Ellison seeks House ethics investigation of abuse allegation

FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2017, file photo, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison addresses campaign volunteers and supporters in Minneapolis. Minnesota's Democratic Party chairman said Monday, Sept. 24, 2018 that he expects the investigation into allegations of physical abuse against Ellison to be finished soon. Ellison denied the accusations in August 2018 from former girlfriend that he once physically abused her. (Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via AP, File)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison said Wednesday he’s requesting a House Ethics Committee investigation into the allegation of physical abuse from an ex-girlfriend that is clouding his bid for attorney general and complicating Democrats’ push to investigate allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Karen Monahan said last month Ellison dragged her off a bed by her feet while screaming obscenities at her. She claimed to have video footage of the 2016 incident but has declined to release it. Ellison, a longtime and fiercely liberal congressman from Minneapolis and deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has denied it ever happened.

Minnesota’s Democratic Party commissioned an investigation, handing off the review to an attorney who shares a law office with the party’s main attorney. Party chairman Ken Martin said he expects that report to be released soon.

But Ellison said Wednesday he requested a separate investigation from the House Ethics Committee, saying he hopes it would prove his innocence.

“I am taking this step now because I am innocent and eager to see this entire matter resolved,” he said in a statement. “These allegations have lingered in the public sphere, and remain unsubstantiated. I welcome an investigation by the House to allow us to move on.”

Buzzfeed first reported Ellison’s statement.

Democrats in Minnesota are concerned that the allegations against Ellison could impact their chances in November to hold onto an attorney general’s office they’ve held for more than four decades. Public polling shows Ellison in a close race with Republican Doug Wardlow, a little-known former state lawmaker who has turned the allegations into a campaign issue.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement it was appropriate for the ethics committee to take up the matter so “all involved are given the opportunity be heard.”

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