By Amy Forliti, The Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota Democratic candidate for Congress who is poised to become the first Somali-American elected to the U.S. House has denounced claims that she married her brother and committed immigration fraud as “disgusting lies,” and says allegations of campaign finance violations are politically motivated.
Ilhan Omar, who is running in Minnesota’s liberal 5th District, continues to be dogged by conservatives who have raised questions about her past. As the election approaches, the attacks are intensifying: Last week, Minnesota Republicans in the 5th District began a digital billboard campaign and launched a website that highlights the allegations, many of which were first raised by conservative media outlets in 2016 as Omar was running for her seat in the Minnesota Legislature.
Omar broadly denied the allegations in a statement to The Associated Press, but declined to provide documents or answer specific questions when pressed.
“We choose not to further the narrative of those who oppose us,” Omar’s statement said, adding that she believes the claims are being made by people who want to stop a black, female Muslim from sitting in Congress.
She faces Republican opponent Jennifer Zielinski, a virtually unknown first-time candidate, in a congressional district that includes all of Minneapolis and hasn’t been represented by a Republican since 1962. The seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who is running for Minnesota attorney general.
Here’s what we know about the allegations and Omar’s responses: