Ilhan Omar files for 90-day extension to not disclose if her book advance violated House rules

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Rep. Ilhan Omar is days away from the release of her debut memoir but questions about the large book advance that was reported have still not been answered.

The Minnesota Democrat and first Muslim refugee in Congress inked a book deal with Dey Street Books to publish “This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey From Refugee to Congresswoman,” which will be out next week. But ethics questions remain about whether the large advance she supposedly received for the book may violate House rules.

As Omar began her term in the U.S. Congress last year, Forbes reported that the book deal was reportedly worth between $100,000 and $250,000. Any contract that would have delivered an advance to Omar, or any member of Congress, would have to have been approved by the House Ethics Committee per rules that otherwise prohibit “the receipt of any advance payment on copyright royalties,”

Her 2018 financial disclosure, before she was sworn into office in January 2019, does not reveal any book advance but neither Omar nor her publisher answered “repeated requests” from Washington Free Beacon about when the book contract was even signed as well as information about the advance.

“We would like to see her 2019 disclosure, but Omar has filed for a 90-day extension,” the Free Beacon’s editors noted. “Ninety days takes Omar just past the contested Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary that she faces back home in Minnesota this August—by two days, to be exact. We’ll have to check back then.”

In contrast, Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas reported on his 2018 financial disclosure report a $250,000 advance on a book he was writing. The required reporting detailed the funds received before his swearing-in in January, along with Omar.

Forbes reported last year that Omar’s literary agent, Steve Ross, had indicated he began working with her in 2016. A press release about the forthcoming book said it “chronicles her journey fleeing war in Somalia as a little girl, becoming a refugee in her early teens, and making her way against unspeakable odds to become the congresswoman-elect from Minnesota as a collection of remarkable firsts: first Muslim refugee in Congress, first woman of color to represent Minnesota, and the first person to wear a hijab in Congress.”

Outside of the Capitol, Omar laughed off a question about whether her book advance would be greater than the reported $2 million former national security adviser John Bolton got for his book.

“We will have to find out,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.

Besides the many controversial remarks the congresswoman has made headlines for, she has also come under ethics scrutiny and been targeted with FEC complaints. She was ordered to reimburse her own campaign $3,469.23 and pay a fine of $500 last year for misusing campaign funds. And the consulting firm belonging to her husband, Tim Mynett, has also been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Omar, raising even more questions about the Democrat’s actions.

The Washington Free Beacon’s editor’s noted Omar’s “media stonewall” in the piece calling out the book advance.

In the meantime, we will wait, almost certainly in vain, for the armies of investigative reporters attuned to the release of Republican financial disclosures to find the time and care to ask these straightforward questions. It’s not hard to predict how the congresswoman would respond given that accusations of bigotry have become her standard defense against what most might call public accountability.


Meanwhile, Twitter users seemed to have no interest in Omar’s new book.




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