Donald Trump

Ilhan Omar Married her Brother and the Social Media Posts Proved It But the Government Quickly Wiped the Records. Here’s the Facts.

They both went to North Dakota State University, and they had overlapping addresses. Our public records searches determined that in at least one period after she married Elmi, all three (Omar, Elmi and Hirsi) used the same address in Minnesota. It raises questions about the nature of the relationship if she is living with both the person she’s married to and her eventual husband.

Editors Comments:

Social Media posts can be recovered, we all know that and the sweeping laws regarding prosecutors obtaining subpoenas to search records that have been deleted and obtain them from the providers, e.g. facebook etc.  So why is the DOJ and the government not doing so with Ilhan? Because they do not want to prosecute. It’s another cover up.  In comparison, look at this week, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit just affirmed an appeal against a Marriage Fraud Conspiracy in Texas (USA v. Folarin Alabi).

Isn’t is convenient how the law and government are cherry-picking their cases….

Did Ilhan Omar marry her brother? Her hometown newspaper investigated and told us what they found

For years, critics of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have raised questions about her marriages and made the explosive claim that she had married her brother.

As Omar has become a frequent target of attacks by President Donald Trump, allies of the president have only ramped up their criticism of the congresswoman, who was a refugee and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen of Somali descent.

Trump himself mentioned the allegation that Omar had married her brother on July 17. Talking to reporters before boarding Marine One, Trump said, “There’s a lot of talk about the fact that she was married to her brother. I know nothing about it.”

Several media outlets, including the Associated Press and her hometown paper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, have delved into this question and Omar’s personal history.

In a June 23 article, the Star-Tribune wrote that it “could neither conclusively confirm nor rebut the allegation that he is Omar’s sibling.” That echoed the conclusion by in February 2019, that “the evidence uncovered thus far isn’t definitive enough to come down on one side or the other.” PolitiFact was unable to reach a conclusion during the 2018 election cycle.

The Star-Tribune has published the most detailed, evidence-based reporting. Here are some of the key points from their report:

• In 2002, Omar, then 19, religiously married Ahmed Hirsi, but not legally. Omar and Hirsi had two children, but in 2008, they obtained a religious divorce. The following year, in 2009, Omar married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi both religiously and legally.

Little is known about Elmi, other than that Omar has referred to him as a “British citizen” and that he attended high school in the Minneapolis area and, like Omar, later attended North Dakota State University.

• In 2011, Omar and Elmi divorced religiously, but remained married legally. In 2012, Omar and Hirsi reconciled and had a third child. In 2017, Omar legally divorced Elmi, and the following year, she legally married Hirsi.

• In 2016, as Omar was seeking a state House seat, the conservative website AlphaNewsMN, followed by other ideological sites, posted a screenshot of an Instagram post — since deleted — that was allegedly uploaded by Elmi on June 12, 2012, shortly after Omar gave birth to her third child. The caption of the photograph identified Elmi as holding the baby girl, calling her “nieces.” To some, this suggested a sibling relationship.

• Omar has denied the allegation that Elmi is her brother — she has called the charges “disgusting lies,” the AP reported — but has not provided further documentation to debunk it. She did tell the Star-Tribune in October 2018, before she was elected to Congress, that “it’s really strange, right, to prove a negative. … If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don’t.”

• In June 2019 a different problem emerged for Omar: During an investigation of alleged misuse of campaign funds by Omar, a Minnesota campaign finance board determined that Omar had filed joint tax returns with her future husband, Hirsi, at a time when she was legally married to Elmi.

Omar’s office referred PolitiFact to the response it provided to the Star-Tribune, which says in part: “Ilhan has shared more than most public officials ever do about the details of her personal life — even when it is personally painful. Whether by colluding with right-wing outlets to go after Muslim elected officials or hounding family members, legitimate media outlets have a responsibility not to fan the flames of hate. Continuing to do so is not only demeaning to Ilhan, but to her entire family.”

On July 18, PolitiFact interviewed Kevin Diaz, the Star-Tribune politics editor who oversaw the article co-bylined by reporters J. Patrick Coolican and Stephen Montemayor.

Here is our conversation with Diaz, lightly edited for space and clarity.

Why was this something you felt was important to investigate?

My interest as an editor began with the silence she has maintained about her improper tax filings. That got my attention. She would say only that she had corrected the 2014 and 2015 tax filings and would not divulge anything about why she had filed taxes with a man she was not married to when she was separated but still married to someone else. It was a natural question: Who is Elmi and how does he fit into her life? We were not getting a lot of answers.

We also knew that since 2016, when she was running for the legislature, conservative opinion journalists and activists had been hounding her about these allegations, which had actually first surfaced in a local Somali news forum. We wanted to know, what is the case to be made for this narrative that won’t go away? She’s our congresswoman. It was a very provocative allegation. We felt as journalists, if there was smoke, it’s our job to look behind it to see if there’s fire. What’s behind it? What is the evidence?

So I assigned a couple of reporters to go back over the case. It turned out that most of the evidence behind (the notion that she had married her brother) was in social media. So we looked at the social media trail. It had been wiped clean, and that piqued our interest even more. But because the posts had been wiped, we had to rely on screen grabs that had been posted by people who we know have an ax to grind. So it was tricky.

Were these social media posts the main evidence for the allegation that she had married her brother?

As far as I can tell, it’s really only the social media posts. It seemed clear that there is some kind of personal relationship between Omar and Elmi. But whether they are family or not, we can’t tell. We weren’t able to come close to determining whether that was the truth. And frankly, we were wary of drawing any conclusions.

They both went to North Dakota State University, and they had overlapping addresses. Our public records searches determined that in at least one period after she married Elmi, all three (Omar, Elmi and Hirsi) used the same address in Minnesota. It raises questions about the nature of the relationship if she is living with both the person she’s married to and her eventual husband.

What’s really made it hard is that she’s been unwilling to address any of these questions. That has fueled the controversy. We quoted her at length to say that these were mere accusations, that they were unfair, and that she shouldn’t have to address them. Be that as may, there was an undisputed instance of her filing her taxes improperly. And if you’re in Congress, you should explain that to your constituents.

It’s true that for many immigrants like Omar, there are not a lot of available public records from their home country. That works both for and against her. It can leave family relationships murky. But in fairness to her, these allegations can be hard for her to disprove.

How much time did your staff spend researching the story?

From start to finish, a couple of weeks. They were covering multiple daily stories during that time, too. I have a team of six political reporters and I put two of them on the story. Our paper had been accused of neglecting the story earlier, and I felt like we owed it to our readers.

It wasn’t easy — there just isn’t a lot of evidence to mine in this area. There are some public records searches we could do and a social media trail, but not a lot of hard documentary evidence unless she’s willing to share them.

How much cooperation did you get from Omar?

It came up when she was running for Congress last year. One of our reporters confronted her about it last October. She did not show us the immigration records we asked for, only a photo of them on a cellphone.

We’ve asked her these questions, and also asked her to make her father available. We’ve tried to reach Elmi. We’ve tried to reach her sisters. Her family could put this (the question of Elmi’s relationship to Omar) to rest easily. No one will talk to us. I wish we could send a reporter to Mogadishu (Somalia) but we don’t have the bandwidth.

What kind of reaction have you had since the most recent story came out?

We have been slammed by both sides. On the left, people are saying, “Why are you dignifying these unproven allegations?” To which I reply, “Look at the tax filings — it would be journalistic negligence if we didn’t try to find out what’s behind it.”

On the right, the complaint has been that we did too little, too late: “This has been the story for years — where have you been?”

Since the article came out, no one has come forward with smoking-gun, decisive proof that would make it look like we missed something. You see circumstantial evidence that begs for some kind of explanation from a member of Congress, but there’s no smoking gun that she married her brother.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. C M

    July 14, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Upon taking her oath of office, Ilhan Omar’s focus has been on everything but serving her constituents. She traveled abroad to advocate for her religion. She spent time getting her previous marriages and divorces corrected. She then married for the third (or fourth?) time – to her political advisor – who remains in Ilhan’s employ, which calls into question the serious matters of conflict of interest, nepotism, and source(s) of finances. (She reportedly used campaign donations for this but it may have been accidental.) In fall 2019 they were photographed together outside the downtown Minneapolis Trump MAGA rally in which peaceful attendees exiting the arena were attacked by Antifa-like protestors. Facial coverings that partially concealed facial features of Ilhan and husband Tim, but they were still recognizable by eyes/noses/eyeglasses/facial shapes and juxtaposed heights (she’s petite, he’s tall).

    In the early days Ilhan took time to campaign for Democrat colleagues instead of responding to constituent correspondence from Minnesota. (She responds more quickly now with pre-fabricated form letters.) She cheerfully adopted John Lewis’ “good kind of trouble” as her mantra, but stopped when she received comments from Minnesotans wanting peace, not trouble. She is articulate but does not think for herself, conforming to scripts and stances dictated by her political party. She does not ask for feedback from her constituents even though she has contact information. Her fellow refugees vote for her because she advocates for free everything for them. That doesn’t mean they like her otherwise: during her own campaign in Minneapolis she was physically attacked by one of her Somali opponents.

    Ilhan has taken every opportunity to criticize the USA. No one in my district is aware of any praise given (confusing, because she likes the freebies from taxpayers, and advocates for increases) nor do local and national newspapers mention her positive quotes. We don’t know why she moved to the USA or became a citizen because she gives the impression that she hates this country. She seems to be comfortable with the warring chaos of her home country that she and her fellow Somalis have introduced here. An ever-expanding list of criminal reporting in the Twin Cities, sometimes involving children and young teens who are allowed to roam freely at night without parental supervision and who are difficult to prosecute because of their age, shows Somali involvement. To be clear, Ilhan is not responsible for the crimes but she does nothing to dampen it or encourage law-abiding activities. She joins the outcry of “racism” when fingers are accurately pointed in their direction. We are prevented from developing logical solutions to crime because helpful physical descriptions of suspects are prohibited if they include skin color and ethnicity. Crime is expanding rapidly in violence and frequency.

    What is Ilhan doing to help law-abiding Minnesotans? We hear silence, perhaps because it’s her re-election year and she’s keeping a low profile until November.

    I am only one, but I would support a followup investigation of Ilhan Omar’s behavior, ethics, in-depth details of her personal and financial involvement with her first (brother) and second husbands, and whether their manipulative approaches to immigrate to this country invalidates citizenship and eligibility to hold public office.

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