United States Representative Keith Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota, is pushing back against domestic violence claims as he heads into a primary election on Tuesday. Ellison is running for state attorney general and was accused by the son of his former girlfriend of abusing her physically and verbally.
The allegations surfaced over the weekend in a lengthy post on Facebook written by Karen Monahan’s son, Austin Monahan. Karen has said she didn’t intend to go public with the allegations against Ellison, the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but stands by the accusations leveled by Austin.
In the post, Austin, who is 25, wrote, “In the middle of 2017, I was using my moms computer trying to download something and I clicked on a file, I found over 100 text and twitters messages and video almost 2 min long that showed Keith Ellison dragging my mama off the bed by her feet, screaming and calling her a ‘fucking bitch’ and telling her to get the fuck out of his house.”
Ellison is running for attorney general of Minnesota and is on the ballot in a primary election taking place Tuesday. He denied the allegations in a statement and disputed the existence of a video, saying, “Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being. This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”
But Karen, even though it wasn’t her plan to publicly accuse Ellison, insists the video exists and the allegations of verbal abuse are true. “I didn’t want to mention the video or the texts,” Karen told ThinkProgress. “I’m not here to prove to anyone. I’m just here to share my story.”
She said that after her son discovered the video, he sent a text message directly to Ellison before speaking with her about it, and told him, “I know what you did to my mom. You’re not the man I thought you were.” Ellison then texted Karen asking about her son’s message to him.
CNN reports that its journalists had been investigating claims of domestic abuse when Austin went forward with the Facebook post. According CNN, Karen, an organizer with the environmental group the Sierra Club, said that the video is currently stored on a flash drive and is packed away in storage with a number of other belongings following a move. She’s been tweeting about the alleged abuse for more than a year, and sometimes in replies to Ellison’s tweets from his official account, though the accusations she’s made have been implicit. She has described the alleged treatment by Ellison as “narcissist abuse” and said that since her son came forward with the accusations, she’s been peppered with attacks on social media.
This is not the first time Ellison has had such accusations leveled against him. In 2006, Amy L. Alexander, another former girlfriend wrote an op-ed in which she described Ellison as “a little dictator” who “could explode in a tirade at any moment.” She says he once got physical with her and then later launched a “smear campaign” against her. She said she feared for her life and that of her daughter’s. Ellison had been married at the time of their relationship.
This story about Keith Ellison was published in 2006, for what it's worth. Especially in the context of these latest allegations I'm extremely disturbed. pic.twitter.com/3KLcnIXhYm
— Annie Shields (@anastasiakeeley) August 12, 2018
As for Karen Monahan, she said there is no political motivation behind her sticking by her son’s story. “People can vote for whoever they feel is the best candidate based on their values. This has nothing to do with that,” she told CNN. “Me sharing my story has nothing to do with the primary election. It is never a good time for a survivor to share their story. If I waited a week later, it would become an issue between a Democrat and Republican.”
On Facebook, her son Austin also added, “There is a lot more he has done to my mom. My brother and I were so angry and hurt for our mom. We were ready to go public but our mom begged us not to and she along with others convinced us it wasn’t in our moms best interest.”
For more on the story, watch the video below.