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Omar will return speaking fees after ethical questions

July 30, 2018 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democratic state Rep. Ilhan Omar says she’s returning $2,500 in speaking fees to public college scholarship funds after a GOP lawmaker raised concerns.

Rep. Steve Drazkowski questioned those payments Monday. The Mazeppa Republican says it’s a major ethical lapse for a lawmaker to take that money from an organization that lobbies at the Legislature.

Economic disclosure reports filed with Congress and Drazkowski’s own public records requests revealed the speaking fees she accepted from Normandale Community College and Inver Hills Community College last year. Minnesota House rules bars representatives from accepting speaking fees from entities with business at the Legislature.

Omar said in a statement she accepted the engagements before being elected and didn’t realize they caused a problem. Omar is a first-term lawmaker now running for Congress.