Stories For May 2014

When the Senate refused to remove President Bill Clinton from office, it more or less set a precedent to protect the president from the political consequences of process crimes. When people decided to forgive Clinton for his adultery, it more or less set a precedent to ignore politicians' personal lives absent evidence of truly vile or criminal behavior. Sure, some politicians have still paid a price for personal libertinism, but for the most part — well, you know, because Donald Trump is president.

So why are the multiple, overlapping marriages of Rep. Ilhan Omar a matter of public interest? Her fans will attribute it to Islamophobia and sexism while conveniently ignoring the fact that reporters have zero interest in the other two Muslims serving in the House. Her haters will make arguments that she married her brother.

It's far simpler than that. The evidence implies that she lied about separating from her current husband, Ahmed Hirsi, and it overwhelmingly indicates that she violated federal and state tax law in jointly filing taxes with one man while married to another. Plus, as Luke Rosiak advanced at the Daily Caller, the evidence is mounting that the Minnesota Democrat may have perjured herself during her divorce from Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, to whom Omar maintains she was married both by law and in faith from 2009 to 2011.

Perhaps the explanation for Omar and Hirsi's shared addresses at that time was entirely innocuous. Prior to her marriage to Elmi, Omar had two children with Hirsi, and it's completely possible that they had an amicable split and tight finances that made sharing a home easier than moving out. Few would fault her for that, and if Elmi actually did abandon town in 2011, making it difficult for Omar to legally divorce him, the public could easily accept that she unknowingly violated tax laws in jointly filing with Hirsi in 2014 and 2015.

But then why has she treated this issue with so much hostility towards the press? The evidence indicates it's because she's covering something up.

Under penalty of perjury during her divorce proceedings, she said that she had no way to contact Hirsi after the summer of 2011 and that he was in London. But eviction records obtained by the Washington Examiner show he was occupying a residence just a few miles away from her Cedar Riverside address a year later. And as Rosiak found, Elmi may have worked for Omar's sister in 2019 and lives in the same city as her. Presumably after putting Omar through the hoops of obtaining a default divorce, Elmi would be persona non grata among Omar's kin.

The more salacious question, and yes, the one often racially tinged on decrepit corners of the conspiratorial internet, is why Omar would stage a sham marriage with a British citizen in the first place. Maybe it was to commit some sort of fraud, but the issue is more basic than that.

No one cares that Omar's been divorced. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been divorced, and it's not even brought up as a question during her presidential campaign. Hell, our president is on wife number three and people barely care.

We care about lies and we care about crimes. But most importantly, we care about cover-ups. No matter how liberal our political standards become, people won't stop wanting honesty from their elected officials.

Why the Ilhan Omar story matters
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