By Lukas Mikelionis
Published April 16, 2019
Embattled Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar is beating other House Democrats by raising nearly $1 million, despite a series of anti-Semitic controversies that plagued her first three months in office.
Omar, who continues to face controversy over comments in which she appears to describe the September 11, 2011 terror attacks as “some people did something,” has proven to be able to monetize in the wake of a backlash.
According to a Federal Election Commission filing on Monday, Omar raised $832,000 in the first quarter this year, a figure well above other some of her Democratic colleagues.
By comparison, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, N.Y., raised $725,000 in the first quarter while Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., another progressive, raised only $316,000 -- which is over half a million dollars less than Omar’s figure.
In February, Omar drew bipartisan uproar after suggesting that politicians in the U.S. were bought by AIPAC, a non-partisan organization that seeks to foster the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar wrote in a now-deleted tweet, suggesting the group pays U.S. politicians to support Israel. AIPAC denied Omar’s claims that they fund politicians.
“Congresswoman Omar's use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel's supporters is deeply offensive.”
Omar issued an apology but reiterated a “problematic role of lobbyists” in politics, particularly AIPAC as well as the NRA and fossil fuel industry.
Just weeks later, Omar reignited the controversy once again, this time saying that supporters of Israel were pushing for U.S. politicians to declare “allegiance” to that nation.
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” Omar said. “I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA, of fossil fuel industries, or big pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying movement that is influencing policy?”
“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”
The FEC records show that Omar received over $415,000 from people who gave her less than $200. She also received larger donations from other Democrats, including from Ocasio-Cortez who gave her $2,000.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who caused a controversy of its own after defended Omar by saying that her experience was “more personal” than Jews whose parents survived the Holocaust, also donated $1,000 to Omar.