Keith Ellison

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Keith Ellison

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Keith Maurice Ellison is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 5th district of Minnesota. He is also a co-chair on the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Keith Ellison has represented the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives since taking office on January 4, 2007. The Fifth District includes the City of Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs.

Ellison is a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). He previously served two terms representing Legislative District 58B in the Minnesota State House of Representatives, from 2003 to 2007.[1]

Background

Keith Ellison , was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He moved to Minnesota in 1987 to attend the University of Minnesota Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1990.[2]

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wayne State University - 1987
  • Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School - 1990

Our Revolution endorsement

Keith Ellison was endorsed by Our Revolution, an organization run by former campaign workers and supporters of former socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[3]

Berniecrat

Keith Ellison is a Berniecrat, is a term used for those democrats (generally) running for office who have expressed support of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[4]

Nation of Islam

1989–Ellison publishes the first of two articles in the University of Minnesota Daily under the alias “Keith Hakim.” In the first such article, Ellison speaks up for the Nation of Islam.

1995–Ellison supports Million Man March, appears at organizing rally with former Nation of Islam spokesman Khalid Muhammed at University of Minnesota. Ellison acts as local Nation of Islam leader in march at office of U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis protesting indictment of Qubilah Shabazz for conspiring to murder Louis Farrakhan. Ellison charges FBI with conspiring to murder Farrakhan. Ellison writes article under alias “Keith X Ellison” attacking Star Tribune for criticizing Louis Farrakhan.

In 1998, while running in State representative primaries Ellison, then known as Keith Ellison-Muhammad, was a member of the Nation of Islam.[5]

Maoist interview with Ellison and Nisan

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Forward Motion, June 1989
Forward Motion, June 1989, page 22

Geoff Hahn conducted an interview with Forward Motion June 1989 with student leaders Keith Ellison and Chris Nisan, on recent police brutality demonstrations in Minneapolis.

Keith Ellison page 22: "The responsible activist has to show young people out the, that white supremacy and capitalism are what's putting them in the position they're in."

Ture speech

Ellison introducing Ture

1990–Ellison participates in the sponsorship of the anti-Semitic speech by Kwame Ture given at the University of Minnesota Law School (“Zionism: Imperialism, White Supremacy or Both?”). Ellison rejects the appeal of Jewish law students to withdraw sponsorship of the lecture.[6]

Ellison MCd the meeting, introducing Ture.[7]

Vice Lords gang

1992–Ellison appears as speaker at demonstration against Minneapolis police with Vice Lords leader Sharif Willis following the murder of Officer Haaf by four Vice Lords gangsters in September.

1993–Ellison leads demonstration chanting “We don’t get no justice, you don’t get no peace” in support of Vice Lords defendant on trial for the murder of Officer Haaf. Ellison attends Gang Summit in Kansas City with Willis.[8]

NLG speech

The various themes of Ellison's public commitments and associations all came together in a February 2000 speech he gave at a fundraising event sponsored by the Minnesota chapter of the far-left National Lawyers Guild, on whose steering committee he had served. The event was a fundraiser for former Symbionese Liberation Army member Kathleen Soliah after her apprehension in St. Paul (under the name "Sara Jane Olson") for the attempted murder of Los Angeles police officers in 1975.

Ellison weirdly referred to Soliah/ Olson as a "black gang member" (she is white) and thus a victim of government persecution. He described her as one of those who had been "fighting for freedom in the '60s and '70s" and called for her release. (She subsequently pleaded guilty to charges in Los Angeles and to an additional murder charge in Sacramento; she is serving time in California.) Still toeing the Nation of Islam line, he recalled "Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, [who] was prosecuted in retribution against Minister Farrakhan." He also spoke favorably of cop killers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Assata Shakur. (Shakur has been on the lam in Cuba since 1984; last year she was placed on the FBI's domestic terrorists list with a one million dollar reward for her capture.)[9]

Peace Pledge Coalition

In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Democrats.com Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org, Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.

Keith Ellison signed the letter.[10][11]

Pilgrimage to Mecca

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Days after his return from an unannounced pilgrimage to the Islamic holy site of Mecca, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison talked about it as a transformational personal experience, saying "I didn't want to turn it into a politics thing."

Nearly eight months later, the Minneapolis DFLer faced a House Ethics Committee review of his decision to keep the trip's costs under wraps -- even though it was paid for by a local Islamic nonprofit and typically would be reported as a gift to a public official.

Asked about the trip , Ellison said that he is "not privy to the internal workings of the organization" that covered his costs, and that he complied with all House Ethics panel disclosure requirements. "Why should I waive a right that's accorded me under the rules?" he said.

Tax records show the group that paid Ellison's expenses, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, received nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money in 2006 and 2007 from a rental arrangement for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), an Inver Grove Heights charter school.

The man who accompanied Ellison to Mecca, Asad Zaman, was executive director of the TiZA school, a political contributor of Ellison's and was president of the Muslim American Society until August, when the Mecca trip was planned.

TiZA has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and probed by state officials for allegedly promoting Islam, which would violate the church and state separation required of public schools -- including charter schools.

The school received state funding to pay rent to the Muslim American Society Property Holding Corp., a nonprofit spinoff of the Muslim American Society that owned the building. The corporation then turned over $879,000 to the Muslim society as a grant.

Those close connections have opened Ellison to questions about the nature of the trip. Ellison called it "a private trip," adding that he had told the ethics committee of the trip beforehand and received its approval. A spokesman for the school says no public money was used for the trip, or Hajj, which Ellison took as a once-in-a-lifetime fulfillment of his religious duty as a practicing Muslim. The 16-day pilgrimage is considered one of the most solemn acts in Islam, one that is supposed to be undertaken free of debts and unmet family obligations.

Ellison has justified withholding the cost by citing the religious nature of his journey to Saudi Arabia, saying it had nothing to do with his duties as a congressman.

Such trips generally must be reported under congressional gift rules that call for full financial disclosure. IRS rules, moreover, bar nonprofit religious groups from furthering individuals' "private interests."

Zaman did not respond to several inquiries seeking comment on the Mecca trip. In the ACLU's lawsuit, which alleges that the property holding company effectively transferred government charter school funds to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, the ACLU quoted Zaman as saying that "Islam makes no distinction between public and private life."

Twin Cities public relations executive Blois Olson, who was serving as a spokesman for the school, said there was no connection between the TiZA rent money and Ellison's trip, which took place in late November and early December of 2008.

Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, who chaired the K-12 Education Finance Division Committee, said the state funds were intended to help charter schools rent space.

She said she is troubled by the large grants to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whether or not the money can be tied directly to Ellison's trip.

"It calls into question the sensibility of the people who lead the school," Greiling said. "And to send Keith Ellison off to Mecca just compounds it."

Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the Minnesota ACLU, said the flow of any public funds to a sectarian group that funded a public official's trip to a religious site heightens the questions Samuelson's group has raised about the separation of church and state.

"The group that paid for it [the trip] gets a large part of its money from the public trough," Samuelson said.[12]

Fundraiser for Barbara Lee

Please join Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Sen. Ellen Anderson, Rep. Keith Ellison, Councilmember Gary Schiff, Erin Ghere, Brigid McDonough, Al McFarlane, Batala McFarlane, Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace, St. Louis Park Neighbors for Peace, Jim Scheibel, and Tammy Tesky in welcoming Congresswoman Barbara Lee Sunday July 13, 2003 at Minneapolis Urban League,

On September 14th, 2001, she courageously cast her lone vote against granting the President a blank check to wage war without constraint and throughout the world. Barbara Lee is a leader in the fight for peace, social justice, and equality.[13]

Saint Paul Supports Keith Ellison Fundraiser

August 13, 2006 Saint Paul Supports Keith Ellison Fundraiser with Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Mayor Chris Coleman, Commissioner Toni Carter, at the home of Dan Cramer and Cassie Cramer, Saint Paul.

"The list of those expected to show up smiling and fork over the moola reads like a who's-who of tax-and-spend big government in St. Paul": Sen. Ellen Anderson, Rep. Matt Entenza, Chief Bill Finney & Linda Finney, Rep. Alice Hausman, Council Member Lee Helgen, Rep. Sheldon Johnson, School Board Member Kazoua Kong-Thao, Council President Kathy Lantry, Rep. John Lesch, Rep. Tim Mahoney, Rep. Carlos Mariani, Council Member Debbie Montgomery, Revs. Byron Moore & Sharon Moore, Sen. Mee Moua, School Board Member Al Oertwig, Comm. Rafael Ortega, Sen. Sandy Pappas, Rep. Michael Paymar, Comm. Victoria Reinhardt, (former Mayor) Jim Scheibel, School Board President Elona Street-Stewart, Rep. Cy Thao, Council Member Dave Thune, Rev. Carl Walker. [14]

J Sreet endorsement

In 2008 Ellison was endorsed by JStreet PAC.[15]JStreet endorsed him again 2016.

Ellison has traveled to the Middle East on a number of occasions and possesses an intimate knowledge of the region. He has been outspoken about the need to continue US aid to the both the Palestinian Authority and Israel as a means of safeguarding American and Israeli security interests.[16]

Voted against cutting funding for ACORN

In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Keith Ellison. [17]

Congress

Keith Ellison was elected as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 112th Congress. Working together with other members of the Caucus, Keith helped shape historic Health Care Reform and Wall Street Reform, raise the federal minimum wage, start the process to end the War in Iraq, strengthen veterans’ benefits, combat hate crimes, and create guarantees of pay equality for women.

Ellison currently serves on the Financial Services Committee and the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. The Financial Services Committee provides oversight for the nation's housing and financial services sector. The Democratic Steering & Policy Committee decides committee assignments for Democratic Members and sets the Democratic Caucus' policy agenda. He previously served on the House Judiciary Committee in the 110th Congress (2007-2008) and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the 111th Congress (2009-2010).[18]

Communist Party connections

2006 Communist Support

The following from Communist Erwin Marquit's memoirs:

"In Minnesota, campaigns for nomination as a candidate in a public election starts with winning support at the precinct caucuses, but Rep. Sabo had announced his retirement after the 7 March precinct caucuses. Therefore Ellison’s initial campaign had to focus on winning the endorsement at the Fifth Congressional District DFL Convention on 6 May from among the convention delegates that had already been chosen at the precinct caucuses. Doris and I normally attend the DFL caucuses. I already have indicated that although the DFL caucus rules state that a participant in the caucus cannot be a member of another political party, the Communist Party is technically not a political party in Minnesota if does not field candidates in the election.
Doris and I had been chosen as delegates for the DFL Congressional District Convention, and we campaigned for Ellison before and at the convention. Ellison, with his strong antiwar position and positive reaction to his role in the legislature as a representative of his predominately African American north Minneapolis district, came out first in the first ballots at the convention, during which Nelson Pallmeyer withdraw and gave his support to Ellison. Ellison won the nomination in the fourth ballot. He still had to face a primary election in September with the four other candidates, all with heavy political credentials that were running against him. To gather support for Ellison, I suggested to April Knutson and Jim Knutson that they draft a letter addressed to activists in the peace movement urging them to support Ellison.
Doris and I and the Knutsons then solicited signatures to the letter from among well-known peace activists. In July, we circulated the letter as widely as possible. Doris and I volunteered to cosponsor a fundraiser for Ellison in our home on 24 July with our neighbors Dave Holets and his wife Nancy Arneson. Dave, already retired, had been in charge of managing the finances of the School of Physics and Astronomy. Together, we leafleted the immediate neighborhood with invitations to the fundraiser. On 21 and 22 July, I went into St. Louis Park, a suburb just west of the city line, a block and a half from our home, to do door knocking. When someone appeared at the door, I would begin by introducing myself by name. I was not surprised when one of the first responses I got was, “Oh, you’re the Communist at the University of Minnesota.” Two or three others recognized me in a similar manner. The fact that I was campaigning for Ellison did not seem to bother any of them."[19]

Communist Party approval

In August 2006, the Communist Party USA welcomed Ellison's probable election to Congress, comparing him to the late far left senator Paul Wellstone[20].

If Keith Ellison is elected in November to represent Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, he will bring to the U.S. House of Representatives a fresh progressive voice in tradition of Paul Wellstone. He will also be the first African American congressman from Minnesota and the first Muslim in the U.S. Congress.
Ellison is a well-known civil rights attorney and an established progressive leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He received the Democratic Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party’s endorsement at the district convention in May, enjoys strong support from organized labor, and has been endorsed by the state AFL-CIO.
Peace and justice activists have been volunteering in increasing numbers in the Ellison campaign to refocus attention on Ellison’s program. Ellison calls for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, a universal, single-payer health care system, protection and extension of civil rights to all, including gays and lesbians, and responsible stewardship of the environment.
In the Minnesota House, Ellison supported legislation to raise the minimum wage. He has spoken at peace rallies in the Twin Cities area. He pledged to fight all attempts to erode the Voting Rights Act. He founded the Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota.

Communist backing for "peace stand"/Middle East trip

Keith Ellison held a community meeting Sunday, April 15, 2007, at the Powderhorn Park Building in South Minneapolis to explain his vote on the Iraq War Supplemental Bill. Many in the "peace community" were angry about his vote to fund the war for another year.

When he was introduced, Ellison partisans gave him a standing ovation while many peace activists gently applauded. A sign at the front of the room read, "How will funding the war for another 515 days bring us peace?"

Ellison admitted that the vote was very hard for him personally. He said he voted for the bill because, for the first time, a congressional bill set an exit date from Iraq. "It is more different to govern than it is to be in the opposition. A majority of Democrats from ‘blue dogs’ (Democrats considered to be conservative) to the Out of Iraq caucus came together under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi to successfully challenge Bush’s war without end," Ellison said. Pelosi had promised the Congressional Progressive Caucus an up-or-down vote later on invading Iran, and Ellison expressed confidence in her leadership.

Ellison encouraged the crowd to keep up the pressure against the war, but he added, "When we leave here we must come together."

Most of the meeting was spent allowing citizens to vent their feelings about Ellison’s war vote.

First in line was peace activist Charlie Underwood--who had been active in Ellison’s election campaign. Underwood recited grim numbers of this war--over a million Iraqis dead; 3,300 American military dead; $500 billion spent. Underwood ventured that 5,000 Americans would be dead by the time the war funding bill calls to end American involvement in Iraq. He wanted to know how giving another $100 billion to this war would bring peace? Underwood concluded: "Calling this an antiwar vote makes no sense."

Ellison replied that voting against the bill and with the President would be worse. Later in the discussion he was reminded that he vowed not to fund the war. Ellison countered that he had not imagined that a funding bill would be tied to an antiwar vote.

Socialist Ty Moore called the Democrats a war party and called on Ellison to break with them--and build an independent movement to bring the war to an end.

A Gold Star Mom read a letter from Becky Lourey--former Minnesota legislator and candidate for governor who lost a son in Iraq--supporting Keith’s vote.

Minneapolis School Board Member Pam Costain pleaded with the crowd not to eat their own and received thunderous applause. She said the left had eaten up Paul Wellstone.

Civil rights attorney Jordan Kushner said, "Keith’s vote showed that his loyalty to the Democratic Party exceeded his loyalty to the peace movement. The peace movement was at the base of his campaign. We thought he was one of us when he pledged not to fund the war." Kushner believes Ellison could not have won the DFL endorsement and the DFL primary without the active involvement of the peace community.

Marv Davidov--founder of the Honeywell Project--afterward said the vote made no sense. "You can’t fund a war and oppose it at the same time." Davidov thinks that a straight up-or-down vote on the war--even if it had lost--would have done more to advance the peace movement.

Communist Erwin Marquit supported Ellison’s vote. He said we needed to take every opportunity to weaken Bush’s authority. "This is just one step in a strategy to bring the war to an end. But we need to keep the pressure on--outside the halls of Congress," Marquit said. He recalled that in 1972 the Minnesota Legislature passed a resolution telling the state’s attorney general not to send any Minnesota National Guard members to Vietnam. The state Supreme Court later overruled that resolution. "The important thing is this kind of struggle keeps pressure on and empowers the antiwar movement," Marquit said.

Peace activist Don Irish said our occupation of Iraq was just symbolic of America’s history of imperialism: "We have overthrown governments around the world.

Ellison recalled his recent trip to the Middle East. He said Syrian President Bashar Assad wants to negotiate with Israel. Ellison met with both Israeli and Palestinian leadership during his visit. He expressed opposition to an American plan to divide Iraq into Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish areas. "We do not have the right to make petitions. We need to get all the neighbors involved in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. All of these countries have a refugee crisis on their hands," Ellison said.

Ellison pleaded with people to keep the antiwar pressure on and not lose faith in the electoral process. "It’s easy to throw the baby out with the bath water. Keep working with me," he pleaded.[21]

Communist house party 1

Communist Erwin Marquit was involved in an house party for Keith Ellison, 1 September, 2011.[22]

Communist house party 2/ Middle East trip

Congressman Keith Ellison held a house party on December 17, 2013 at the Minneapolis home of Communist Party USA leaders Erwin Marquit and Doris Marquit. The event was also hosted by Dave Holets and Nancy Arneson. It was a fairly relaxed affair and found the progressive Representative discussing many issues, including the recent budget fight in Washington as well as some major upcoming foreign policy issues.

Rep. Ellison spoke first before taking some questions from the twenty or so gathered guests. He first spoke about the budget fight over the sequester, describing what he thought were the good and bad aspects. He lamented that the Congress would only “lift the sequester” because the military was starting to feel the bite of budget cuts. Rep. Ellison spoke of his leadership in the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives, saying he wanted to elevate its profile so it’s passing legislation and not just a “debating society.” Rep. Ellison also spoke kindly of the recent fast-food labor strikes across the country. He said these movements were fueled by the same type of activism as the Occupy movement and stated that we “need a massive economic transformation in this country.” Rep. Ellison said that “America has never been richer” but still the federal government seeks to cut Medicare and Social Security. He also called for an “expansion of the safety net” and spoke of his efforts to raise the minimum wage for federal workers. He also said it was a “shame” that we “tolerate these conditions” such as inequality in this country. At the end Rep. Ellison did mention the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a major “free” trade deal that many international corporations are pushing and said that “150 members of Congress signed a letter” against the agreement.

Rep. Ellison then took a few questions from the group, which was comprised of DFL activists and supporters. The first question regarded the recent gerrymandering of congressional seats perpetrated by the Republican Party. Ellison cited North Carolina and Ohio as examples of this but said that people are starting to see the trend. He said the solution to this is more activism and organizing on the ground, but also pressure on President Obama.

The next question regarded how to turn another congressional district in Minnesota progressive. Rep. Ellison said he thought the best chance here was in the second district (currently held by Representative John Klein). Ellison promoted Mike Obermueller, who ran unsuccessfully against Klein in the previous election cycle, as a viable candidate. He said “people tend to listen to people who help them” and also disparaged Rep. Klein as a “lazy” candidate who barely campaigns and uses corporate money for his advertisements.

The next question concerned foreign policy: more specifically, a two-state solution the Israel/Palestine issue. Rep. Ellison discussed the current negotiations with Secretary of State John Kerry but said Prime Minister Netanyahu is “hypocritical” on the settlement issue. He said he took a trip to the region in the summer, visiting many areas not part of the “official” delegation trips. He spoke of his visit to Hebron, where he said “1,800 Palestinian shops” had been shuttered. He also stressed the need to tap into the Israeli citizenry, who are angry with their government over the occupation. Ellison said that “Congress is not helping," but that solving this issue is in the American interest.

The final question dealt with the situation in Syria. Ellison stated that the civil war there was “worse than ever” and the “worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.” He also stated that the refugee crisis is in desperate need of a solution but that there also needs to be a peace negotiation there.[23]

Three house meetings

The Marquits hosted three meetings for Rep. Keith Ellison.

I mentioned earlier that we had three fund raisers, that is, house parties, for Keith Ellison. They were cosponsored again by our friends Nancy Arneson and Dave Holets. The year 2011 was not a Congressional election year. Nevertheless Ellison’s campaign committee needed to raise funds to cover the cost of mobilizing people into activity on the progressive political issues that he supported independently of the actual reelection campaigns. Our third house party, again in our home, was held on 1 September. I asked Marion Greene, who represented our district in the Minnesota House of Representatives to introduce Ellison when it came time for him to speak. About twenty-five people attended. We raised $1,620...[24]

Communist phonebanker

As a member of the Political Mobilization Committee of the Minnesota State AFL-CIO Retirees Council, most of Erwin Marquit's phone-banking was retiree-to-retiree phone calls to union retirees organized by the Minneapolis AFL-CIO Regional Federation. At several of the sessions, almost half of those participating in the phone calling were brought there by the Communist Party. Doris Marquit also participated in several of these sessions, as well as in those organized by the Ellison campaign committee.[25]

People's World article

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Keith Ellison penned an article in the Communist Party USA's People's World of August 29, 2014, on the rise of "people's movements" in the United States.

Take Back America Conferences

Keith Ellison was on the list of 237 speakers at the 2007 Take Back America conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future.[26]

America's Future Now Conferences

Keith Ellison was on the list of speakers at the 2009 America's Future Now conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future.[27]

He was back in 2010.

Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011

Keith Ellison was one of the 158 speakers who addressed the Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011 . The Conference was hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future, [28]

Blue Green Alliance

The Blue Green Alliance sponsors the annual Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference. The 2009 conference was held from Feb. 4-6, 2009.

Conference speakers included:[29]

Ellison was back in 2010.[30]

Michigan Coalition for Human Rights

Abayomi Azikiwe, Keith Ellison, April 6, 2008

Detroit Workers World Party leader Abayomi Azikiwe, greeted Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, during the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights annual dinner on April 6, 2008. Azikiwe serves as chairman of the MCHR board.

"Impeach Cheney"

In January 2008, nine out of 23 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee favor starting impeachment hearings against Vice-President Dick Cheney. Six of the nine are co-sponsors of H.R. 799, which contains three articles of impeachment. The nine Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who favored impeachment hearings were: Robert Wexler, Fla.; Luis Gutierrez, Ill.; Anthony Weiner, N.Y.; Tammy Baldwin, Wisc.; Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas; Steve Cohen, Tenn.; Keith Ellison, Minn.; Maxine Waters, Calif.; and Hank Johnson, Ga.[31]

Coalition of Black Trade Unionists conference

From May 22-25, 2008, the Communist Party USA founded Coalition of Black Trade Unionists held their 37th International Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rep. Keith Ellison was one of the panelists from the Town Hall meeting:[32]

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) urged delegates to put the housing crisis “in its proper context. We’ve had 30 years of frozen wages. However, in 1984 CEOs made 42 times more than the average worker. But in 2005 CEOs made 411 times more than the average worker. As a result we consume less and borrow more. Our wages stagnate, while the rich get richer.” Ellison called for a “grassroots movement married to legislation.” [33]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

As of February 20 2009 Keith Ellison was listed as Vice Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[34]

Congressional Black Caucus

Keith Ellison is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 113th Congress:[35]

Wellstone Action

In 2009 Keith Ellison was listed as a member of the Advisory Board[36] of Wellstone Action, a Minnesota based organization based on the political legacy[37] of that state’s late ‘progressive” Senator Paul Wellstone.

Wellstone Action and Wellstone Action Fund combine to form a national center for training and leadership development for the progressive movement. Founded in January 2003, Wellstone Action's mission is to honor the legacy of Paul and Sheila Wellstone by continuing their work through training, educating, mobilizing and organizing a vast network of progressive individuals and organizations.

Wellstone "disciple"

“Paul Wellstone put to bed the idea that if you are a progressive and a liberal, you could just run elections halfway and just give yourself a pat on the back for fighting the good fight,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Wellstone disciple who last fall became the first Muslim elected to Congress..[38]

Minnesota Peace Project

In 2009, Roxanne Abbas, of Women Against Military Madness, helped form the Minnesota Peace Project.

“Never a meeting without an action!” Most of us know and live by WAMM’s motto, but we don’t all have the same preferred mode of action. Some like to hit the streets. Some write letters to the editor. Some plan or attend educational programs. Some lobby their members of Congress. And some do it all.

Several WAMM members are leading the development of a statewide network of peace activists and groups with the working name “the Minnesota Peace Project” to influence foreign policy through their elected officials in the U.S. House and Senate. The group, which is organized by Congressional district, plans to use dialogue techniques to build a mutual understanding of each other’s views and to present documented information from reliable sources to build credibility. District groups will function semiautonomously based on the issues of greatest concern to their members and their opportunities to influence their representative.

Although the project is still in the organizational stages, there has been some progress to report:

Keith Ellison and Wellstone Action have both offered to conduct a training session on lobbying techniques for group members. [39]

Message to WAMM

On July 9, 2008, More than 100 peace activists—assembled today on the south steps of the State Capitol Building to hear clergymen and civic leaders wax-critical on the Iraq War.

Starting at noon, a dozen speakers took the podium one-by-one, including Pam Costain (director of the Minneapolis School Board), Roxanne Abbas (co-chair of Women Against Military Madness), and Isaiah Ellison (son of Rep. Keith Ellison), who read an address penned by his father.

Nearly every speaker focused on the Bush administration’s saber rattling with regards to Iran. More specifically, they lambasted Senate Resolution 580, which calls for sanctions and a naval blockade against Iran— acts that would almost certainly be construed as a declaration of war. [40]

21st Century Democrats support

21st Century Democrats is a Political Action Committee that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Institute for Policy Studies affiliate, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, Democratic Socialists of America affiliates, former Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and former Illinois Congressman Lane Evans. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

Long time Board chair was Democratic Socialists of America member Jim Scheibel, a former Mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.

In each election cycle, we endorse a diverse array of candidates who exemplify our values and show unusual promise to advance our progressive goals. We invest in some of the most competitive races as well as in some of the most challenging – those in which the candidates are outstanding but the traditional Democratic supporters are most reticent. We back candidates in primaries as well as general election races, and we focus the bulk of our resources on electing challengers and protecting vulnerable incumbents.[41]

Keith Ellison was one of 17 key progressives endorsed by 21st Century Democrats in the 2010 election cycle. [42]

Ellison was also supported in 2006.

Populist Caucus

The Populist Caucus was founded on February 11, 2009 in the United States House of Representatives by Democrat Bruce Braley of Iowa. The caucus originally included 26 other Democrats in the House, including Keith Ellison , vice chair.

Supported Lifting the Gaza Blockade

On Jan. 27, 2010, U.S. Representatives Keith Ellison and Jim McDermott led 52 other members of Congress in signing a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, calling for him to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. [43] The entire letter together with a complete list of signatories can be read by clicking here.

2009 letter on Colombia

From November 6th through December 7th 2009, a letter calling for change in U.S. policy towards Colombia was circulated through the House of Representatives. This letter called for a decrease in U.S. aid for Colombia's military and an increase in support for human rights and humanitarian efforts. The initiators of this letter were —Representatives James McGovern, Jan Schakowsky, Donald Payne, and Mike Honda.

Dear Secretary of State Clinton,
The FY 2011 budget will contain the twelfth year of a major aid package to Colombia—an aid package originally slated to phase out after six years.
After eleven years, it is time to scale down assistance for Colombia's military and more systematically "Colombianize" such programs, within both the State Department and Defense Department budgets.

Signatories included Keith Ellison.[44]

Colombian "Peace" process

According to a May 2014 FARC press release;

In an historic action, 245 politicians from the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland have expressed their collective support for the Colombian peace process in a letter to both sides in the current negotiations, the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - FARC. The politicians from the US Congress, UK Parliament, Irish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly, many of whom supported the peace process in Northern Ireland and some of whom were directly involved, congratulate the two sides for having engaged in talks. In the letter, the signatories, from sixteen political parties, encourage the negotiating parties “to consider the possibility of a ceasefire and take the necessary measures to minimise the human cost of the conflict”, emphasising that for them “the only route to bring an effective and long-lasting peace to Colombia is through dialogue and compromise”. The letter expresses the hope that measures to guarantee the safety of civil society activists will be taken.

The letter was coordinated by Justice for Colombia), the British NGO with the support of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and a cross party group of politicians.

High profile signatories include (former) Congressman George Miller, leading US Democrat on the Labor & Education Committee, the "legendary US Civil rights leader" Congressman John Lewis and Members of the Congressional Monitoring Group on Labor Rights Jim McGovern, Sam Farr, Jan Schakowsky, Hank Johnson, Keith Ellison and Rosa DeLauro. Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minster Martin McGuinness from Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland party leaders Alasdair McDonnell of the SDLP and Naomi Long of the Alliance, and leader of the Republic of Ireland’s governing Labour Party Eamon Gilmore also added their names.[45]

Meeting with Activists from September 24, 2010 FBI Raids

Raided activists comment on the meeting

On Nov. 5, 2010, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison held a meeting with five of the activists who were raided by the FBI in September. "While unclear about what legislative action he could take on their behalf, Ellison conveyed dismay with the raids." The activists encouraged Ellison to circulate a "Dear Colleague" letter to other members of the Progressive Caucus asking for support of an investigation of the FBI actions. "Ellison reminded them that he could not interfere with an ongoing investigation."[46]

Sarah Martin, one of the activists who attended the meeting stated,

"It was a reasonably good meeting. He certainly understands the seriousness of this and although political times are pretty horrible right now... he's gonna pursue doing a "dear colleague" letter with the progressive caucus... He kept saying of course, he can't stop this Grand Jury but he's gonna do everything he can. He met with us! This is Congressman Keith Ellison, and he met with us in person and gave us you know, a good time - which is - didn't happen at the Senator's office."

Tracy Molm, another of the activists who attended the meeting stated,

"[We asked Ellison to write] a "dear colleague" letter to Obama directly... He said that he's going to look into a "dear colleague" letter, and try to get other progressive people in Congress to sign onto it also."

Committee to Stop FBI Repression delegation

In mid November 2010, a delegation from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression ( returned home from several days of bringing the "issue of the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas of people doing international solidarity work and anti-war organizing to the U.S. Capitol". Three supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, Deb Konechne of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Anh Pham, who is facing a reactivation of her subpoena and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided, spent two days meeting with U.S. Representatives on the issue. The delegation asked each Congressperson to sponsor a “Dear Colleague” letter condemning the raids and grand jury subpoenas. In the two days, the delegation met with either the Congressional Representative’s staff or the Representative themselves fro[[m the following 16 offices: Tammy Baldwin (WI), John Conyers (MI), Danny Davis (IL), Keith Ellison (MN), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), Mike Honda (CA), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Dennis Kucinich (OH), Barbara Lee (CA), Jim McDermott (WA), Jim McGovern (MA), Bobby Rush (IL), Linda Sanchez (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Maxine Waters (CA). The "meetings were positive, with all the offices expressing genuine concern about the situation. In some cases, because of the outpouring of calls from around the country, the U.S. Representatives were aware that the delegation was in Washington D.C. and the offices made time on their schedules to meet with the delegation. This reinforces the continuing importance of the solidarity work taking place around the country."

Rep. Conyers (MI), chair of the Judiciary Committee, directed the Counsel of the Judiciary Committee to meet with the delegation. Also, Rep. Ellison (MN) and his Congressional staff met directly with the delegation for a significant amount of time. rep. Ellison sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, expressing concern over the situation and is continuing to work on options to support his constituents affected. The delegation also received face-to-face meetings with Rep Gutierrez and Rep Davis from Chicago. Rep. Grijalva’s (AZ) office set up a meeting between the delegation and the Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the Congress of which rep. Grijalva is the chair. In addition, the office of Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Maxine Waters (CA) gave the delegation significant time and attention.

“It was clear that progressive Representatives of the Congress are very concerned about the FBI investigation. Overall, they were very thankful for our visit and for the information and analysis given to them The level of awareness about the raids and grand jury was varied, from little to full awareness, but the delegation certainly changed that. After the two days, our presence and purpose definitely created a stir in the halls of Congress. “The fact that we were able to interact with 16 legislative aides or Congress people themselves, during an extremely busy time of restructuring leadership in the Congress, exemplifies the attention this matter is receiving”, stated Joe Iosbaker.[47]

"God Willing... Border Will Become an Irrelevancy"

Keth Ellison on border security

In June 2010, Ellison spoke at a Network of Spiritual Progressives conference, during which he stated,[48]

"No security policy position can be premised on military might. ...The way it works is we are a country guided by ideals of equity, generosity and engagement in our relations with other nations and those philosophical ideals create safe borders … and, God willing, one day the border will become an irrelevancy."

Also speaking at the conference was avowed Marxist Michael Lerner, editor of the pro-Palestinian Tikkun Magazine. According to an account of the conference by Baltimore Sun columnist Marta Mossburg, who attended the two-day event, Lerner compared tea party activists to Hitler at least five times. Another speaker at the Network of Spiritual Progressives event was Heather Booth, founder of the Midwest Academy, which teaches the community organizing tactics of radical Saul Alinsky.

Midwest Academy Awards

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In 2011, Keith Ellison was honored with a "Progressive Leadership Award" by the Democratic Socialists of America controlled Midwest Academy - a school based on the teachings of radical "community organizer" Saul Alinsky.

"Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate the 2011 Midwest Academy Awards! We were proud to present our 2011 Awards to: Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Keith Ellison, Teresa Vilmain, Anna Lefer Kuhn and Lenore Palladino."[49]

Netroots Nation

At the 2011 Netroots Nation conference the LIUNA sponsored a Fight Back for Good Jobs rally featuring LIUNA President Terry O’Sullivan, Van Jones, Sen. Ben Cardin, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and other political, business and community leaders.[50]

CPC "Good jobs" tour

On June 27, 2011, Detroit was the second stop of the Congressional Progressive Caucus's "Good Jobs" tour. Reps. Hansen Clarke and John Conyers, D-Mich., joined with Keith Ellison, D-Minn., Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson listening to the "stories and thinking of the people".

In their brief remarks, the leaders issued a call to redirect money from wars, Wall Street and the rich to a rebuilding of America.

Jackson said war spending is "breaking our cities." He was seconded by Clarke who said the money we're spending in Afghanistan is ours, "it should come back to us."

Kaptor said we need to tax the financial giants asking, "Why can't we tax hedge funds like we do the corner bakery?"

Ellison emphasized that unity is required to win, saying being angry will not bring jobs but banding together, speaking together, and fighting together can. "We will use our strength in numbers to fight corporate greed," he said.

Conyers said we are "getting ready" to re-elect President Obama but we need the President to get behind job creating legislation like the Humphrey Hawkins jobs bill he has introduced.

"We are going to Washington to tell him we want him to lead in the fight for jobs. We will tell him we are ready to help," said Conyers.[51]

Occupy Minnesota, Sunday October 9th, 2011

Keith Ellison, and Antonia from La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles

Several members, including Lance Goldsberry of the local Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America took part in the Occupy Minnesota (Wall Street) event, Sunday October 9th, 2011.

Congressman Keith Ellison (D) of Minnesota, and Antonia from La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles also attended the event.[52]

Restore the American Dream for the 99 Percent Act

Reps Grijalva and Ellison at the Capitol press conference

"Responding directly to national demand for a massive jobs program", members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, December 13, 2011, introduced the Restore the American Dream for the 99 Percent Act into the House of Representatives.

The bill would create more than 4 million jobs and reduce the deficit by more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years, making it the biggest government effort thus far to marshal the resources needed to address the economic crisis.

While no one expects the bill to pass in the Republican-controlled House, it is viewed by many as outlining what really must be done if the economy is to be restarted in a way that benefits the overwhelming majority of the population.

Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., presented the legislation at a news conference in the Capitol.

The bill would create several "corps" that will offer government jobs to the unemployed doing essential work including repairing school buildings, maintaining public parks, building neighborhood energy efficiency and conservation projects, and providing health care and other public services in underserved areas. One of the corps would be specifically devoted to re-hiring teachers and first responders laid off by cash-strapped state and local governments .
There are provisions in the bill that require 75 percent of the goods and services purchased by the federal government to be made in America, provisions designed to help small businesses get federal contracts, and allocation of $50 billion alone for highway, public transportation and electrical grid improvement projects.
The bill provides for tariffs in cases where what the lawmakers called "currency manipulation by China" results in "artificially driving down the cost of Chinese imports."

One clause in the bill protects both the long-term unemployed and wounded veterans from hiring discrimination.
The bill includes provisions that would raise $800 billion through a surcharge on millionaires and billionaires, end tax subsidies for oil companies, and impose a tiny financial transactions tax on Wall Street.
There would be other budget savings through ending the war in Afghanistan and slashing $200 billion from the defense budget by eliminating unneeded weapons systems and cutting in half the military forces currently stationed in Europe.

The bill also strengthens health care reform by creating a public health insurance option that would be available through health care exchanges. That measure alone, the lawmakers say, would drive down spending federal health care spending by $90 billion.
The bill would allow Medicare to bargain with pharmaceutical companies to get bulk discounts, a move blocked by Republicans in the past. Supporters say it would help save more than $150 billion.

To save Social Security benefits and trust fund, the legislation would raise the cap on earnings taxed by Social Security above its current $106,800.

"The Republicans want the people to think about how bad things are and to focus their anger on the president," said Grijalva "They don't want people to count the things the Republicans voted down that would have helped this country."

"This bill," said Ellison, "shows we can put people to work today by building for tomorrow."[53]

HR 365

HR 365 was introduced by Michigan Democratic Rep. Hansen Clarke, in 2011, in a YouTube video posted on the representative's page, he said "We need to cut, cap, and forgive student loan debt," and that "That is the true debt that is burdening American families. We cut student loan debt we'll have a freer more prosperous country."

The bill has been sponsored by House Representatives Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Keith Ellison of Minnesota John Conyers of Michigan, and Elijah Cummings of Maryland.[54]

Demos event

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On Thursday, May 31, 2012 Demos, The American Prospect, and "our supporters celebrated our work over the past year. We also honored three incredible leaders who have advanced our vision of shared economic prosperity, inclusive democracy, and effective government. Thanks to all for helping us be at our best in this critical moment".

2012 Transforming America Awardees, were Sheila Bair, Leo Gerard, Ai-jen Poo

Honorary chairs included Congressman Keith Ellison.[55]

Progressive Democrats of America

Keith Ellison, John Conyers, and DSA member, and PDA National Director Tim Carpenter

Keith Ellison has close ties to Progressive Democrats of America, joining the Advisory Board in 2013. He has appeared at several PDA events including Progressive Central conferences and Progressive Round Tables. [56]

PDA "hit its stride"

In 2012, PDA hit its stride electorally as well helping its National Board Members Congress members John Conyers (D-MI.), Donna Edwards (D-MD.), Keith Ellison (D-MN.), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ.), James McGovern (D-MA.) and Barbara Lee (D-CA.) sweep to victory. [57]

Progressive Democrats of America 2012 endorsement

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In 2012, Keith Ellison (MN), was one of 14 leftist Congressional and Senate candidates endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America, an organization dominated by members or affiliates of Democratic Socialists of America and the Institute for Policy Studies.

The Peoples' Inauguration

Progressive Central: The Peoples' Inauguration was held Saturday, January 19, 2013, at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law 5th Floor Moot Court Room, 4340 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC.

The event was sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America, The Nation, National Nurses United, Democrats.com and Busboys and Poets. The event was advertised and promoted by the Institute for Policy Studies.

Keith Ellison addressed the lunchtime session by video.[58]

In the 113th Congress , some PDA-backed Democrats planned to introduce pieces of legislation that enjoy widespread support among the American left—but will, in all likelihood, be met with stiff opposition. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) said he would introduce a full employment act. Conyers will also again introduce a version of the so-called “Medicare-for-all” bill, which would create a single-payer universal healthcare system. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said he would introduce a constitutional amendment to affirm that corporations are not people, in addition to supporting a bill that would strengthen the Voting Rights Act. McGovern, like other PDA allies in Congress, also said that defense cuts would be a priority, telling the audience to rousing applause, “If I had my way, I would shut down every U.S. military base in the Middle East right now.” Moreover, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will introduce a bill, backed prominently by the National Nurses United union, to implement a tax on all financial transactions, the so-called Robin Hood tax.[59]

Prosperity Not Austerity reception

April 17, 2013 Progressive Democrats of America hosted a Prosperity Not Austerity reception at Busboys and Poets, in Washington DC, featuring PDA National Board member Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Mark Takano, PDA National Board member Michael Lighty from National Nurses United and Rev. Lennox Yearwood.[60]

Progressive Round Table

On April 18, 2013, Progressive Democrats of America held a Progressive Round Table in D.C. with staffers Joseph Wender from Rep Ed Markey's office, Jenny Perrino from Rep. John Conyers' office, and Jamie Long from Rep. Keith Ellison's office who reported on key legislation and joined us discussing austerity pressure, budget priorities and more.

We also welcomed Ethan Rosenkranz from the Project on Defense Alternatives, Stephen Miles from Win Without War, Miriam Pemberton from the Institute for Policy Studies, Joan Stallard from CODEPINK, and Michael Lighty as well as several NNU nurses who were holding their lobby day on the Hill. [61]

Relationship to Tim Carpenter

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When Tim Carpenter died in April 2014, Keith Ellison wrote;[62]

"The Progressive movement is driven by people, but it is only successful because of people like Tim Carpenter," said Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, a PDA board member who got it right when he said, "Tim showed the kind of determination and courage that was contagious. His passionate idealism was matched only by his inexhaustible commitment to making those dreams a reality."

PDA 2016 endorsements

In 2016 Progressive Democrats of America endorsed;

Iran "peace" meeting

More than 175 people came to the event “Iran in the Crosshairs” on October 19, 2012, in Minneapolis, to hear from anti-war activists and Congressman Keith Ellison about how to "stop the U.S. march to war".

Margaret Sarfehjooy with Women Against Military Madness laid out the context of U.S. war threats and sanctions on Iran. “Our crippling sanctions on Iran have already resulted in deaths caused by lack of medicine, according to an official from the Tehran Thalassemia Association. The Iranian Hemophilia Society announced in August that ‘the lives of tens of thousands of children are being endangered by the lack of proper drugs caused by international economic sanctions.’”

Representative Keith Ellison spoke about the atmosphere of war in the U.S. Congress and about the pressure he is under to support war. He explained that anyone who proposes a sanctions bill gets a hearing and that everyone in Congress is pressured to vote for any kind of sanctions.

Ellison has voted against sanctions on Iran twice and he explained his votes. He didn’t promise to vote against sanctions on Iran in the future, but he did say, “It’s easier to vote no if you know you have the backing of your community.” He did promise, “I’m not going to vote for sanctions that will make it harder for the U.S. to talk.”

Ellison concluded that he thinks the U.S. is on a path to war with Iran and that he sees pushing sanctions as leading the U.S. to war.

Meredith Aby of the Anti-War Committee concluded the event with an impassioned appeal for action, “We need to be a voice for peace and justice. We cannot be passive. We cannot assume that our leaders will do the right thing. The threat of war and the impact of sanctions already in place on Iran are very real.”

The Minnesota Peace Project, the Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Women Against Military Madness sponsored the event.[64]

National Muslim Democratic Council

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi headlined a Democratic Party fundraiser with leaders of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front groups in May of 2012.

The invitation-only fundraiser was sponsored by Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Andre Carson, D-Ind.; and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and took place on the evening of May 16, 2012, at the W Hotel in Washington D.C.

In attendance were about 20 members of a Syrian dissident group and 10 officials representing Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front groups. Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad was perhaps the most prominent attendee and played a key role in organizing the event.

CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007-2008 Holy Land Foundation Hamas money-laundering trials, was described in FBI testimony as having been created by Hamas. In a 2007 federal court filing, prosecutors described CAIR as conspiring with other branches of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists.

The FBI officially severed relations with CAIR in 2008 because of its ties to Hamas.

Awad has openly championed Hamas and defended suicide bombings as "legitimate resistance."

Also in attendance was Jamal Barzinji, a founding father of the Muslim Brotherhood in America and co-founder of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), an incubator for Islamic radicalism in North America. MSA was the forerunner of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).

Barzinji was named in a federal affidavit as being closely associated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. His name appears in a global phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members recovered by Italian and Swiss authorities in Nov. 2001 from the home of Al-Taqwa Bank of Lugano founder Youssef Nada, one of the leaders of the international Muslim Brotherhood.

During the fundraiser, Pelosi sat at the same table with Awad and Barzinji.

Speaking to the attendees in her 10-minute address, she said the Democratic Party should become the natural home of Muslim-Americans, because Republicans fan the flames of "Islamophobia." She focused exclusively on Islamophobia, a term devised by radical Islamists and their apologists to silence critics, while avoiding any mention of terrorism carried out by Islamists in the United States.

Also speaking were Israel, Ellison, Carson, and Reps Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn. Israel and Murphy were said to have been the most vehement among the members of Congress in attendance in terms of their incendiary accusations of Republican-incited Islamophobia. One observer said that it was striking that "there was not a scintilla of comments in defense of U.S. national security." However, they welcomed each of the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood front groups represented at the event into the "Democratic community" without any mention of their well-documented terror links.

Following the speeches, a prominent attorney, Mazen Asbahi publicly rose to announce the creation of a new organization called the National Muslim Democratic Council (NMDC). Asbahi was Barack Obama's 2008 Muslim outreach director but was forced to step down when his prior association with a radical Muslim cleric, Jamal Said, became public. Said was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial.

The NMDC seeks to "maximize American Muslim support for Democratic candidates and policies."[65]

Disabilities meeting

Keith Ellison, Mike Gude, Gene Martinez

Rep. Keith Ellison, inspired attendees at the April 30th 2013, at the Capitol with a passionate speech in support of disability services and disability rights. One of the organizers of this event, Alicia Munson, Public Policy and Advocacy Associate for Opportunity Partners, got this photo of Rep. Ellison with Mike Gude of The Arc Minnesota and Gene Martinez of The Arc Greater Twin Cities.[66]

Anti-Fracking legislation endorser

On March 14, 2013, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) have introduced the Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effect (BREATHE) Act, and the Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydraulic Environmental Regulation (FRESHER) Act, in order to ensure that the hydraulic fracking industry follows the same rules that other industries do in preserving our natural resources. This legislation is focused on ensuring the safety and the health of the communities where the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process is already taking place.

The BREATHE Act would ensure that we close the oil and gas industry’s loophole to the Clean Air Act’s aggregation provision, in addition to adding hydrogen sulfide—a chemical associated with nausea, vomiting, headaches, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat—to the Clean Air Act’s federal list of hazardous air pollutants.

The BREATHE Act has the following original co-sponsors including: Reps. Rush Holt, Jr., Raul Grijalva, John Sarbanes, James Moran, Michael Quigley, Earl Blumenauer, Gerald Connolly, Zoe Lofgren, Michael Honda, Paul Tonko, Barbara Lee, David Price, Carolyn Maloney, Michael Capuano, Mark Pocan, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alcee Hastings, Keith Ellison, Niki Tsongas, William Keating, Adam Smith, Jim Langevin, Chellie Pingree, Judy Chu, Louise Slaughter, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Meng, Jan Schakowsky, Nita Lowey, Jared Huffman, Gary Peters and Alan Lowenthal.

The following organizations have endorsed this legislation and are actively working to garner support within Congress and throughout the country: Physicians for Social Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Sierra Club, Earthworks, Breast Cancer Action, Clean Water Action, Environment America, Greenpeace, Nature Abounds, Oil Change International, Citizens for a Healthy Community, Citizens for Huerfano County, Clean Water Action Colorado, Erie Rising, Grassroots Energy Activist Network, Holy Terror Farm, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, SOS Foundation, Western Colorado Congress of Mesa County, Western Slope Conservation Center and Wilderness Workshop.[67]

Citizen Action honor

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Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, Citizen Action Illinois held its Annual Dinner, honoring U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota's 5th District, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus of the United States Congress.[68]

Economic Policy Institute

In 2013 Keith Ellison was listed a a member of the Board of Directors of the Economic Policy Institute.[69]

Immigration rally arrest

More than 20,000 people - including thousands of unionists -- who marched down the Washington, D.C., Mall on Oct. 8, 2013, to demand the U.S. House immediately pass comprehensive immigration reform. And 200, including 90 union leaders and union members and eight members of the House of Representatives were arrested when, in an act of civil disobedience, they blocked a street in front of the Capitol.

Arrestees included Lisa Bergmann, SEIU 1199 member Delphine Clyburn and activist Joelle Fishman, both also from Connecticut, Communications Workers Secretary-Treasurer Annie Hall and Political Director Yvette Herrera, The Newspaper Guild's president, Bernie Lunzer, and Paul Booth, the top assistant to AFSCME's president. Among the nation's top labor leaders also taken into custody were AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Unite Here President D. Taylor and Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

Among the lawmakers arrested were Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Joseph Crowley (D - N.Y.), Al Green (D-Texas), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).

Unions, led by contingents from the Service Employees and their Local 32BJ, the Laborers and Unite Here, contributed a large share of the demonstrators. Other unions represented included AFSCME, the Communications Workers/TNG, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, AFT and the United Farm Workers. [70]

Voting rights for all

In May 2013, Mark Pocan and Keith Ellison unveiled a proposal to explicitly guarantee the right to vote in the Constitution.

“The right to vote is too important to be left unprotected,” explained Pocan, who announced the initiative at the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, where the Republican state assembly speaker recently announced plans to enact restrictive “voter ID” legislation before the 2014 election. “At a time when there are far too many efforts to disenfranchise Americans, a voting rights amendment would positively affirm our founding principle that our country is at its strongest when everyone participates. As the world’s leading democracy, we must demand of ourselves what we demand of others—a guaranteed right to vote for all.”

Without that clear guarantee, argues Ellison, politicians continue to propose and enact legislation that impedes voting rights. Noting recent wrangling over voter identification laws, burdensome registration requirements and reduced early voting opportunities in various states, as well as a challenge to the Voting Rights Act that is now under consideration by the US Supreme Court, the Minnesota Democrat, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, says, “Even though the right to vote is the most-mentioned right in the Constitution, legislatures across the country have been trying to deny that right to millions of Americans, including in my home state of Minnesota. It’s time we made it clear once and for all: every citizen in the United States has a fundamental right to vote.”[71]

No cuts rally

Scores of seniors came to the U.S. Capitol October 2013, joined hands with Members of Congress, and formed a human chain in opposition to the Chained CPI formula and all benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Congressional Progressive Caucus hosted the demonstration, as Alliance for Retired Americans members joined with Social Security Works and other allies. The event was emceed by Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-MN). Other Members of Congress at the event included Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL); David Cicilline (RI); Yvette Clarke (NY); John Conyers (MI); Elijah Cummings (MD); Rosa DeLauro (CT); Alan Grayson (FL); Mike Honda (CA); Steven Horsford (NV); Barbara Lee (CA); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Alan Lowenthal (CA); Dan Maffei (NY); Carolyn Maloney (NY); Jerrold Nadler (NY); Mark Pocan (WI); Jan Schakowsky (IL); Mark Takano (CA); and Paul Tonko (NY).[72]

Lifting travel ban on Cuba

A May 03, 2013 Press release from the radical controlled and Institute for Policy Studies affiliated Latin America Working Group's Cuba Team stated:

Due to your action/emails/phone calls we have 59 signatures from House representatives urging President Obama to support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.
By eliminating the laborious license application process, especially for people-to-people groups, that is managed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the majority of the bureaucratic red tape that holds up licensable travel to Cuba would disappear and actually facilitate what the President wanted to see in 2011, liberalized travel regulations.

Signatories included Rep. Ellison .[73]

Make Progress National Summit 2013

Generation Progress' Make Progress National Summit 2013 included speakers such as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Special Assistant to the President David Simas, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN), Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes, former Chief Technology Officer of the United States Aneesh Chopra, Amy Dacey of EMILY’s List, and Alex Wagner of MSNBC.[74]

Corporate Accountability

The Corporate Accountability Coalition is an alliance of organizations whose work includes a focus on issues of corporate accountability and transparency, abuse of power by corporations, responsible business practices, and the rights of people.

Organizations include leftist groups the Center for Corporate Policy , the Institute for Policy Studies , CorpWatch, Corporate Accountability International , the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, and EarthRights International

The report card is based on 17 actions (9 in the House and 8 in the Senate) that form a good litmus test of whether lawmakers are working for the narrow interests of large corporations or for all of us.

According to the Coalitions first-ever Congressional Report Card on Corporate Accountability issued in 2013, only two Representatives and four Senators scored higher than 87 percent. The top scores went to former Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) in the House and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).[75]

"Robin Hood" tax

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April 7, 2014, (Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)DCNA’s Sandy Falwell joined Rev. Rodney Sadler, Rep. Keith Ellison, and Amanda Lugg and other activists at the U.S. Capitol last Friday to connect Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight for economic justice with a tax on Wall Street to fund efforts to reverse inequality.

"The Inclusive Prosperity Act would make Dr. King proud," said Rep. Keith Ellison at a kick off press conference in Washington against the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol.

"This is a holy day, a sacred day," Ellison continued. April 4 is a day America remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was on this day 46 years ago that he was assassinated, slain while in Memphis to provide support to city sanitation workers as part of a campaign for worker justice and to fight poverty.

And on this day in 2014 Rep. Ellison spoke of the Robin Hood Tax, embodied in his bill, H.R. 1579, a sales tax on Wall Street speculative trading that would create hundreds of billions of dollars a year in revenue for communities in need, a way to attain the economic equality Dr. King was seeking.

In Washington, William Lucy, president emeritus of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, who was with King in April, 1968, stood today outside the Capitol with Ellison remembering King and calling for passage of the Ellison Bill.

"The Inclusive Prosperity Act really is a vehicle to continue the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.," said Lucy. "The sanitation workers of Memphis wanted decency and dignity," he remembered. "Keith Ellison wants economic fairness. I applaud him."

"The originators of the idea for the tax are nurses," said Ellison, introducing Sandy Falwell, RN, a national vice president of National Nurses United.[76]

JStreet Dinner

One hundred and sixty members of the Congress allowed their nam es to be listed as honorary hosts for the JStreet inaugural conference Gala Dinner on 27 October 2009. AIPAC then began calling them, sometimes making threats against their reelection, to have them to withdraw their names. Twelve members of the Congress, mostly Republicans, withdrew their names. This was a victory for JStreet.

Two of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota, Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum, and the two of the Senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar attended the dinner.[77]

JStreet endorsement

The socialist infiltrated, anti-Israel "two state solution" JStreet PAC endorsed Keith Ellison in his 2014 Congressional race. [78].

2014 WOLA Awards

The Honorary Committee for Washington Office on Latin America's 2014 Human Rights Award Ceremony and Benefit Gala, consisted of;[79]

"Progressive Agenda"

Signers of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's May 12, 2015 launched The Progressive Agenda to Combat Income Inequality included US Rep. Keith Ellison.[80]

Congressmembers call on Obama to rescind Venezuela sanctions

May 15, 2015, Sixteen Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter calling on President Obama to withdraw sanctions on seven Venezuelan government officials, and also to withdraw the language of an executive order justifying the sanctions.

The sanctions to which the letter refers were based on legislation voted by Congress in December and signed by the president on Dec. 18. On Mar. 9, after the arrest of several Venezuelan political figures whom Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused of plotting a coup, President Obama issued an executive order declaring an "emergency" on the basis of a supposed "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the United States and its interests by Venezuela, and imposed the sanctions, mostly on mid-level security personnel.

The sanctions prevent them from traveling to the United States and freeze any assets they might have in this country.

The congresspersons who signed the letter were: Hank Johnson, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, Keith Ellison, Jose Serrano, Sam Farr, Karen Bass, Jan Schakowsky, Jim McDermott, Bobby Rush, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Mike Capuano, Charles Rangel, Chellie Pingree, and Earl Blumenauer.[81]

"Green Deen"

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"Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet", was written by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Keith Ellison.

The following people cotributed in some way to the development of the project: Van Jones, Dr. R. L'Heureux Lewis, Musa Syeed, Ahlam Syeed, Yasir Syeed, Ismail Ocasio, Idris Braithwaite, Samiha Rahman, Sister Aisha Al-Wadiwiyya, Rami Nasashibi, Amir Al-Islam, Debbie Altmontaser, Asad Jafri, Abdul Qadir, Nimco Ahmed, Omar Mullick, Cynthia Hamilton, Professors Rosa Marie Pegueros, Sonia Jarvis, Ed Sermier, Al Killilea, Lynn Pasquerella,

Those thanked for their help included Terry Marshall, Maytha Alhassen, Tanjila Islam, Najima Nazyat, Yusef Ramalize, Taj James, Jungwon Kim, Suyoung Kim, Wahija Akhtar, Awais Khaleel, Anas Canon, Bracken Hendricks, Mahea & Alea, Kizzy Charles-Guzman, Marianne Manilov, Zaid Mohiuddin, Jody Tonita, Ferentz Lafargue, CAIR-NY, the Green For All Fellows, and the 2008 National Urban Fellows.[82]

Populism 2015

Populism 2015 was held in April 2015, at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel, Washington DC.

Plenary: "Advancing a Populist Agenda that Puts People and Planet First".

This plenary will unveil the Populism2015 Agenda that outlines what we need to win in the next 10 years to put people and planet before profit and polluters. A bold agenda means we invest deeply in building our power at the scale of the crises we face, shifting the landscape of public debate toward our story of what’s broken and how to fix it, and taking on new campaigns to build the world we want instead of tinkering around the edges of the old economy and a broken democracy.

Speakers

Father Drinan Award

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The Council for a Livable World's 2015 Father Robert F. Drinan National Peace and Human Rights Award went to Senator Chris Murphy, Representative Keith Ellison, and journalist Laura Rozen, June 9, 2015, Frederick Douglass Museum Washington, DC.

Netroots Nation 2015

Speakers at Netroots Nation 2015, in Phoenix Arizona, one of the largest gatherings of progressives and the Democratic activist base, included Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Elizabeth Warren, Rosa DeLauro, Donna Edwards, Keith Ellison, Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Hank Johnson, Robin Kelly, Mark Takano.[84]

2013 ARA conference

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Keith Ellison, Jan Schakowsky, Bernie Sanders, and David Cicilline addressed Alliance for Retired Americans 2013 conference.

ARA PAF endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Keith Ellison in 2014, also 2012.[85]

2015 ARA National Legislative Conference

400 activists came to Washington, DC for the Alliance for Retired Americans’s 2015 National Legislative Conference in July . The activists reached more than 150 offices on Thursday’s Lobby Day, when they met with their Members of Congress and Senators and voiced their concerns about retiree issues. Alliance members lobbied their elected officials with very specific goals in mind, including: expand earned Social Security benefits; protect Social Security Disability Insurance; preserve Medicare and allow no cuts to it; and oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement.

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, began the conference with a fiery speech on Tuesday. Several elected officials addressed the attendees: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), Senators Bernie Sanders (VT), Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Representatives Keith Ellison (MN) and Ruben Gallego (AZ). On Wednesday evening, the President’s Award was presented to Judy Cato, Executive Vice-President Emerita, for her activism and years on the Alliance Executive Board.[86]

Working Families Party

In West Orange, Analilia Mejia pulled up to the venue for the evening’s New Jersey Working Families gala, a banquet hall with a strong Jersey vibe: mirrors, marble, patterned carpet. Bumper stickers reading “Kicking Ass for the Working Class” were available at the check-in table. The evening’s speakers included Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, a New Jersey lawmaker the Working Families Party has championed since she was in the state assembly, and Representative Keith Ellison, the Minnesotan who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. .[87]

Local Progress

On the Tuesday of the Democratic national Convention, 2016, a small group of elected officials from around the country gathered at the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia. The meeting was hosted by four leadership organizations, including Local Progress, a coalition of local officials organized around pushing progressive legislation at the local level. The theme of the morning was Local Progress' organizing principle: Regardless of what goes on at the federal level, municipalities have tremendous power to make meaningful change.

"All politics really is local," Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison told the group, that the Bernie protesters making their presence known this week, Ellison argued, should not be seen as a problem by members of the Democratic Party. "They're actually helping us," he argued. "The change that they are demanding and giving energy to, you can give voice to."

Christian Bowe, a member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), says that in his home state of New Jersey, the battle for raising the minimum wage for fast food workers has been undeniably influenced by Sanders' campaign. "

Mindy Isser, an organizer born and raised in Philadelphia, also spoke about the importance of labor organizing in the wake of the Democratic primary. "To build off the Sanders campaign, to build off the movement that we've been seeing everywhere, we need our unions to be more left-wing and we need rank-and-file members to be politicized," says Isser. She works on campaigns around public education and housing, and while she thinks that a progressive councilmember like Philadelphia's Helen Gym is a positive development for the city's politics, it's not nearly enough. She speaks of the importance of not only running more left-leaning candidates, but also "moving powerful people more left" after they take office.

"It's good to be skeptical of local elected officials," says Joe Dinkin, the national communications director for the Working Families Party. "That's the only way we can hold them accountable."

"Holding elected office is not the only way to make justice," Representative Ellison reminded the crowd at Local Progress. "Martin Luther King, Jr. never held office. My man Van Jones never held public office. It's not the only way to make change. But we know that it's a way to make change." As progressives move forward from the DNC, it's a good reminder that, often, the work taking place wholly outside of the convention hall has the greatest power to make change on the ground.[88]

US Council of Muslim Organizations

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Keith Ellison addressed the US Council of Muslim Organizations inaugural banquet in Virginia in 2014.

Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation

On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States [89]

The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.

Cair connections

2006 CAIR speech

August 2006–Ellison appears at unpublicized fundraiser with Council on American Islamic Relations executive director and Hamas supporter Nihad Awad among featured guests.[90]

CAIR banquet

More than 1,000 people turned out November 2006 at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet in Arlington, Va., to hear addresses by several elected officials, including Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress.

The event raised more than $620,000 to support CAIR's civil rights and advocacy work on behalf of the American Muslim community.

Elected officials who spoke at the sold-out event included Representative-elect Ellison (D-MN), as well as Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) and Albert Wynn (D-MD). Ellison and Jackson Lee offered their addresses by video. Saqib Ali, who was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates (District 39) on November 7, was also in attendance.

Other speakers included Special Agent in Charge Joseph Persichini, Jr. of the FBI's Washington Field Office, Fairfax County Police Chief Col. David M. Rohrer and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. Most members of CAIR's national board also took part in the banquet, which was emceed by Julia Shearson of CAIR-Ohio's Cleveland office.

Several Muslim community members received CAIR Islamic Community Service Awards during the dinner. The annual CAIR Rosa Parks Civil Liberties Scholarship went to Raashida Muhammad of Stillman College.[91]

Also speaking were Reps. Elijah Cummings , CAIR National Board chairman Parvez Ahmed, and executive director Nihad Awad. All praised CAIR for its dozen years of working to endorse, lobby and educate the American public and the country's leaders on the positive aspects of Islam and Muslims in America.[92]

2011 CAIR speech

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) hosted a community event in San Fernando Valley featuring the first Muslim U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison, who gave a keynote address on the theme, “Defending our Democracy.” The event also marked the Congressman’s first visit to the valley area.

Congressman Ellison shed light on the current anti-Muslim sentiment in society and how Muslims can effectively challenge it through education and activism. He delivered his remarks before a crowd of 150 community members at the Olympia Banquet Hall in Van Nuys.

The event, moreover, served an opportunity to share CAIR-LA’s advocacy work and strengthen outreach to the valley’s Muslim community. CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush expanded on the organization’s key grassroots efforts and community empowerment programs, such as engagement with the Japanese American community to organize Southland Muslims’ annual visit to Manzanar internment camp and the resulting high school learning exchange program that brings together Muslim and Japanese American youth.[93]

CAIR banquet speaker

Some 400 people turned out for the April 2013, 6th Annual Banquet of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).

The event, themed “Upholding the Constitution, Defending Civil Liberties,” included a silent auction, a networking social, an awards ceremony, and an opportunity to learn about CAIR-MN’s accomplishments in defense of civil rights over the past year.

In her welcome remarks, CAIR-MN Chair Ramla Bile spoke of CAIR-MN’s vision in creating a society in which all Americans are treated with respect and dignity. Senator Amy Klobuchar D-MN) and Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) were special guest speakers. Iowa state Representative Ako Abdul-Samad was the keynote speaker for the event.

The Master of Ceremonies was Phil Duran, incoming President of the Minnesota State Bar Association. The Courage Award was presented to community activist Dr. Richard Johnson and the Justice Works award was presented to attorney Jordan Kushner.

Banquet attendees included community members, leaders of mosques and Muslim organizations, business executives, and interfaith partners. This year’s banquet included 12 sponsors and over 20 table sponsors from local corporations, small businesses, law schools, and nonprofit organizations.[94]

Praising CAIR

“As a firm believer in civil and human rights, including the principles upon which our country was founded, I appreciate CAIR’s work to defend the U.S. Constitution and safeguard the rights of all Americans.” - Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) (September 2014). [95]

Endorsed CAIR, 2016

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2016 Platform Drafting Committee

Bernie Sanders supporters Dr. Cornel West and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will be among those on the Democratic Party's important Platform Drafting Committee after the Vermont senator won a key concession as he looks to leave his mark on the party's platform.

The roster of the drafting committee, released by the Democratic National Committee May 2016, reflects the party's agreement that Sanders would have five supporters on the committee, compared to six for Hillary Clinton.

Sanders previously panned DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who appoints all of the committee members, for failing to include enough of his supporters on an initial list. But the latest statement notes that Wasserman Schultz allocated the campaign's seats "proportionally according to the current vote tally."

Sanders supporters on the committee are author Bill McKibben, Arab American Institute head James Zogby and Native American activist Deborah Parker.

Clinton loyalists on the committee are Ambassador Wendy Sherman, former Clinton staffer and current Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden, Ohio Rep. Alicia Reece, environmentalist Carol Browner, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez and union head Paul Booth.

The remaining four members were chosen by Wasserman Schultz.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who has endorsed Clinton, will lead the committee and called Sanders's outsized role on the platform "pretty unusual" for a candidate that likely will not be the party's nominee during a Monday interview on MSNBC. And California Rep. Barbara Lee, who has not endorsed either candidate.

Former Rep. Howard Berman and philanthropist and former CEO of Claire's Stores Bonnie Schaefer were also appointed.[96]

DSA support

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After the Ellison Defeat: Continuing the Struggle Against the Neoliberal Democratic Party Establishment

Statement of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America, February 27, 2016;

This weekend the Democratic National Committee (DNC) failed to choose Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) for Chair of the DNC. Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) backed Ellison’s election as part of a rebellion of progressive Democratic Party activists against a neoliberal Democratic Party national leadership that places corporate interests ahead of the interests of working people.
DSA understood that the Democratic Party establishment would use every tactic to oppose Ellison, including a whisper campaign that the party could not afford to have a Muslim as its party chair. DSA has serious doubts as to whether the Democratic Party can be transformed into a true party of the Left.
We also recognize, however, that many progressives rooted in labor, the feminist movement, immigrant communities, and Black, Latino, and other communities of color often use the Democratic ballot line for pragmatic reasons.
DSA viewed the Ellison campaign as just one small part of a broader struggle to develop a majoritarian politics – both at the ballot box and in the streets – that defends the interests of working people of all races, genders and nationalities against the super-rich and corporations.
The national Democratic Party’s pro-corporate, neoliberal leadership of the past several decades led not only to the victory of an openly racist, misogynist and Islamophobic fake populist as our current President; it also contributed to the loss of both Houses of Congress and Republican control of 68 out of 99 chambers in the country’s state legislatures.
DSA worked with a broad coalition of trade unions, Sanders campaign veterans, and Black, Latino, Asian-American and indigenous activists to elect Ellison chair of the DNC. The close nature of the race shows the growing strength of these social forces.

But even if Ellison had won, only the continued organization of a broad left coalition in the streets would have given him the leverage to take on the neoliberal, corporate fundraising and lobbying machine that dominates the national institutional leadership of the Democrats. That the Democrat establishment chose to mobilize against Ellison and the forces behind them shows their fear of the Left within and without the party.
DSA remains committed to building a mass movement to defend those rendered vulnerable by a Trump presidency and by Republican control of all three branches of government at the federal level and in 25 states. Such a coalition needs the backbone of a strong organized socialist presence within it and – crucially – a commitment to challenge and defeat neoliberal Democrats in primaries by running not only anti-corporate Democrats but explicitly democratic socialist candidates.
Ellison’s loss should not dispirit us. It reaffirms what we already knew. The circle of lobbyists, millionaires and billionaires that control the commanding heights of the Democratic Party won’t give up power willingly. And the way forward is for working people to build up independent bases of power, where they can come together, set their own agendas, win elections and create change on their own terms.
The disappointment of many Sanders activists with the neoliberal Democrats’ inability to defeat Donald Trump has led DSA to more than double in size from 8,000 to nearly 17,000 members in just the past fourteen weeks.
DSA remains committed to broadening out the post-Sanders trend into a multiracial majoritarian coalition for the democratic socialist alternative to both neoliberal capitalism and right-wing nationalism. The need for a political revolution is as pressing as ever.

Staff

The following have worked as staff members for Keith Ellison:[97]

External links

References

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