MN Candidate Faces Scandal in Wake of Primary Victory

Ilhan Omar's past warrants a closer look at her marriage records.
Ilhan Omar's past warrants a closer look at her marriage records.

Ilhan Omar emerged victorious from her primary as a media darling, but a look into her past reveals possible marriage and immigration fraud

Minneapolis, MN- Ilhan Omar became the biggest story of Tuesday’s Minnesota Primary election. Omar defeated 21 term incumbent Phyllis Kahn for the DFL nomination for state representative in House District 60B.  It is historic because Kahn is the longest serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, having held her seat since 1974.  Omar will make history, if elected in November, as the first Somali-American elected to the Minnesota House.

On Friday, Powerlineblog ran a story that could severely damage Omar’s chances of making history. A reader tipped Powerlineblog to a post from a Somali community forum website post that suggests Omar may be directly involved in marriage and immigration fraud. A Somali Spot user posted information last week alleging Omar married her brother in order for him to immigrate to the US, despite the fact she’s been married to the father of her three children for over a decade.

Powerline cached the original post from Somali Spot that is now removed.  It shows screen shots of marriage records from the Hennepin County website showing that Omar was married to Ahmed Hirsi in 2002.  Hirsi is the father of Omar’s three children and is pictured with Hirsi and their children on Omar’s campaign website.

There is another screenshot of a 2009 marriage record showing that Omar married a man named Ahmed Nur Said Elmi in 2009. Powerline alleges that Omar married her brother, according to the blog post on The Somali Spot. The Somali Spot user “Abdi Johnson” says Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is Ilhan’s brother and implies that the marriage to Elmi assisted his entry into the United States.  Omar’s brother was a British citizen.  The post said, “As soon as Ilhan Omar married him, he started university at her Alma mater North Dakota State University where he graduated in 2012.”  It then explains that Omar’s brother moved to Minneapolis where he lived in public housing and later was evicted.  Eventually, according to the post, Elmi moved back to the United Kingdom where he currently lives.

Scott Johnson, the author of the Powerline story states in his article that Omar’s marriage to her brother, if it had occurred, is illegal under Minnesota law.  Johnson says in the article, “I believe it would be void ab initio, as though it never occurred.  If it occurred, I infer that it must have taken place for dishonest purposes.”

If she did indeed marry her brother, any such second marriage might be bigamous as well as fraudulent, but it is not clear,” Johnson wrote.  Minnesota law defines bigamy as “knowingly having a prior marriage that is not dissolved while also contracting a marriage in this state.”  Bigamy is a punishable crime, with up to five years in prison or a fine up to $10,000.  The definition and penalty for the crime of bigamy are found in Minn. Stat. § 609.355.

Johnson has confirmed the marriages as noted in the Minnesota Official Marriage system:

Omar Marriage

Johnson contacted Omar’s press spokesperson Jean Heyer and campaign manager Dan Cox and left them a voicemail asking why Omar married her brother and if her first marriage was legally dissolved and when.

Heyer responded to Johnson telling him that Omar was out of town and that Heyer would be in touch with him.  Johnson then responded back telling Heyer that if the information he has about Omar is correct, that her marriage to her brother would be void and was entered into for dishonest purposes and asked that Heyer address those questions as well.

Johnson then received another email from Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Jean Brandl on behalf of Omar stating that there are people who don’t want an East African Muslim woman elected to office and that this is right out of “Donald Trump’s playbook” to prevent Omar from being elected.  Brandl’s email to Johnson said that the Omar campaign sees Johnson’s “superfluous contentions as one more in a series of attempts to discredit her candidacy.”

Johnson ended his post on Powerline saying that he finds Brandl’s message to be the confirmation of a major local story with national implications.

If Omar did indeed marry her brother for immigration purposes, and did it while she was married to another man, she broke the law in Minnesota.

Subscribe to Alpha News as we bring you the latest developments into the Omar scandal.







Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.