Peter Hasson, DCNF
- It’s been two weeks since the DNC announced it was “reviewing” domestic abuse allegations against deputy DNC chair Keith Ellison.
- The DNC still has no details on its investigation of the allegations and chairman Tom Perez recently passed the buck to the state party when asked about the DNC’s handling of the Ellison accusations.
- Prominent national Democrats are using the DNC investigation to avoid answering whether they believe Ellison’s accuser.
Two weeks after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced a review of domestic abuse allegations against Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the public still has scant information about the probe.
The DNC has offered no details on who exactly is running the probe, what evidence they have uncovered or when they expect to have enough information to either affirm or withdraw their support for Ellison.
Ellison, the deputy chair of the DNC and Democratic nominee for Minnesota attorney general, is accused of physically and emotionally abusing his ex-girlfriend, liberal Sierra Club activist Karen Monahan.
The DNC announced Aug. 14 that it was “reviewing” the allegations against Ellison.
All domestic abuse allegations, the DNC said at the time, are “disturbing” and “should be taken seriously.”
That statement, a two-sentence missive to NPR, broke a 72-hour DNC silence on the Ellison allegations from the time they first surfaced.
The next day, Aug. 15, DNC chair Tom Perez seemed sure the Ellison allegations won’t hurt Democrats in November but insisted the DNC is “absolutely taking a careful look” at them.
Nine days after the DNC first said it was “reviewing” the Ellison allegations, Aug. 23, Perez still lacked specific details about the investigation into his deputy chair.
He insisted to CBS News that the DNC takes domestic abuse allegations “very, very seriously,” adding: “that’s why the matter is under review.”
When asked about the DNC’s internal discussions on Ellison, Perez again stated that the “matter was under review,” but this time deferred to the state-level party’s investigation, instead of the DNC’s own probe.
Perez said the party’s Minnesota affiliate, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party, “is conducting a very thorough investigation and a very prompt investigation and I’m very confident that review will be completed in the near future.”
Perez’s Aug. 23 answer avoided giving any details about the separate DNC investigation that his committee and prominent Democrats previously portrayed as well underway.
A DNC spokeswoman did not return multiple emails seeking comment on the status of the committee’s Ellison investigation.
DFL communications director Ellen Perrault did not return multiple emails, as well as voicemails left on both her office and cell phone numbers, inquiring about the state party’s investigation of the Ellison allegations.
Prominent national Democrats have used the DNC’s supposed investigation to sidestep answering whether they believe Ellison’s accuser.
Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Claire McCaskill of Missouri both deferred to the DNC probe when asked about the Ellison allegations by The Washington Post on Aug. 16.
“I know that the DNC is investigating it, so we’ll see and let that run its course,” Harris said, withholding her own position on the issue. McCaskill similarly avoided taking a position, saying: “I think that’s appropriate to look into it.”
Thanks in part to the cover provided by its supposed ongoing investigation, the DNC has yet to take a position on whether the committee believes Ellison or the woman accusing him of abuse.
Monahan claims Ellison emotionally and physically abused her during their relationship, which ended in 2016.
She claims to have a video (which she has declined to produce) showing Ellison dragging her off a bed and screaming expletives at her.
Ellison has denied Monahan’s allegations and insists no such video exists.