MN Action Network Releases Ad Highlighting Keith Ellison’s Controversial Career

St. Paul – Today, the MN Action Network – IE PAC released an ad that discusses Minnesota Attorney General Candidate Keith Ellison’s growing list of controversies and how he has been handling them on the campaign trail.

From the latest domestic violence allegations to supporting a country without borders, Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, Keith Ellison’s record is one of not only being stuck in controversies, but actively creating controversies that he then tries to disown when they become liabilities to his political ambitions.

“Keith Ellison is dogged by controversy because he creates it. Whether it has been his long standing defense of cop killers and domestic terrorists, his ties to the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, or his advocacy for radical positions like ‘no borders’ or suggesting the eliminated the Second Amendment, Ellison’s career is riddled in controversy that he has created and and the people of Minnesota deserve to know the truth about him before they vote on November 6th,” said Gina Countryman, Executive Director of the MN Action Network IE-PAC.

View the full ad here: https://youtu.be/RBdF10kFB5M

A Primer On Keith Ellison’s “Controversies”

Appearing To Advocate For “No Borders”. “In one, Ellison is wearing a T-shirt in the Minneapolis Mayday Parade with the message ‘Yo No Creo En Fronteras’ [I do not believe in borders], from the L.A.-based band Las Cafeteras. The following week, Trump called out Ellison’s T-shirt at a rally. ‘I went to a concert and got a T-shirt, so what? … This stuff is not what people are worried about,” Ellison said.” (Jessie Van Berkel, “Keith Ellison Faces And Navigates Controversy, Again,” Star Tribune, September 9, 2016)

Promoting The “Antifa” Handbook. “In another instance, Ellison tweeted a photo of himself holding ‘Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.’ The post drew criticism, as Antifa members have physically attacked right-wing protesters. Ellison said he wasn’t familiar with Antifa when he took the photo.” (Jessie Van Berkel, “Keith Ellison Faces And Navigates Controversy, Again,” Star Tribune, September 9, 2016)

Keith Ellison’s Former Girlfriend Alleges He Was Abusive. “(Karen) Monahan alleges that in 2016, Ellison grabbed her ankle and pulled her off a bed in his Minneapolis home while screaming profanities at her.” (Dave Orrick, The Keith Ellison He Said- She Said,” Pioneer Press, August 17, 2018)

A History Of Siding With Cop Killers And Criminals

Ellison Was A Supporter Of Gang Leader Sharif Willis

Ellison still didn’t shy away from controversy. He partnered with a former Vice Lords gang leader named Sharif Willis to tackle police brutality—an effort that fell apart when Willis held 12 people up at gunpoint at a gas station. (Ellison has called the alliance “naive.”)” (Tim Murphy, “Keith Ellison Is Everything Republicans Thought Obama Was. Maybe He’s Just What Democrats Need,” Mother Jones, March/April 2017 Issue)

  • Willis Was A Top Gang Leader And Suspected Of Involvement In Brutal Assassination Of Minneapolis Police Officer Jerry Haaf. “At first, the Minneapolis police department seemed to give Willis the benefit of the doubt. At one point police even turned to him and United for Peace for help when rioting threatened. But that ended abruptly with the 1992 killing of police Officer Jerry Haaf by Vice Lords. Willis was never charged, but police strongly suspect him of knowing of the gang’s plans and doing nothing to stop them. Now Willis claims he is being framed by hostile police and that he just happened to be at the gas station when a dispute over a drug deal broke out between rival Vice Lords.” (Rogers Worthington, “In Shadow Of Trial, Faith In Gang Leader Shattered,” Chicago Tribune, February 21, 1995)
  • Willis Was Later Sentenced To 27 Years In Prison For Drug And Gun Charges.“But a federal jury concluded in February that Willis was guilty, and when he finished his speech Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle sentenced him to almost 27 years in federal prison. Willis was arrested last October and accused of terrorizing a dozen people at a North Minneapolis gas station in a dispute over missing car parts. The jury convicted him of being a felon in possession of a gun and using firearms in connection with a drug trafficking offense. He also was convicted of knowingly possessing 33 grams of crack cocaine.” (Molly Guthrey, Don’t Abandon Me Now,” Pioneer Press, June 16, 1995)
  • Willis Was Defended In Earlier Part Of Proceedings By Keith Ellison, Who Viewed Case As Vendetta. “Willis’ attorney, Keith Ellison, called the dismissal a tactical move to limit the amount of government evidence available to the defence in the federal case and to avoid difficulties in trying the case in two courts. … ‘The defendant (Willis) is looking at a lot less right to discovery (of evidence in the federal case,)’ Ellison said. ‘That undermines a fair trial… but is consistent with the “Get Mr. Willis” attitude they have.’ Ellison and others contend that police launched a vendetta against Willis because of his alleged connection to the killing of Minneapolis police officer Jerome Haaf two years ago.” (Mike Sweeney, “County Drops Charges, Clearing Way For Federal Trial Of Willis,” Pioneer Press, November 17, 1994)

Ellison Organized A Rally In Support Of Willis’s Organization “United For Peace” After Backlash Against Group After Haaf Murder. “Keith Ellison, a Minneapolis attorney who helped organize the demonstration, said the rally was planned before a pro-police rally that took place Friday. “In fact, the policy rally was planned in response to this rally,’ Ellison said. ‘The main point of our rally was to support United for Piece (in its fight against) the campaign of slander the police federation has been waging.’ … Ellison told the crowd the police union is systematically frightening whites in order to get more police officers hired. That way, Ellison said, the union can increase its power base.” (Matthew Davis, “Black Civic Groups Rally Respond To ‘Campaign of Slander’ By Police,” Pioneer Press, October 11, 1992)

  • Rally Remarks From Willis Called “We seem to have an overabundance of bad police… we’re going to get rid of them. They’ve got to go.” (Matthew Davis, “Black Civic Groups Rally Respond To ‘Campaign of Slander’ By Police,” Pioneer Press, October 11, 1992)

Ellison Organized A Protest Of Court Proceedings In Prosecution Of Man Later Convicted In Jerry Haaf Murder Case, Leading Chant Of “We Don’t Get No Justice, You Don’t Get No Peace.” “Shortly before Ford appeared before Judge Deborah Hedlund, about 75 people gathered at the downtown Hennepin County Government Center’s indoor plaza before Ford’s hearing to protest the proceedings. … Keith Ellison, a Minneapolis attorney who is following the Haaf case, led the crowd in a chant of ‘We don’t get no justice, you don’t get no peace.’” (Julio Ojeda-Zapata and Tim Nelson, “Haaf Suspect Is Allowed To Defend Himself,” Pioneer Press, February 2, 1993)

Ellison Supported Convicted Domestic Terrorist Sara Jane Olson

Ellison “Interviewed Sara Jane Olson, Later Convicted Of Trying To Bomb A Los Angeles Police Car,” On His Show And “Counted Himself Among Olson’s Supporters, Believing She Was Being Persecuted For Her Radical Views.” “Until recently, Ellison hosted a KMOJ radio talk show, ‘Black Power Perspectives.’ At one point he interviewed Sara Jane Olson, later convicted of trying to bomb a Los Angeles police car. Ellison then counted himself among Olson’s supporters, believing she was being persecuted for her radical views.” (Kevin Featherly, “North Side Versus Downtown,” The Journal, 4/20/07)

Ellison Hosted A Radio Talk Show Titled “Black Power Perspectives.” Where He Interviewed And Said Convicted Domestic Terrorist Sara Jane Olson Was “Persecuted.”  “Until recently, Ellison hosted a KMOJ radio talk show, ‘Black Power Perspectives.’ At one point he interviewed Sara Jane Olson, later convicted of trying to bomb a Los Angeles police car. Ellison then counted himself among Olson’s supporters, believing she was being persecuted for her radical views.” (Kevin Featherly, “North Side Versus Downtown,” The Journal, 4/20/07)

After Olson Pleaded Guilty, Ellison Said “He Doesn’t Regret Supporting Her” Noting, “‘I Don’t Regret Standing Up For The Right Of People To Defend Their Political Beliefs.’” “Now that she has pleaded guilty, Ellison says he doesn’t know what to make of the Olson case, but he doesn’t regret supporting her. ‘I don’t regret standing up for the right of people to defend their political beliefs,’ he said.” (Kevin Featherly, “North Side Versus Downtown,” The Journal, 4/20/07)

Ellison Supported Convicted Cop Killer Assata Shakur

According To Excerpts Of A Transcript At A Fundraiser In 2000, Ellison Praised Assata Shakur, “… A Former Member Of The Black Liberation Army, A ‘Revolutionary Activist Organization,’ Who Killed A New Jersey State Trooper ‘Execution-Style At Point-Blank Range’ …” “But Ellison’s call to the crowd was broader than a plea to aid Soliah. ‘We need to come together and free … all the Saras,’ he proclaimed. Like who? Like Assata Shakur, Ellison told his audience. Shakur is a former member of the Black Liberation Army, a ‘revolutionary activist organization,’ who killed a New Jersey state trooper ‘execution-style at point-blank range,’ according to the FBI’s Wanted Fugitives website. Shakur escaped from prison in 1979, and eventually fled to Cuba. She ‘should be considered armed and extremely dangerous,’ says the FBI, which is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to her apprehension. Ellison, however, lauded Shakur. ‘I am praying that Castro does not get to the point where he has to really barter with these guys over here because they’re going to get Assata Shakur, they’re going to get a whole lot of other people,’ he told the crowd. ‘I hope the Cuba[n] people can stick to it, because the freedom of some good decent people depends on it.’”(Katherine Kersten, “Ellison’s Positions On Crime Have Been Dismayingly Clear,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 10/19/06)

When Asked About Assassination Of Dallas Police Officers, Ellison Called For More Police Accountability.

VIDEO: During A July 11, 2016 Interview, When Asked About The Killing Of Police Officers In Dallas, Ellison Commented That “Whenever We Do Not Make Sure That There’s Police Accountability Broadly, Sick Demented Broken People, Well, There, The Chance That They Come Out Of The Woodwork Goes Up.” DEMOCRACY NOW!’s AMY GOODMAN: “Your reaction to the horror that took place in Dallas, the police brutality protests that took place earlier in the evening on Thursday very peaceful and then a sniper opening fire and the killing of the police officers in Dallas?” REP. KEITH ELLISON: “Well the officers were there to try to protect and provide safety for the demonstrators. Their killing is a horrible, horrible, atrocious situation, which we all have to condemn. But I, but let me say this. Whenever we do not make sure that there’s police accountability broadly, sick demented broken people, well, there, the chance that they come out of the woodwork goes up. I think that you can’t ever predict when someone is going to do something like this guy Micah I can’t think of his last name.” (Democracy Now!, 7/11/16)

In 2014, Ellison Said He Wished The Democratic Party Would “Come Out Against The Second Amendment” Then Denied He Ever Said Any Such Thing Just 3 Years Later When It Became A Liability

VIDEO:  During A March 2014 Interview, Ellison Said He Wished The Democratic Party Would “Come Out Against The Second Amendment.” BILL MAHER: “Then why doesn’t your party come out against the Second Amendment? It’s the problem.” ELLISON: “I sure wish they would. I sure wish they would.” MAHER: “Really? Because I never hear anybody in the Democratic party say that. But they say, ‘I am also a strong supporter.’” ELLISON: “You have got to check out the Progressive Caucus. We have come out very strong for common-sense gun safety rules.” (“Real Time With Bill Maher,” 3/22/14) Minute 4:09-4:29

In February 2017, Ellison Denied Making His 2014 Remarks 

VIDEO: In A February 2017 DNC Chair Debate, Ellison Denied That He Said That He Wished The Democratic Party Would Come Out Against The Second Amendment In A 2014 Interview With Bill Maher. CNN’s DANA BASH: “Congressman, gun control. In 2014 you told Bill Maher you wished the Democratic Party would come out against the Second Amendment. How do you reach out to Americans who support gun rights when you don’t support the Second Amendment?” ELLISON: “First of all, let me tell you, I remember that show very well and not what I said at all. What I talked about is grandfather’s shotgun and fact I’m a turkey hunter, and I didn’t say that. That was not an accurate statement.” (CNN’s Democratic Leadership Debate, 2/22/17) Minute 0:08 – 0:37

Ellison’s Ties To Louis Farrakhan And The Nation Of Islam Have Been A Continued Source Of Controversy And Changing Timelines 

Questions About Ellison’s Ties To The Nation Of Islam And Louis Farrakhan Were Raised In His 2006 Congressional Campaign Following His Early Endorsement By The DFL Party. “It seems that state Rep. Keith Ellison’s campaign for Congress so far amounts to answering one question: How close was he to the Nation of Islam and controversial leader Louis Farrakhan? Since being endorsed for the Fifth Congressional District seat by the DFL in early May, Ellison has been under attack in the blogosphere and, more quietly, among rival Democrats raising questions about his views and the strength of his ties to the Nation of Islam. Interviews with Ellison and others provide a picture of the part of his past that has come under scrutiny. Since he was a law student in 1988, Ellison has espoused a string of strong opinions in writing and by his associations.” (Rochelle Olson and Mark Brunswick, “Ellison’s Past Views, Ties Drawing Scrutiny,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6/28/06)

  • “Ellison Said He’d Never Joined The Group, Although He Had Helped Organize A Minnesota Delegation To The 1995 Million Man March, Where Farrakhan Spoke.” (John Bresnahan and Daniel Strauss, “The Man Hoping To Counter President Trump,” Politico, 11/13/16)

Several Years After The Million Man March, In 1997 and 1998, Ellison Was Known And Described In Community As A Member Of Nation Of Islam. “In 1997, nearly two years later, he endorsed a statement again defending Farrakhan. When Ellison ran (unsuccessfully) for state representative in 1998, Insight News described him as affiliated with the Nation of Islam. Two organizers who worked with him at the time told me they believed Ellison had been a member of the Nation. At community meetings, he was even known to show up in a bow tie, accompanied by dark-suited members of the Fruit of Islam, the Nation’s security wing.” (Tim Murphy, “Keith Ellison Is Everything Republicans Thought Obama Was. Maybe He’s Just What Democrats Need,” Mother Jones, March/April 2017 Issue)

Ellison’s Former Allies View His Dismissal Of Farrakhan As Political. “Critics in the Twin Cities view the relationship in cold political terms—Farrakhan was a useful affiliation for Ellison up until he wasn’t. “Keith was able to climb up some steps by talking about his respect and love for the honorable minister,” says Ron Edwards, a Minneapolis media fixture and a former director of the radio station where Ellison co-hosted his show. “People don’t forget that.” Spike Moss, an organizer who worked with Ellison on the Million Man March, called his reversal “the ultimate betrayal.’” (Tim Murphy, “Keith Ellison Is Everything Republicans Thought Obama Was. Maybe He’s Just What Democrats Need,” Mother Jones, March/April 2017 Issue)

In 2016, Ellison Met Privately With Farrakhan At A Hotel Suite In Washington, DC.“2016: Ellison met privately with Farrakhan. Shortly after Ellison wrote his Washington Post article, Farrakhan posted an interview on his Facebook page in which he said the ‘deceitful’ op-ed was the result of ‘Jewish control of politics, economics, Hollywood, music, media.’ He also said that Ellison and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), the only other Muslim member of Congress, had recently met with him and had a private chat. ‘Both of them, when I was in Washington, visited my suite and we sat down talking like you and I are talking,’ Farrakhan told his interviewer, Munir Muhammad. ‘But evidently, the enemy has made me the litmus test for all black people who want to rise in their world.’” (Glenn Kessler, “DNC Vice Chair Keith Ellison And Louis Farrakhan: ‘No Relationship’?” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, 3/9/18)

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