Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Until last week, Karen Monahan’s progressive credentials had been impeccable. But now the activist is one of two women who have accused one of the top figures on the left of physical and emotional abuse.
Born in Iran before the Islamic Revolution, she was adopted by American parents and not only identified as an Iranian-American, but also worked with the pro-regime National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
Keith Ellison was also a NIAC regular. He had spoken before the Iranian group and had received fundraising support from it. The first Muslim congressman from Minnesota, with a list of Islamist and leftist connections as long as his right arm, was a natural NIAC ally.
Monahan had also been an organizer with the Sierra Club and worked with the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota (EJAM). Ellison was one of the founders of EJAM. Both Ellison and Monahan were leftists moving through the same claustrophobic maze of Minnesota leftist political organizations.
At some point after Ellison’s divorce from his wife, Kim Ellison, they began a relationship that lasted for years until it ended in 2016. Now, Karen Monahan is accusing Ellison of domestic abuse. Her tweets and statement allege that Ellison assaulted her, cheated on her and badly traumatized her.
The accusation threatens to upend Ellison’s bid for Minnesota Attorney General. The DNC deputy chair had already raised $212,745 which puts him far ahead of his Democrat rivals and likely GOP opponent. That doesn’t include a pro-Ellison PAC with $200,000 on hand funded mostly by George Soros’ son.
While some groups on the left have expressed discomfort with Ellison over these accusations, George Soros had already made it clear with the Franken case that he intends to side with Democrats accused of abuse over their female accusers. He has also threatened the female Democrats who call out abuse by men like Franken. The pro-Ellison PAC hasn’t spent its money yet and when it does so, it will have a major impact on the race. Despite the scandal, the Soros family could still buy the race for Ellison.
And there is also no definitive evidence of Keith Ellison’s guilt. But the story is an eerily familiar one.
Like Monahan, Amy Alexander was an EJAM volunteer. Also like her, she first met Ellison at one of his talks and he impressed her with his passion and political commitments. Monahan, Alexander and Ellison all shared a Catholic background, left-wing politics and a complex racial mix. And Ellison appeared to guide their political engagements, moving them through organizations controlled by his allies.
The similarities of the two stories of these two women are all the more remarkable because they occurred many years apart. Both women allege a pattern of psychological abuse by Ellison. Both claim that he had an explosive temper, that he assaulted them and used his political allies to smear them.
"His anger kicked in. He berated me. He grabbed me and pushed me out of the way. I was terrified. I called the police. As he fled he broke my screen door. I have never been so scared," Amy Alexander wrote in 2006.
"That is when he tried to drag me off the bed by my legs and feet, screaming, ‘Bitch you answer when I am talking to you. I said take out the trash, you’re a bad guest’ … He kept trying to drag me off the bed, telling me to get the f___ out of his house, over and over," Karen Monahan describes an alleged encounter in 2016.
Back in 2006, Amy Alexander’s name was quickly dragged through the mud. Keith Ellison accused her of blackmail. The Star Tribune, a reliable Ellison house organ, claimed that she was the one with the temper. Judge Robert Lynn barred Alexander from obtaining a restraining order against Ellison and forbade her from mentioning the alleged affair or his threats.
The story of Ellison’s alleged abuse of Monahan also wasn’t a secret, but had been kept quiet by a friendly media.
“The story had been circulating in MN, and not held up under media scrutiny, so no stories ran,” the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel tweeted. Media scrutiny never holds up accusations against the left.
"I heard through the grapevine that Ellison’s people had preemptively distributed information to the press suggesting that I was insane," Alexander wrote.
"We watched her so called political friends stand by say or do nothing. People had an idea what happened and never reached out to my mom. The same people who are posting about social justice are ready to smear my mom, protect a person who abused her and broke the law," Austin Monahan, Karen's son, wrote.
While Ellison was married at the time of his alleged relationship with Alexander, he has since obtained a divorce. He denied that he had an affair with Alexander, but his relationship with Monahan had been widely documented on social media.
There’s even a photo of the couple in happier times posing with the Obamas at the White House.
Monahan alleges that the DNC bigwig had multiple affairs while they were in a long-term relationship. “I looked at his text and saw a mountain of lies after lies. Not just to me, but to each of the females. He would send us all the same text in a row. He would lie to one of the women about why he couldn’t see her or go to a movie, etc. but invited me over to go to a movie,” she wrote in her statement.
There is no way to know exactly where the truth lies in a private relationship. But there are certain patterns that have emerged from both stories. These patterns imply that Ellison used organizations that he controlled or those controlled by his allies to meet female activists and reward them with roles.
And that he allegedly abused, cursed and threatened those women.
That appears to be especially true of EJAM which was the nexus for both women.
“Bitch, you don’t have the EJAM job, I can’t control you anymore,” Amy Alexander alleges Ellison told her.
Just as Alexander wasn’t the last of Ellison’s accusers, only the first, it’s possible that Monahan may not be the last woman to come forward either. The #MeToo movement has changed the dynamic between the accuser and the accused. The initial Franken allegations allowed many other victims to come forward. And if Alexander and Monahan’s stories are true, there will be other women.
But that doesn’t mean that they will be believed.
Senator Franken, who was forced to resign in disgrace, has been talking about a comeback. He has the support of top Dem donors, including George Soros. And the lefty billionaire triumphed in his own court battle with a former paramour in much the same way that Ellison had defeated Alexander. In South Carolina, Archie Parnell is running for office despite having beaten his wife. Bill Clinton just put in an appearance at the University of South Carolina. Bernie Sanders has escaped criticism for the culture of sexual harassment within his campaign. Linda Sarsour was able to retain her feminist credentials despite accusations that she had favored an alleged abuser over a sexual harassment victim.
In lefty circles, #MeToo is more of a hashtag than a reality.
Keith Ellison had been able to weather a variety of charges in the past that included anti-Semitism, membership in a hate group, campaign finance violations and, domestic abuse. Media support and powerful donors have seen him through his past challenges. And they’re likely to pull him through now.
#MeToo stories of abuse are no match for Keith Ellison’s identity politics and political allies on the left.