The Federal Election Commission complaint alleging U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., improperly spent campaign funds on a lover apparently is no threat to the radical newcomer to Congress.
At least right now.
That's because the FEC currently has only three members, and it cannot take any action without a quorum of four. Of the six seats on the commission, three are open.
That means, according to former FEC commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky, now a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, she is "protected – for now – against accusations of campaign finance law violations."
He explained in a commentary on FoxNews.com that she "doesn't need to worry for now about a complaint filed against her with the Federal Election Commission. Vacancies on the FEC make it impossible for the commission to take any action."
He said the FEC is meant to be a government watchdog against election law violations, but it is "effectively muzzled and chained, helpless to act."
"That’s good news for Omar, who refused Wednesday to answer questions about the allegations filed against her this week by a nonprofit group called the National Legal and Policy Center, which describes itself as 'a charitable and educational organization' that seeks to “foster and promote ethics in government and public life," he wrote.
Omar has refused to talk about the reports of her extramarital relationship and the FEC complaint alleging illegal use of campaign funds.
Von Spakovsky said the FEC will send Omar a copy of the complaint and she will have 15 days to send a response.
"But the question of whether to open an investigation of the congresswoman – who has been accused by President Trump and others of anti-Semitism and hatred of the Jewish state of Israel – will have to wait until there are four confirmed FEC commissioners. No one knows when that will happen," he wrote.
A quorum of the FEC can levy fines against candidates who are found in violation. The complaint against Omar alleges her election campaign paid Tim Mynett, a consultant, and his E. Street Group $230,000 for fundraising consulting and other services.
But Mynett's wife, Beth Mynett, alleged in a divorce petition her husband told her he was "romantically involved with" Omar. Omar denied the claim in an interview this week.
Omar lawyers: Complaint a 'political ploy'
Von Spakovsky explained that if Omar's campaign paid Tim Mynett's travel expenses so the congresswoman could have "romantic companionship," she could be in violation of federal law that bars spending campaign funds "to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign."
He noted Omar's attorneys have dismissed the complaint as a "political ploy."
"But until the FEC gets another commissioner, neither this complaint nor any others will be investigated by the commission to see if there is actually any substance – and any credibility – to the allegations being made," he wrote
Commissioner Matt Petersen recently resigned, creating the lack of a quorum. Commissioners are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
Von Spakovsky noted that former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., went to jail in 2013 for using campaign money for personal expenses
"He pleaded guilty to spending $750,000 in campaign funds on everything from personal travel and restaurant expenses to a Rolex watch, fur coats for his wife, and memorabilia from Bruce Lee, Eddie Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix, along with mounted elk heads for his office," von Spakovsky wrote.
Commissioners usually are nominated in pairs – one Republican and one Democrat. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer has not named a Democrat to accompany a candidate President Trump already has identified to nominate.
'The evidence is overwhelming'
DailyMail.com reported last month that amid claims Omar married and divorced her brother in an immigration scam, the congresswoman had separated from her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi. She previously was married to Ahmed Nur Said Elmi.
President Trump last month repeated the claim that Omar's union with Elmi was illegal immigration fraud because he is her brother. Omar has called the allegation "absolutely false and ridiculous."
However, as WND reported, investigative reporter David Steinberg and others have published over the past three years substantial evidence that Omar married her brother to defraud U.S. immigration and perjured herself eight times in her divorce statement. In addition, a Minnesota state agency fined her for filing joint tax with Hirsi while she was legally married to Elmi.
Omar says she first married Hirsi in an Islamic ceremony in 2002, but six years later they "reached an impasse in our life together" and divorced. In 2009, she legally married Elmi. She says she reconciled with Hirsi in 2012. But she didn't divorce Elmi until 2017, after evidence emerged in her runs for office that Elmi is her biological brother.
In July, WND reported the watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a House Ethics complaint against Omar calling for a congressional investigation of allegations of perjury, immigration fraud, marriage fraud, state and federal tax fraud and federal student loan fraud.
"The evidence is overwhelming Rep. Omar may have violated the law and House rules," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The House of Representatives must urgently investigate and resolve the serious allegations of wrongdoing by Rep. Omar."