Ilhan Omar may lose primary on August 9


Controversial member of the US Congress, Ilhan Omar is in trouble and according to several predictions, she may face defeat in the primary challenge for her Minnesota 5th Congressional District seat on August 9, although she remains an active member of the Congress, despite a social media post claiming otherwise.

On June 8, 2022, the headline caption appearing with a video on Facebook said, “Finally! House Democrats kicks Ilhan Omar from Congress”. The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.

The video shared in the post, however, shows not House Democrats, but state Republican legislators speaking about Omar at a 2019 news conference. Meanwhile, there is ample evidence showing that Omar is still serving her district in Congress.

In the 2019 news conference, Republican state Reresentative Steve Drazkowski said he and others formally asked the IRS to investigate Omar’s tax returns after a separate state campaign finance probe found that she and her husband had filed joint tax returns in 2014 and 2015 before marrying.

It’s unclear whether any IRS investigation ever took place or whether Omar amended her tax returns.

The House of Representatives does have the power to expel members, but it’s rarely used and requires a two-thirds majority vote.

According to the House, five members have been expelled in its history, the most recent on July 24, 2002, when longtime Ohio Democrat James Traficant, who was convicted on 10 felony counts of racketeering, bribery and fraud, was ousted on a 420-1 vote.

According to the US Congress rules:

Article 1, section 5, clause 2 of the US Constitution grants the House broad power to discipline its Members for acts that range from criminal misconduct to violations of internal House Rules. While the constitutional authority to punish a Member, who engages in “disorderly Behavior” is intended, in part, as an instrument of individual rebuke, it serves principally to protect the reputation of the institution and to preserve the dignity of its proceedings.

Over the decades, several forms of discipline have evolved in the House. The most severe type of punishment is expulsion from the House, which is followed by censure, and finally reprimand. Expulsion, as mandated in the Constitution, requires a two-thirds majority vote. Censure and reprimand, which evolved through House precedent and practice, are imposed by a simple majority of the full House.

These are not the only penalties which the House may levy on its Members. Beginning with the creation of a formal ethics process in the late 1960s, the Committee on Ethics (which for many years was called the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct) has had the ability to issue a formal “Letter of Reapproval.” The Ethics Committee may also opt to register its disapproval of a particular action using more informal means. Committee rules, as well as the rules of the individual party caucuses, provide other means of discipline. For instance, Members may also be fined, stripped of committee leadership positions and seniority, or deprived of other privileges depending on the infractions.

The sternest form of punishment that the House has imposed on its Members is expulsion, an action which it has used only five times in more than two centuries.

The Constitution empowers both the House and the Senate to expel a sitting Member who engages in “disorderly Behavior,” requiring a two-thirds vote of those present and voting in the chamber to which the Member belongs. As these are internal matters, neither the House nor the Senate requires the concurrence of the other chamber to expel one of its own Members.

In devising this framework, the Constitutional Convention drew upon British legislative tradition as well as nearly 175 years of precedent in the colonial assemblies in North America. Other than the two-thirds requirement, however, the Framers left it up to the House and Senate to determine their own rules and the type of behavior that might warrant expulsion from their respective chambers.

Despite this broad grant of authority, the Framers set the two-thirds threshold because such an action would necessarily remove someone who had been elected by the popular vote of his or her constituents. And though the House has wide discretion to act in such cases, it has demonstrated keen deference to the peoples’ choice of their Representatives. One measure of that restraint is that the House has never expelled any Member for conduct that took place before his or her House service. Nor has the House removed Members for action in a prior Congress when the electorate insisted on re-electing them to the House despite a record of improper conduct.

Before Traficant, another Democrat, Michael Myers, who was convicted of bribery, was expelled in 1980. The first three expulsions came in 1861, when three Democratic members who fought for the confederacy were ejected.

While House Democrats have expelled members of their own party on a few occasions, there has been no effort to oust Omar. A quick search of her Twitter profile, official government website and campaign website, as well as her appearance at a June 30 town hall in Minneapolis show she’s still on the job.

Ilhan Omar will face former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels in a Democratic primary August 9.

A Facebook video said that House Democrats kicked Omar out of Congress.

House members do have the authority to expel members, but it’s rarely used and requires a two-thirds majority vote. Such an expulsion would generate news coverage, but there is none. Omar held a town hall meeting with constituents last month and is running for re-election in August.



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