Rep. Ilhan Omar Voted Against Bill to Let Insurance Companies Deny Payouts to Terrorists’ Relatives

Melanie Arter | March 20, 2019 | 8:20pm EDT
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Rep. Ilhan Omar (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

While serving in the Minnesota Legislature in 2017, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was one of two state legislators who voted against a bill that would allow insurance companies to block payouts to the relatives of terrorists.

The bill, H.F. 1397, placed limitations on “payments to beneficiaries of persons furthering terrorism.”

The bill was introduced in response to the 2015 San Bernardino shooting massacre, in which 14 people were shot and killed. The perpetrators – Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik – took out two life insurance policies totaling $275,000. The federal government intervened and sued to seize the money and use it for the survivors and the victims’ families, according to the Daily Caller Foundation’s



Rep. John Lesch, the other legislator who voted against the bill, said at the time that he did it because he didn’t want insurance companies to decide what is considered terrorism.

“[The bill] allows an insurance company, not a court, to decide what constitutes an act of terrorism under the cited statute, and it lowers the burden on that call to preponderance of the evidence,” Lesch told Alpha News, a Minnesota-based news outlet.

“Terrorists should not be able to send life insurance benefits to beneficiaries based on bad faith recent policy purchases. I think we can all agree on that,” he said.

Omar didn’t offer an explanation at the time.

Omar’s office did not respond to’s request for comment.


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