Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, considered an early favorite to be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, failed to disclose that a group with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood paid for him to embark on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 2008, eventually leading the House Ethics Committee to open an investigation into the matter.
Ellison’s secretive trip to the Islamic holy site, resurfaced Monday by the Washington Free Beacon, was first reported back in 2009 but has taken on renewed significance as Ellison jockeys for the top spot in a Democratic party reeling from a disastrous election.
The costs of the trip — totalling $13,500 — were covered by the Muslim American Society. Federal prosecutors said in a 2008 court filing that the group “was founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” A House Ethics Committee investigation later concluded that the trip had to be disclosed as a gift to a public official.
Since announcing his bid for DNC chair, Ellison has faced questions about his ties to radical groups like the Nation of Islam and its radical leader, Louis Farrakhan. (RELATED: DNC Chair Frontrunner Once Compared George W. Bush To Hitler)
While speaking to an atheist group in 2007, Ellison stopped just short of accusing former president George W. Bush of orchestrating the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to reports at the time.
“It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that,” Ellison said of 9/11. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”
Ellison added that he wouldn’t suggest Bush had a role in the attacks because “you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you.” He later walked back the comments, saying he knew Osama Bin Laden was behind the attacks. (RELATED: Keith Ellison Wants Anyone But Straight White Men To Apply For Internships)