Keith Ellison

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U.S. Representative

Keith Ellison (D)


Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: House Committee on Financial Services, House Committee on Foreign Affairs
(subcommittees and past assignments)
Next election: Nov. 6, 2012

Primary challenge: No

Incumbent running: Yes

2012 candidates for MN-05

Confirmed: Chris Fields, Keith Ellison
Possible: None so far
Out: None so far
(more info & editing for MN-05)
On the Web
Official website

Keith Ellison has been a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota, since 2007. He is the first Muslim to serve in the U.S. Congress.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

Click through the score to see the records of other members of Congress and full descriptions of the individual votes.

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union 0 - 0/25 not avail.
AFSCME not avail. not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action 100 - 20/20 100 - 20/20
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 50 - 10/20 not avail.

Iraq War

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Association with the Nation of Islam

In 1990, Ellison wrote an article for a University of Minnesota newspaper (he was then a law student there) defending Louis Farrakhan against accusations of Antisemitism. He later retreated completely from this defense, stating that he was in err, and that he should have examined more closely the accusations leveled against the Nation of Islam founder at that time. [1]

Ellison's adversaries found further fodder for linking him to the Nation of Islam when it was revealed that he worked with the group for 18 months to organize the Minnesota contingent of the Million Man March. Ellison stated that while he collaborated closely with the group on the project, he was never a member of it. [2]

Improper disclosure of campaign funds

In early 2006, the Minnesota State Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board reprimanded Ellison for unreported contributions, discrepancies in cash balances, and misclassified disbursements. These transgressions occurred in the years 2002-2004. In 2005 when the board tried to get more information about the problems in Ellison's reports, they got no response from Ellison or his treasurer (his wife Kim). When the board heard nothing, they opened the investigation. Ellison was subpoenaed and fined. The board has also fined Ellison numerous times for late filings. [3]

Elects to take congressional oath on the Koran

After his election to Congress, Ellison opted to take his oath of office on the Koran. This announcement prompted criticism from Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Vir.), who called Ellison's intention to use the Koran a threat to American values.

Main article: Virgil Goode#Opposition to Muslim immigrants

On January 2, 2007, Ellison announced that he would swear-in on a copy of the Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. Specifically, he said that he would take the official oath of office along with the other incoming members in the House chamber, then use the Koran in his individual, ceremonial oath with new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). His spokesperson, Rick Jauert stated, "Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers' belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself.” [4]

AIPAC-funded trip to Israel

The American Israel Education Foundation, an organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), funds trips to Israel for freshman members of Congress. In July 2007, Ellison went on his second trip to Israel courtesy of AIEF. About this trip he stated:

"Whenever you're talking about dialogue with Hamas, it's something that's extremely controversial...I'm not trying to step into some controversy, but I am trying to be a voice for dialogue. I'm trying to go there to be a helpful figure, not a person who's going to stir up controversies."[1]


Born in Detroit in 1963, Ellison was one of five children in a Roman Catholic family. He converted to Islam at 19 while attending Wayne State University. In 1987, he moved to Minnesota to attend University of Minnesota Law School, where he earned his Juris Doctor in 1990. He then practiced law privately in Minneapolis. In 2002, he was elected to the Minnesota State Legislature. He and his wife Kim have four children. [5]

Congressional career

2006 elections

In the 2006 congressional elections, Ellison defeated Republican Alan Fine to win the seat vacated by Rep. Martin Olav Sabo, who retired.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Top Contributors to during the 2008 Election Cycle
DonorAmount (US Dollars)
TCF Financial$ 17,000
General Mills$ 11,500
Masimo Corp$ 11,000
Home Creations$ 10,700
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans$ 10,250
American Crystal Sugar$ 10,000
American Federation of Teachers$ 10,000
Communications Workers of America$ 10,000
Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers$ 10,000
Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union$ 10,000
Source: The Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Note: Contributions are not from the organizations themselves, but are rather from
the organization's PAC, employees or owners. Totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
Links to more campaign contribution information for Keith Ellison
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

  • House Committee on Financial Services
    • Subcommitee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology
    • Subcommitee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
    • Subcommitee on Housing and Community Opportunity
  • House Committee on the Judiciary
    • Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
    • Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims

More Background Data


DC office
  • 1027 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
    Ph: 202-225-4755 Fax: 202-225-4886
    Webform email
District offices
  • 2100 Plymouth Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55411,
    Ph: 612-522-1212 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.


Keith Ellison posts on Twitter at

Latest posts:

See all the members of Congress who Twitter

Articles and Resources


  1. AP, "Only Muslim in US Congress to return to Israel in group meeting with Palestinian Abbas," IHT, August 1, 2007.


Local blogs and discussion sites


Semantic data (Edit data)