We continue posting items of interest from the Minnesota campaign finance board investigation of Ilhan Omar’s 2016 state legislative campaign. The board investigation coincidentally revealed that Omar had filed joint tax returns in 2014 and 2015 with a man to whom she was not married while legally married to another man. It is my goal to get some help in pulling on the threads that will unravel the story we have been pursuing since 2016, where Omar’s campaign finance wrongdoing began as she sought to deal with coverage of her curious case. Omar defrayed the cost of redoing her 2014 and 2015 tax returns with campaign funds.
Carla Kjellberg was a key witness in the campaign finance investigation. I have posted the transcript of her deposition below via Scribd. I have also posted the deposition exhibits here on Sribd. Kjellberg is an attorney and Omar supporter who served on Omar’s crisis committee. Reading the deposition, one can see that Kjellberg had a “you’ve got to be kidding me” moment regarding the tax returns. Her testimony is shrouded in vagueness, but the picture nevertheless comes into focus.
The tax returns, she explains, were definitely related to the campaign’s public relations crisis (pages 21-22). What was it? She testified that the tax returns “would have been something discovered ancillary to the allegation that her current marriage [to Ahmed Hirsi, husband number 1], was not legal, or not — what’s the word I want — not recognized by the state or the federal government, and that she was still married to someone else [i.e., Ahmed Elmi, husband number 2]” (page 23). Further, “That — this was correcting something that could have been detrimental to Ms. Omar.”
Here Kjellberg describes “the threat” with which the crisis committee was dealing (page 30):
The threat is that a right-wing blog [i.e., Power Line] begins a false narrative based on racial assumptions that could affect Ilhan’s election and Ilhan’s standing [Ed.: this is a complete and utter crock]. The legitimate media then runs with that right-wing blog and it gains legitimacy.
That legitimacy fell drastically once [United States Attorney] Andy Luger said that’s false [by letter dated August 22, 2016]. The danger of something being said again in the right-wing blog with anything is still present. I mean, it’s still present today.
So when I previously testified that it was over when Andy Luger made the statement, what I meant was, that sense of the world is falling apart, we need to do something immediately, had lessened greatly.
Andy Luger’s August 22 letter, as it turned out, was the crisis committee’s ace in the hole. Refuting an allegation we never made — that Omar’s immigration status was under investigation — the Omar crisis team put the story of her sham marriage to husband number 2 to rest, thus demonstrating in its own way the value of friends in high places in law enforcement as well as at the Star Tribune. We will turn to Luger’s letter in a subsequent installment of this series.
65_Carla Kjellberg Depo by on Scribd