Richard Pollock — OAN Investigative Reporter, Washington, D.C.
UPDATED 9:59 AM PT — Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Before Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) became a household name, she sought speaking fees ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per speech. Her web advertisement for such elevated fees is shocking. It has since been taken down, but One America News Network has exclusively obtained it.
Omar sought the sky-high fees when she was a lowly incoming member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. She entered the Minnesota House in 2016. Her booking agency was the All American Speakers Bureau. The agency describes itself as one of the country’s premier celebrity booking agencies.
All American posted an ad on its web site in June, 2018, according to the web page, where Omar’s speaking engagement fees appropriate.
One America News decided to see who else commands speaking fees from $50,000 to $100,000 at the agency. They include Ben Bernanke (the former Federal Reserve Chairman), James Wolfensohn (the former World Bank President), and Donald Rumsfeld (the former Defense Secretary) and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Also in the same fee category are nationally known personalities, including actors Angelica Huston and Annette Benning, comedian Bob Newhart and Dick Van Dyke as well as Lilly Tomlin and Jerry Stiller.
Omar was also in the same category as tennis stars Andy Roddick, John McEnroe and Christy Everette. NFL greats also are in the same category, including NFL coaches Bill Parcels, Jimmy Johnson and Mike Ditka.
The marketplace did respond to Omar. There’s no evidence anyone paid her such high fees.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski, a current member of the Minnesota House of Representatives who also served with Omar, told One America News that he was shocked to learn of her fees. Drakkowski has served in the Minnesota House for more than a decade and previously had called her out for her speaking engagements.
“I was shocked. a lowly member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. She had only been there a year at most. She accomplished nothing as Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. I don’t even remember a bill that was passed.” — Rep. Steve Drazkowski
This isn’t the first time speaking fees have been controversial for Omar. Last June, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board determined Omar had violated state ethics rules when using campaign funds for speeches while she was a Member of the House.
Why would Omar, a Somali immigrant, believe she could even com and such extraordinary fees? Rep. Drazkowski surmises Omar may have had a sense of entitlement. Before her family fled Somalia, she grew up in a life of privilege.
“Her family was very well heeled into the (President Siad) Barre regime over there in Somalia, which is really a communist socialist dictatorship,” the representative told OANN. “A very brutal one, I’m told she lived in a compound — it certainly was not a difficult life.”
The Minneapolis-based City Paper confirmed Drazkowski’s description of her early life of luxury, reporting her family in Somalia lived a “blessed life.”
“Privilege accompanied this kind of pedigree,” the local paper wrote in a profile of Omar, adding she lived in “a compound, complete with domestic help.”
It is possible that Omar’s grab for wealth in speaking fees does provide us with a unique peek into her early sense of her self-worth. Could it even suggest Omar might have been a little greedy as well?
All American Speaker’s Bureau had no comment about the Omar advertisement, and Rep. Omar did not respond to One America’s request for comment.