One Man Trying to Take Down DNC Chair Candidate Keith Ellison Is an Islamophobic Conspiracy Theorist

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On Thursday, after CNN published a lengthy story amplifying dubious accusations of anti-Semitism against Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, an organization known as the Investigative Project on Terrorism released audio of an appearance the Muslim congressman made in 2010. This prompted the Anti-Defamation League, which had previously defend Ellison—with some qualifications—to rescind its support of him.

Founded in 1995, the non-profit Investigative Project on Terrorism presents itself as “the world’s most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups.” However, its founder, Steve Emerson, has claimed that the Obama administration “extensively collaborates” with the Muslim Brotherhood and has propagated the lie that there are “no-go zones” all over Europe due to Muslim immigration. He is, nevertheless, a regular on Fox News. In January 2015, after saying that, in parts of London, Muslim religious police beat anyone not wearing “religious Muslim attire,” British Prime Minister David Cameron described Emerson as “clearly a complete idiot.”

But that’s not all! From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

In 1997, Emerson was accused of giving The Associated Press documents he claimed were from the FBI but were really written by him. The Tennessean reported in October 2010 that in 2008, Emerson’s nonprofit Investigative Project on Terrorism “paid $3,390,000 to [Emerson’s for-profit firm] SAE Productions for ‘management services.’ Emerson is SAE’s sole officer.” The paper quoted Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, saying, “Basically, you have a nonprofit acting as a front organization, and all that money going to a for-profit,” he said. “It’s wrong. This is off the charts.”

In a letter to the ADL, Ellison characterized the 36-second audio recording released by Emerson’s group, purportedly from a fundraiser held for Ellison’s re-election campaign, as “selectively edited and taken out of context.” One might hope that an anti-discrimination organization would be more careful in vetting its sources.

Update, 6:10 pm – Senator Chuck Schumer will continue to support Ellison.