Shortly after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issued a “stay-at home” order on March 25, local Imam Tawakal Ismail partnered with 115-year-old charity GMCC to deliver meals to seniors and disabled individuals in immediate risk of hunger.
The Blaze – David Steinberg On April 9, GMCC’s website announced the meal program’s partners and major donors. The list included the imam’s charitable organization Darul Hadiith, and GMCC’s Minnesota FoodShare program.
Absent from the list: U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, or any other elected official or candidate.
This was intentional. Responding to questions via phone and email, Imam Tawakal states that the project is strictly “charity work,” and that he has been explicitly rejecting political partnerships and forbidding campaign photo or video opportunities.
On May 5, GMCC posted a formal news release announcing the program’s growth and success, and again listing partners and major donors. No political campaigns had joined, as expected.
Unexpectedly, Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted this fundraising appeal the same day:
Soliciting charitable contributions under false pretenses is, of course, a crime. Federal and state election law further governs the act if committed by a political campaign.
The reputational and organizational concerns for the charity project were also clear. “@IlhanMN” is Rep. Omar’s campaign account, the fundraiser was hosted by massive Democrat/progressive donation platform ActBlue, and the graphic read “PAID FOR BY ILHAN FOR CONGRESS.” As the “@IlhanMN” account has 2 million followers, the unwanted appearance of a political partnership would spread quickly.
Rep. Omar’s tweet appeared to cause an emergency. That evening, GMCC’s executive director posted a remarkable denial: