It was nearly two weeks ago that we learned Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar filed joint tax returns in 2014 and 2015 with a man to whom she was not married — while she was married to another man. We have learned this thanks to the investigation conducted by the Minnesota campaign finance board of Omar’s 2016 campaign for the state legislature.
The board has made its investigative file in the case available to the media on a compact disc. It presents a case study in the management of a public relations crisis in a friendly media environment. It takes us inside the crisis and its resolution. Thereby hangs a tale, as the Shakespearean saying goes. It is apparently nevertheless a tale that no one in the media wants to look at.
Hey, it’s lonely out here.
What accounts for the silence of the Minnesota media? It’s not because Ilhan Omar is an insignificant figure. It’s not because “The curious case of Ilhan Omar” has gotten less curious. On the contrary, it grows curiouser and curiouser.
We created Omar’s public relations crisis in my original August 12, 2016 post “Ilhan Omar: Her back pages.” We raised an issue regarding Omar’s concurrent marriages. We raised an issue regarding the identity of the second of her two husbands. We asked whether he was her brother and whether she had married him to assist him with his immigration status. Please note that we have never questioned Omar’s immigration status.
Husband number 2 is named Ahmed Nur Said Elmi. I don’t know who he is or why she married him, but her marriage to him in fact appears to have been a sham and he may in fact be Omar’s brother. See David Steinberg’s series of 2018 investigative pieces on Omar at PJ Media. They are all accessible here.
This series is as much about the Minnesota media as it is about Omar. Reviewing the testimony of Carla Kjellberg in the campaign finance investigation — see part 6 — we observe that the 2016 Omar campaign put its public relations crisis to bed with a letter secured from then United States Attorney Andrew Luger. The Star Tribune’s Patrick Coolican reported on Luger’s letter in the August 22 story “U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger: Not investigating legislative candidate Ilhan Omar Luger denied a Fox 9 report of immigration investigation.”
Luger’s letter appears under docket number 158 in the campaign finance board file in the Omar campaign investigation. I have embedded it below via Scribd. It raises a couple questions of its own. How can I get a letter like this? And why did it put an end to Omar’s 2016 public relations crisis?
Perhaps we can take up these questions in a graduate course in political crisis management based on a study of the board file. Such a course would also have to take up the current silence of the news side of the Star Tribune on the obvious follow-up questions with which the paper would relentlessly dog any similarly situated Minnesota Republican, let alone a political superstar like Omar.