This article was originally published at www.powerlineblog.com
Ilhan Omar has refused to answer substantive questions regarding her marriage to husband number 2, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi. I think is fair to infer that Elmi is her brother and that she entered the marriage for some dishonest purpose. If so, the dishonest purpose would likely have something to do with student aid while she and Elmi went to college in Fargo at North Dakota State University. If Omar is not Elmi’s sibling, the marriage nevertheless appears to involve some serious dishonesty she has concealed.
I originally raised the question regarding Omar’s marriage to Elmi in 2016. Through a criminal defense attorney, Omar responded by email and called me out: “There are people who do not want an East African, Muslim woman elected to office and who will follow Donald Trump’s playbook to prevent it. Ilhan Omar’s campaign sees your superfluous contentions as one more in a series of attempts to discredit her candidacy.” I took that to be a nondenial denial. Perhaps mistakenly, I drew adverse inferences.
I followed up with additional questions for Omar through the criminal defense attorney as the attorney had instructed me to do. Omar did not respond. Perhaps mistakenly, I drew adverse inferences.
By the time the Star Tribune got around to asking Omar about it, she treated the question as a public relations crisis. A Democratic operative was flown in to assist Omar. He spoke on her behalf and issued an unilluminating statement or two in Omar’s name. He continued the personal disparagement that the criminal defense attorney had conveyed to me.
When Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican called me for a comment, I asked him who they said Elmi was. “They won’t tell me,” he said. Coolican’s August 16, 2016 story is accessible here. Coolican’s August 17 story quotes the formal written statement issued in Omar’s name.
Omar campaign spokesman (now state representative) Michael Howard declared that the formal written statement would be Omar’s last word on the matter. Beyond the statement Omar would brook no more questions. The subject was closed. Perhaps mistakenly, I drew adverse inferences.
Preya Samsundar picked up the story for the small online Alpha News outlet. Preya was able to follow up on the story in the traditional fashion and through social media. She got a copy of Omar’s 2009 marriage certificate and tracked Elmi down in London. When I met with Preya in 2016, she told me: “I think social media prove without a doubt that there is a familial relationship [between Omar and Elmi] that is not that of a husband and wife.”
As I recall, Preya also told me (I’m stretching my memory here) that the marriage certificate had not been signed by a Muslim cleric, but rather by some non-denominational Christian cleric. She had talked to him or her. [This is imprecise. See update below.] Omar continued to decline any responses to Preya’s inquiries as well. Perhaps mistakenly, I drew adverse inferences.
In November 2016, after her election to the Minnesota House of Representatives, Omar did have this to say to a friendly reporter at the local weekly City Pages: ““I look at the soap opera, the shit show of what people might consider to be in their discovery of things, there isn’t anything to what’s being insinuated or anything there to bite me in the ass, What I’m surprised about are… the particular things that are appropriate to insinuate without any legitimacy or facts. I think if certain factors weren’t in play, this wouldn’t be considered acceptable.” Omar’s implication regarding “certain factors” was more of the same.
Omar was still married to Elmi at the time. Referring to Elmi’s residence in London, Omar also told the City Pages reporter: “There are particular challenges to getting a legal divorce. One of those is getting the cooperation and presence of the other person who you are divorcing.” This is simply false. No cooperation is required. Without any cooperation from Elmi, Omar easily dissolved the marriage in December 2017 as she was preparing to move on to bigger things. Perhaps mistakenly, I drew adverse inferences.
Last year PJ Media New York editor David Steinberg picked up the thread in a series of four investigative columns that ran from August 8 to November 5. They are all accessible here. Omar has never responded to Steinberg’s several requests for comment prior to publication. David has a fifth column in the works. He has also concluded that Elmi is probably Omar’s brother.
Yesterday Glenn Beck interviewed Steinberg about his findings (video below). The interview provides a glimpse through the window Steinberg has opened on what I have been calling “The curious case of Ilhan Omar.”
UPDATE: Speaking with Preya Samsundar this morning, I was told that the name on the Elmi-Omar marriage certificate is Walecia Harris. In 2016 Preya found Harris’s name associated with an Eden Prairie church. Shortly thereafter she found a Hennepin County employee with the Walecia Harris nameplate on her desk at the Hennepin County Ridgedale office. Asked about the Elmi-Omar wedding, Harris said she knew nothing.
I want to emphasize this. Omar and Elmi may not be brother and sister, but Omar has never acted in any manner other than one consistent with the implication that she has something to hide. I don’t know for a fact what it is. I do infer, however, that she is hiding something.