The Minneapolis Star Tribune has finally done a front-page investigative report on a Congressional candidate in Minnesota’s Fifth District. Aha, you say, finally! At last, the Strib has gotten around to reporting that DFLer Keith Ellison was a member of the Nation of Islam for at least nine years, not 18 months as he has claimed; and they are finally telling their readers about Ellison’s public appearances with a former Vice Lords gang chieftain in support of Vice Lords members who murdered Minneapolis policeman Jerry Haaf, and the other instances of Ellison supporting convicted cop-killers.
No. The Strib still isn’t reporting any of that. Instead, it makes a front-page story of the the fact that in 1995, Republican Alan Fine was accused by his then-wife of slapping her. She had Fine arrested and he spent a few hours in the Hennepin County jail. He denied that he had slapped her, she dropped the charges, and the record of the incident was later expunged. Nevertheless, the Strib has dredged up this bit of domestic history in hopes of putting the last nail in Fine’s campaign.
It isn’t clear how the Strib obtained the expunged records. It says:
The Star Tribune learned of the arrest in a routine records check after Fine won the Republican endorsement in May. The newspaper obtained the expunged record detailing the arrest two weeks ago.
Interesting. Does the Strib “routinely” check Hennepin County records from 1995? Or do they routinely do record checks on Republican nominees? The real question, though, is, how did the Strib “obtain” the expunged record that was supposed to remain confidential? One possible source, of course, is Amy Klobuchar, the Hennepin County Attorney who is running for the U.S. Senate. Did Klobuchar or one of her aides leak the expunged record to the newspaper to help her fellow Democrat? If so, was a crime committed? We know that the Klobuchar campaign has already been involved in one dirty trick, which resulted in her communications director being referred to the FBI for possible criminal prosecution. Is this another instance where the Klobuchar campaign may be involved in criminal activity? This whole episode cries out for an investigation. I don’t suppose, though, that the Strib will be calling for one.
The Strib also makes a point of the fact that between 1995 and 2005, there were five 911 calls placed from Fine’s address. It isn’t clear exactly what the point of this is, since, in three of the four instances where records survive, it was Fine who placed the call.
The point the Strib wants the reader to take away from its article is clear, however. This is the last paragraph of the story:
After state Rep. Keith Ellison won the DFL nomination, Fine launched a persistent attack on his character, focusing on his past ties to the Nation of Islam. Fine has repeatedly said “character matters.”
Here’s a funny thing, though. If the Strib thinks it’s front page news that a Congressional candidate has been involved in a 911 call–hey, even if he made the call himself!–then it wouldn’t have to go back to 1995 for a story. No, it could have reported on a 911 call that a young woman made on May 16, 2005, saying that she had been assaulted by Keith Ellison:
CLR RPT’G [Caller reporting] SHE WAS ASL’TD BY ELLISON/KEITH/BM/41/WRG SUIT LS [last seen] LEAVING APT