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A draft report exonerates a Democratic representative—but is it enough?

Alex Wong/Getty

The Associated Press is reporting that they’ve obtained a draft copy of a report from a hired investigator concluding that allegations of assault leveled against congressman Keith Ellison can not be verified. These accusations were made last fall by Karen Monahan. The investigation was undertaken by attorney Susan Ellingstad at the behest of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party.

Ellingstad’s report makes much of the fact that a video documenting an abusive incident which Monahan claims exists has not been produced. “An allegation standing alone is not necessarily sufficient to conclude that conduct occurred, particularly where the accusing party declines to produce supporting evidence that she herself asserts exists,” the report concludes. “She has thus repeatedly placed the existence of the video front and center to her allegations, but then has refused to disclose it.”

While the argument about the non-appearance of the video is persuasive, it’s less clear that Ellingstad’s conclusions should be taken as the last word. A report instigated by an interested party always engenders suspicion. Ellingstad’s investigation parallels the report supposedly exonerating Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, written up by a prosecutor selected by Republican legislators.

Republican senatorial candidate Karin Housley argues that the accusation against Ellison should be investigated by Minnesota’s attorney general’s office. This would be the best way, she argues, to have “an impartial investigation into the serious allegations.” This is hard to dispute.