On Sunday, Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for an investigation into allegations of abuse against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who is running for attorney general in the state.
Hirono’s comments came as she criticized Brett Kavanaugh over an allegation that he assaulted Christine Blasey Ford in high school. Many conservatives have protested that Ellison has not faced similar scrutiny.
On Friday, Ellison sparked further speculation when he said in a televised debate that he would not rule out the possibility of more women coming forward with what he said would be made-up accusations. “Look, you know, in this political environment, you know, I don’t know what somebody might cook up,” he said. “But I could tell you that there is absolutely nobody that I am aware of … who is threatening or suggesting or who has ever made a prior accusation about me.”
Ellison has been accused by two women of abusive behavior. In 2006, Amy Alexander claimed he “berated” and “pushed” her during an on-and-off relationship in the 1990s and early 2000s. He had sought a restraining order against her in 2005, and the next year a judge dismissed her request for a restraining order against him, according to the Star Tribune. More recently, his former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, accused him in August of repeated verbal abuse and one instance in which he pulled her from a bed by her ankle and shouted at her. She claims to have video evidence of the incident but will not release it, saying it is traumatic. Ellison has denied both allegations.
On Twitter, Monahan has continued to defend her accusations and call for repercussions for Ellison. On Sept. 18, she posted a photo of a medical document she says proves she told a doctor in 2017 that she had been in an abusive relationship with Ellison. The document notes that she reported she had experienced emotional and physical abuse from a partner. “She did not have any physical injuries that required a physical examination in the past,” the notes read. “She identifies the individual she was involved with as congressmen [sic] Ellison, and she is worried about retribution if she identifies him publicly.”
In the tweet, she wrote, “It amazes me the measures people have to take for their humanity to be validated.”
On Sunday, she accused Ellison of lying about their relationship, and she warned him that he was “making it worse” and that she had the video.
Since Monahan’s accusation, Monahan has complained that liberals have refused to listen to her. Ellison is the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee and served six terms in Congress. He easily won the Democratic nomination for the attorney general race in August, just a few days after Monahan made her accusations public. Ellison said Friday that there was an ongoing investigation into the allegations.
The Star Tribune conducted a poll with MPR News last week and found that most people—57 percent—in the state do not know whether to believe her. Just 21 percent said they did believe Monahan.