- Rep. Ilhan Omar was recently ousted from the House Foreign Affairs Committee over past remarks construed by critics as anti-Semitic.
- Omar is the first Somali-American member of Congress, the first woman of color to represent Minnesota and one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
- Her current net worth is a matter of some dispute.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, 40, the U.S. Representative from Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, has never shied away from controversy. However, comments she had previously made about Israel were referenced by Republicans as a reason for her recent ousting from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Omar was removed on Feb. 2, with the vote being 218-211 along partisan lines. Republicans gestured toward comments she made in 2019 and 2021 that were construed by critics as anti-Semitic; she referred to Israel as an “apartheid state,” and in 2011 compared the United States and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban — a move which offended even some of her Democratic colleagues, USA Today reported.
Instead of acting contrite over her removal, Rep. Omar lashed out at the Republican-controlled Congress and claimed she was being silenced, according to USA Today.
This is far from her first scuffle with the GOP, though members of her own party called her out for those comments as well. Omar’s past (and frequent) public clashes with former President Donald Trump also made headlines.
Ilhan Omar at a Glance
In January 2019, she became the first Somali-American member of Congress and the first woman of color to represent Minnesota. Along with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, she is one of the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress. But it was a long journey for her to get there — Omar first came to the U.S. as a refugee in the 1990s. GOBankingRates explored her political life and finances to find out how she went from refugee to congresswoman.
Birthdate: Oct. 4, 1982Net worth: DisputedPrimary source of income: U.S. congressional salaryCareer highlight: First Somali-American member of Congress
Ilhan Omar’s Net Worth: Disputed
According to a financial disclosure report filed by Omar in May 2019, she had no assets at that time. She owed between $15,001 and $50,000 in student loans, and had a car loan from Toyota for $10,000 to $15,000, leaving her with a negative net worth ranging from -$25,001 to -$65,000, per OpenSecrets.
In more recent years, her net worth has often been disputed. In a recent 2021 financial disclosure examined by Fox News, it is indicated that Omar’s disclosure “does not appear to list any of the congresswoman’s personal bank accounts,” despite this being required by federal law. Four of the five line items listed under “Assets and ‘Unearned Income'” belong to her spouse, Tim Mynett, partner at political consulting firm eStreet Group.
“Omar’s campaign paid eStreet Group $3.7 million over the 2020 cycle, according to campaign filings, contributing four-fifths of political payments to her husband’s firm during the election cycle,” Fox News reported. The outlet also disclaimed that it is entirely possible Omar does not have a personal bank account matching the $5,000 reporting threshold.
Omar recently also inked a significant book deal with HarperCollins, according to Forbes, worth an estimated $100,000 or more. However, as her agent claimed, Omar has not personally profited from the book, as yet, due to the advance having been offered to her co-author, Rebecca Paley. Any details surrounding said book deal (for “This Is What America Looks Like”) were also absent from her financial disclosures for that year.
“Any advance for the book went to the congresswoman’s collaborator and not to the congresswoman (per House Ethics guidelines), and she has not earned any money from the book,” said Steve Ross, Omar’s agent, per Forbes. “Anything else you hear about her benefiting financially from the book is groundless — and erroneous — speculation.”
Not everyone is happy with this potential lack of financial transparency, however. Attorney Paul Kamenar of the National Legal and Policy Center believed book deals should be disclosed. “The book contract in and of itself is an asset,” Kamenar said, as detailed by Forbes. “It’s one that hasn’t necessarily realized its value, but it’s nevertheless intellectual property and one that should be reported for that reason alone.”
Ilhan Omar’s 2020 Reelection Campaign Funds: $5.8 Million
Omar’s campaign committee raised around $5.8 million in her successful 2020 race, per data compiled by both OpenSecrets.org and FollowTheMoney.org.
Ilhan Omar’s Political Journey
Omar was born in Somalia, and fled the country’s civil war with her family when she was 8 years old. She spent four years at a refugee camp in Kenya before immigrating to the U.S. in the 1990s. Prior to her run for elected office, Omar was a community educator at the University of Minnesota, a policy fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a senior policy aide for the Minneapolis City Council.
She was elected as Minnesota House representative for District 60B in 2016. During her time in this role, she served as assistant minority leader and was assigned to three house committees: Civil Law & Data Practices Policy, Higher Education & Career Readiness Policy and Finance, and State Government Finance. She was elected to represent Minnesota’s fifth congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019.
Since becoming a congresswoman, Omar has become known for her progressive views, which include abolishing ICE, implementing Medicare for All, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and establishing tuition-free college opportunities.
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Michelle Tompkins contributed to the reporting for this article.