Keith Ellison Wins Attorney General Nomination Despite Domestic Violence Claims

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks during a news conference in front of the Capitol February 1, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks during a news conference in front of the Capitol February 1, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

Embattled Congressman Keith Ellison overcame claims of domestic abuse to win the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s nomination for Minnesota attorney general, CNN said Tuesday.


Ellison was an early favorite for the position when allegations of violence surfaced. The deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee was accused of physically and emotionally abusing his ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan. The most damaging claims came from Monahan’s son, Austin Monahan, who claimed in a Facebook post that he saw several verbally abusive text messages sent from Ellison to his mother. Austin also alleged that he’d seen video of Ellison dragging his mother from a bed while cursing at her.

“Sitting all this time, watching what our mom went through and not being able to say or do anything was hard as hell,” Austin, 25, wrote in his Facebook post. “None of you know the hell our family has gone through. I don’t think half of you would even care. We watched her so-called political friends stand by and say or do nothing. People had an idea what happened and never reached out to my mom.”

Karen Monahan confirmed her son’s account of events and issued a lengthy statement detailing a history of emotional and physical abuse she claims to have suffered during her relationship with the Minnesota Democrat. Her entire statement can be read here.

Ellison emphatically denied the allegations and claimed that no video existed because he “never behaved in this way.”

“Karen and I were in a longterm relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being,” Ellison said in a statement. “This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”


Monahan spoke to CNN but refused to share the reported video with the news station. Ellison’s victory on Tuesday clears the way for leading “Democratic opposition to Trump on some battles—including Trump’s executive order banning travel from some Muslim-majority nations,” as many attorney generals have done, CNN reports.

“These allegations recently came to light and we are reviewing them,” DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa told CNN. “All allegations of domestic abuse are disturbing and should be taken seriously.”



I want to see a full investigation, including reputable third parties looking at the video and confirming whether or not it meets what she alleges. I absolutely hate the fact that this dropped the night before the election, including claims that there’s video, when they refuse to let anyone see it. That came across as a political hit.

If it’s real, well, this is exactly the opportunity to investigate it. Otherwise, the spurious timing sounds really, really targeted. If what she claims is true, she should have come out with it at the start of the campaign instead of waiting til the last second to pull a “gotcha”