DNC Deputy Chair Rep. Keith Ellison Denies Abuse Allegations by Ex-girlfriend

Cathy He
By Cathy He
August 13, 2018US News
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DNC Deputy Chair Rep. Keith Ellison Denies Abuse Allegations by Ex-girlfriend
In this Dec. 2, 2016, file photo, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., listens during a forum on the future of the Democratic Party, in Denver. On Aug. 12, 2018, Ellison denied an allegation from an ex-girlfriend that he had once dragged her off a bed while screaming obscenities at her. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison has been accused by his ex-girlfriend of emotional and physical abuse. The allegation came just days before a primary in which the congressman is among several Democrats running for state attorney general.

Ellison, who is also deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, denied the accusations on Aug. 12.

The allegation first surfaced on Aug. 11 from Karen Monahan after her 25-year-old son, Austin, alleged in a Facebook post that he had seen hundreds of text messages from Ellison, including some threatening his mother. He also wrote he had viewed a video in which Ellison dragged Monahan off the bed by her feet while shouting obscenities at her.

“My brother and I watched our mom come out of pure hell after getting out of her relationship with Keith Ellison,” Austin Monahan posted.

On Aug. 12, Karen Monahan, a Minneapolis political organizer, said via Twitter that what her son posted was “true.”

“Every statement he made was true. @keithellison, you know you did that to me,” she wrote.

Monahan did not respond to a request by The Associated Press for copies of the text messages and video.

Ellison denied the allegation of physical abuse. A spokesman for his campaign also denied the congressman had sent threatening text messages.

“Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being,” Ellison said in a statement on Aug. 12. “This video does not exist because I have never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”

Later that day, Monahan released a full statement recounting her two-and-a-half-year relationship with Ellison, in which she stated that she was subjected to “narcissist abuse” by him.

“After a several years of being in a relationship with Keith Ellison, It became clear, I had survived narcissist abuse,” the statement read.

Monahan said Ellison cheated on her with other women and would “make me think I was crazy for suspecting things I had heard or had seen.”

“The gaslighting, manipulation, name calling and cheating started in 2014.”

In 2016, Ellison dragged Monahan off a bed by her feet after he asked her to take out the trash, the statement continued.

Monahan said she suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the abuse.

“The complex PTSD started around 2014, I knew something wasn’t right but couldn’t put my finger on it. Every part of me began to change, including my health. I couldn’t remember things as well, my mind was slow at times and then it would race. By time I left the relationship in the middle of January 2017, my hair was falling out, I had severe pain in my neck, back and legs. My social life was suffering due to isolation, my work was slipping and it was all becoming noticeable. I became someone I didn’t recognize, on the  inside or out.”

She also said suffered other health problems by the time she left the relationship.

“I was told [by a doctor] I was anaemic, my red blood cells were very low. My magnesium was low, central nervous system was out of balance and much more.”

Monahan said Ellison refused her calls to seek help after the relationship ended.

“I have offered him restorative justice and for him to seek some sort of help for over a year and half. He would not take me up on it.”

Ellison, now divorced, is a six-term congressman and a leader within the Democratic Party. He became deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee last year after falling just short of the top job. He announced this summer he would leave Congress after six terms representing the Minneapolis area and run for the state’s open attorney general’s office.

Ellison was considered the heavy favorite heading into the primary on Aug. 14.

The congressman’s Democratic opponents jumped on the allegations. State Rep. Debra Hilstrom circulated the initial Facebook post Saturday night, calling the allegations “troubling.” Tom Foley, a former county attorney, called on any video or messages to be turned over to law enforcement for an “immediate investigation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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