. At far left is Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi

Ilhan Omar with her family as seen on her campaign website. The man pictured is Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, whom she identifies as her husband

Ilhan Omar with her family as seen on her campaign website. The man pictured is Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi, whom she identifies as her husband

State officials ruled last week that Omar must repay her campaign committee nearly $3,500, including $1,500 for payments made to the accounting firm for services related to joint tax returns for 2014 and 2015. Omar must also pay a $500 penalty to the state.

Q: What has Omar said about this?

A: Very little. In response to questions from The Associated Press, her campaign sent an emailed statement saying, “All of Rep. Omar’s tax filings are fully compliant with all applicable tax law.” The campaign did not make Omar available for an interview or answer specific questions from the AP. In response to the overall campaign finance investigation, she said in a statement last week that she will comply with the state board findings calling for her to repay money and pay a penalty.

Q: Hasn’t Omar faced criticism on other issues?

A: During her brief time in Congress, Omar has been outspoken on issues such as U.S. policy toward Israel and the Middle East. As one of the first two Muslim women in Congress she has faced heightened scrutiny and has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks. In response to some of her comments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning hate speech against all groups. She has denied her comments were anti-Semitic and says she has come under political attack because she is a Muslim and woman of color.

She has also been dogged by conservatives who have raised questions about her past. She came to the United States as a refugee from war-torn Somalia. In 2016, as Omar was running for a seat in the Minnesota House, conservative bloggers alleged she was married to two men at the same time. Marriage records show that’s not the case. Conservatives also alleged that one of those men, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, was her brother – allegations that Omar called “disgusting lies.”

According to marriage records, 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. 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.

Omar then married Elmi, whom she said is a British citizen, in 2009, according to a marriage certificate. Omar said that relationship ended in 2011 and the two divorced in their faith tradition, but Omar didn’t take legal action to divorce him until 2017. Divorce records say 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.

Q: Did Omar gain something by filing jointly?

The first marriage of Ilhan Omar (center) to Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi was without a certificate. Omar then married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (pictured far right), but the two divorced in their faith tradition without taking legal action until 2017

The first marriage of Ilhan Omar (center) to Ahmed Abdisalan Hirsi was without a certificate. Omar then married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi (pictured far right), but the two divorced in their faith tradition without taking legal action until 2017

A: It’s hard to say. In most situations, filing jointly may reduce taxes for married couples. But Eric Johnson, an attorney who practices tax law in St. Paul, Minnesota, said that’s not always the case and filing jointly might actually increase a tax bill for some.

Omar has so far kept her tax returns private. While she has called for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, her campaign did not acknowledge the AP’s request to release hers. Her campaign also did not answer a question about whether there might be issues with other tax returns prior to Omar’s marriage to Hirsi in 2018.

Q: Is Omar now in trouble with the IRS?

A: That’s not clear. The IRS says federal privacy law prohibits it from commenting.

Jeff Sigurdson, executive director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, said that while the board has authority to refer matters to a county attorney if it discovers an issue, there were no referrals made in this case. Sigurdson said the board did not look into the legality of the joint tax returns, but only “whether it was appropriate to use committee funds to get a copy of them.” Sigurdson said the board never saw the returns in question.

Johnson, the tax attorney, said if taxpayers incorrectly file tax returns as “married filing jointly” where there is no legal marriage, it is typically not a criminal matter unless taxpayers have a strong intent to cheat on their taxes, or unless they directly provide false factual information.

“If the IRS discovers the error, they send the resulting tax bill to the taxpayers,” Johnson said. “If the taxpayers discover the error … amend their returns and pay the tax, there is typically no further consequence.”

Q: Will the public ever know what happened?

A: Probably not, unless Omar decides to talk about it. Taxpayer information is protected under federal law. Johnson said the IRS can’t disclose the status of anyone’s tax issues or directly release information about Omar’s tax situation.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7129621/Rep-Omar-filed-joint-tax-returns-married-husband.html?fbclid=IwAR3aRCHBLvA3Rusg6RnmMP3Gqy-oOKlQmIa3pLdfhayPbdyyIGo3r3jrCtw

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