Tracking the Omar Fateh scandals

Freshman state Senator Omar Fateh (DFL-Minneapolis) has been generating more than his share of headlines lately. Tracking his various scandals requires a scorecard, if not an entire program.

The latest scandal involves a recently concluded federal perjury trial, where his brother-in-law was convicted of lying to a grand jury concerning the handling of absentee ballots during the primary election of August 2020. Fateh represents Senate District 62, which covers a large swath of south Minneapolis.

The trial of the brother-in-law, Muse Mohamud Mohamed, revealed a larger FBI investigation into the conduct of the August 2020 election. The Minnesota Reformer and the Sahan Journal have delivered in-depth reporting on the topic.

The ballots in question were handled by the campaign of now Senator Fatah, according to testimony at the trial on Monday, which took place at the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis (Sahan Journal, May 10).

The trial also revealed that Muse Mohamed is the brother of another Democratic politician, Zayed Mohamed, the DFL-endorsed candidate for Senate District 63. This district is currently represented by Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, who is retiring this year. The district currently covers southeastern Minneapolis and the international airport. The newly redrawn district omits the airport and centers on south Minneapolis. As the Democratic candidate, she will, in all likelihood, be elected in the November general election.

Muse Mohamed’s trial lasted only a day and a half and the jury deliberated for a mere 40 minutes before finding him guilty on two counts of perjury. The Associated Press account of the trial wants you to know how rare actual voter fraud is in America.

In the August primary election of 2020, running as a Democratic Socialist, Fateh defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Hayden by a vote of 11,109 to 9,140, a margin of less than 2,000 votes. With the Democratic nomination in hand, Fateh cruised to election in November, with a 9-1 margin over his Republican opponent.

In that same election, another contested primary in nearby Senate District 59 attracted only 14,000 total votes. A third race in nearby District 65 had fewer than 12,000 votes cast.

Reporting by the Minnesota Reformer links Muse Muhamed and his siblings to a single address in Minneapolis. The Reformer reports that Zayad Mohamed received five campaign donations from that address in her campaign for state Senate. Records on file at the state Campaign Finance Board show that Fateh also received donations from donors listing that same address, as follows:

It’s not clear how these other residents of 3136 Bloomington Ave. are related to the Mohamed siblings or one another. Worth noting that Mubarak Mohamed lists his occupation as a program advisor for the U.S. Department of State. Real estate websites describe the property as a single-family home of about 2,000 square feet.

The Sahan Journal reports that the FBI is also looking into a Minneapolis City Council race that appeared on that same August 2020 ballot. The only race matching that description was a special election to fill a vacancy in Ward 6. Jamal Osman prevailed in a twelve-candidate field to win the seat, gaining 27 percent of the vote. Osman was re-elected to a full term in November 2021.

Jamal’s brother and campaign staffer Liban Osman was featured in a July 2020 Project Veritas report. In the video, Liban boasts of having collected 300 ballots for Jamal. Later Liban told Fox 9 that the actual number was closer to 20. Regardless, possessing more than three ballots at a time is against state law, a law waived during part of the pandemic election of 2020. It’s not clear that Liban’s ballot handling occurred before or during the waiver period.

Sen. Fateh was also linked to another Minnesota scandal, this one involving the free-food nonprofit Feeding Our Future. Fateh’s campaign committee accepted, and then later returned, donations from 11 individuals tied directly or indirectly to the scandal. The donations were among many made by these and other individuals to Minneapolis-based politicians—

Sen. Fateh was also the subject of a report by the Minnesota Reformer recounting his efforts to obtain a state grant for Somali TV. Fateh introduced Senate File 2238 in March of last year, which would earmark $500,000 from the state’s arts and cultural heritage fund for the Minneapolis-based nonprofit. Somali TV endorsed Fateh’s upset election bid in 2020.

One hand washes the other.