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Tags: ilhan omar | democrat | minnesota | marriage

Report: Omar Marriage Questions Rehashed From New Docs

ilhan omar and alexandria ocasio-cortez walk through capitol hill as they talk
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 July 2019 05:09 PM

Documents released by a state agency have prompted a fresh look at the marital history of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn,, and whether she once married a man — possibly her own brother — to skirt immigration laws, the Star Tribune reported.

Omar has denied the allegations, dismissing them as "baseless rumors" first raised in an online Somali politics forum and championed by conservative bloggers during her 2016 campaign for the Minnesota House, the news outlet reported. 

But she said little then or since about Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, the former husband who swept into her life in 2009 before a 2011 separation, the Star Tribune reported.

The questions surfaced again this month in a Minnesota state probe of campaign finance violations showing Omar filed federal taxes in 2014 and 2015 with her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, while she was still legally married to, but separated from, Elmi.

Although she has legally corrected the discrepancy, she has declined to say anything about how or why it happened. The new documents also detail the Omar campaign's efforts to keep the story of her marriage to Elmi out of the press, the news outlet reported.

"It's really strange, right, to prove a negative," she told the Star Tribune in an interview in October. As for Elmi, she told the news outlet: "If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don't. If someone was asking . . . are there court documents that are false . . . there is no truth to that."

Beyond denying the provocative allegation Elmi is her brother, Omar has shed little light on her married life, which began in 2002, when she wed Hirsi in their Muslim faith tradition, the Star Tribune reported.

What is known is Omar, at the age of 19, sought a legal marriage license with Hirsi in Minnesota. Though they had three children together, they would not legally marry until January 2018, after she had been in the Minnesota Legislature for a year and had dissolved the marriage in 2017 with Elmi.

After reaching what Omar called "an impasse in our life together," she and Hirsi split for a period in 2008. In February 2009, public records show Omar legally married Elmi, who she has identified as a "British citizen."

The relationship ended in 2011, when she reconciled with Hirsi. They did not get legally divorced until December 2017 — a month before she got legally married to Hirsi.

In her 2017 divorce, Omar attested she had no contact with Elmi after their 2011 separation. Conservative activists say photos and other social media posted by Omar and Elmi on Instagram and Facebook suggest she might not be telling the truth. 

During the campaign finance board deposition, Omar suggested she is disconnected from details — unaware, for instance, she violated tax law by filing a married-jointly return with the wrong husband.

Asked if she amended her tax filings, she replied, "I don't think so." The board's staff asked again. Omar replied, "I don't recall doing any."

Campaign e-mails disclosed by the campaign finance board also show a concerted effort to quash the Elmi story. Omar expressed frustration over the controversy again last October, telling the Star Tribune that like many refugees without birth certificates, "anybody can accuse me of whatever they want, and I don't have a way to defend myself."

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A fresh look at the marital history of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn,, and whether she once married a man, possibly her own brother, to skirt immigration laws has been prompted by documents released by a state agency, according to the Star Tribune.
ilhan omar, democrat, minnesota, marriage
Tuesday, 16 July 2019 05:09 PM
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