State Sen. Omar Fateh, a DFL lawmaker from Minneapolis, had confronted ethics complaints associated to marketing campaign finance and his marketing campaign’s dealing with of absentee ballots. Later within the listening to, Omar’s former marketing campaign supervisor and legislative aide, Dawson Kimyon, took up the Fifth Amendment and declined to reply questions on his work on Omar’s 2020 marketing campaign.
A state Senate ethics subcommittee dismissed most of an ethics grievance towards Sen. Omar Fateh Wednesday afternoon, however really helpful he endure coaching from the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board. At the identical listening to, Omar’s former marketing campaign supervisor and legislative aide largely declined to reply questions on his work for the first-term Democrat from south Minneapolis.
The Senate Ethics Subcommittee, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, threw out essentially the most severe allegations from the ethics grievance filed final month by seven Republican state senators.
Omar had confronted two complaints accusing him of breaking three Senate guidelines. One grievance centered on an alleged battle of curiosity involving him and Somali TV Minnesota, a web-based media outlet. The second grievance stemmed from his marketing campaign’s alleged mishandling of absentee ballots within the 2020 major.
The Senate subcommittee threw out all of the allegations particularly associated to the absentee ballots.
“There was a lot of smoke, but no fire,” state Senate President David Osmek, R-Mound, who additionally chairs the ethics subcommittee, advised the Sahan Journal. “I need fire.”
Also dismissed: an allegation that Omar allegedly sought to reward Somali TV Minnesota by drafting a invoice to grant cash to the web outlet. The grievance mentioned Omar’s invoice got here after the lawmaker allegedly obtained an endorsement and free promoting from the enterprise.
“There is no tangible evidence that you could show any kind of consideration or repayment,” Osmek added.
But the subcommittee upheld the remainder of the grievance on May 22, which accused Omar of failing to reveal funds for the Somali TV advert in his 2020 marketing campaign finance report. Omar admitted this error final month in the course of the first ethics listening to and amended the report.
State Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, emphasised that Omar beforehand labored for the Federal Election Commission and famous that he must have “a greater degree of responsibility and guilt” than the sanction he in the end obtained.
“This is not somebody who didn’t know anything about these areas,” Kiffmeyer mentioned.
The Senate Ethics Subcommittee will ship the Senate Rules Committee a advice that Omar obtain further marketing campaign finance coaching. A remaining determination on this proposal is seemingly to come back later this yr.
Omar declined to reply questions from information reporters after Wednesday’s assembly. He beforehand testified earlier than the subcommittee that he didn’t know he by no means directed any alleged mishandling of absentee ballots throughout his 2020 Senate bid. He additionally advised the committee that he paid $1,000 for internet marketing with Somali TV and was by no means authorized by the media. His laws to grant cash to the media was by no means heard.
Somali TV Minnesota President Siyad Salah additionally testified earlier than the committee throughout Wednesday’s listening to. He advised the committee Omar paid $1,000 for the advert. Siyad additionally said that Omar’s marketing campaign offered him with the required marketing campaign language for the adverts. Siyad blamed himself for forgetting to incorporate it earlier than sending the adverts.
At the tip of the listening to, Osmek promised to file a brand new grievance towards Omar with the Campaign Finance Board relating to his 2020 marketing campaign headquarters. That house belonged to an grownup day care enterprise on Lake Street and didn’t seem on Omar’s marketing campaign finance report. The constructing must have been erected as a company contribution, Osmek mentioned.
Dawson Kimyon, left, testifies earlier than the Senate Ethics Subcommittee with lawyer William Dooling, proper, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. Credit: Jaida Gray Eagle | Sahan Journal
Omar’s former marketing campaign supervisor refuses to reply quite a few questions
A notable second throughout Wednesday’s two-and-a-half-hour listening to got here in the course of the testimony of Dawson Kimyon, Omar’s former marketing campaign supervisor and legislative aide. Under questioning by senators, Kimyon invoked his Fifth Amendment rights on seven separate events. (The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution offers folks the fitting not to reply questions or make statements that may implicate themselves in criminality.)
Kimyon declined to reply questions on his work and duties for Omar’s marketing campaign and legislative work.
This line listening to got here two weeks after Dawson Kimyon refused to look at a scheduled listening to by the identical committee. Kimyon was scheduled to look on the subcommittee assembly on July 7, however advised lawmakers hours earlier than the assembly started that they might must subpoena him to make him seem. On the identical day, the Senate Committee determined to challenge this subpoena.
Sitting as we speak earlier than the committee along with his lawyer, Kimyon stored his feedback transient.
“When you worked for the candidate, what was your role and function?” state Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, requested Kimyon at one level.
“I’m going to decline to answer that question because of the Fifth Amendment,” Kimyon replied.
Kimyon additionally refused to reply questions on whether or not he communicated with Omar about absentee ballots, whether or not he instructed or took course from Omar’s marketing campaign about absentee ballots, whether or not he helped course of marketing campaign bills and concerning the constructing the place Omar had his marketing campaign headquarters in 2020.
Kimyon’s title first surfaced in the course of the trial of Muse Mohamed, Omar’s brother-in-law and a volunteer for Omar’s 2020 marketing campaign. During the trial, prosecutors unsealed transcripts of testimony Muse offered in the autumn of 2021 and addressed to a federal grand jury investigating attainable vote fraud in the first election in 2020.
Muse testified about delivering three absentee ballots to the Minneapolis voting middle in the course of the election and advised grand jurors that he personally met with and obtained the ballots from the three voters. However, two of these voters testified at trial that they by no means met Muse or approved him to deal with their ballots.
During this testimony, Muse additionally said that he obtained contact info for the three voters from Kimyon.
Muse caught to his story, and a state jury finally discovered him responsible of mendacity to the federal grand jury.
Shortly after this, DFL Senate management positioned Kimyon on go away from his legislative aide place. Kimyon subsequently resigned from each his positions as aide and marketing campaign supervisor.
During Wednesday’s listening to, Kimyon’s lawyer Bill Dooling defined to a pissed off Osmek that his consumer was invoking the Fifth Amendment as a result of of the continued federal investigation into attainable election fraud.
“There is an investigation that is ongoing,” Dooling mentioned. “The Fifth Amendment gives him the right not to answer questions if there is an ongoing investigation.”
Osmek argued that his questions on the constructing Omar used as his marketing campaign headquarters couldn’t result in a prosecution of Kimyon as a result of Kimyon was not the marketing campaign’s treasurer and “is not at fault” in a possible marketing campaign finance violation.
Dooling responded that Kimyon can invoke the Fifth Amendment “with respect to facts that are part of any chain of evidence leading to any prosecution.”
“If he has to describe the circumstances surrounding what he fears, that completely defeats the purpose of the Fifth Amendment,” Dooling mentioned.
Champion, himself a lawyer, mentioned he generally advises his purchasers to be “very thoughtful” about what they are saying in such circumstances.
“One of the reasons someone invokes the Fifth Amendment is that you’re not sure what the inquiry is about — not just from this agency, but what someone else is investigating. And you want to make sure that your comments don’t be misconstrued as an admission of something that others are investigating,” he mentioned. “It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
Kimyon declined to converse to the Sahan Journal after the listening to.