AbdiJohnson never provided any evidence for his claim, and searches of Somali Spot posts show that the user was notorious on the site as a troll known for making up claims to rile up the site's other members. The post was later deleted.
That didn't stop the claim from getting picked up days later by Minnesota lawyer Scott Johnson, whose conservative Power Line blog became briefly famous in the 2000 election for discrediting forged documents on George W. Bush's National Guard service. In a post based on AbdiJohnson's claims, Johnson speculated that Omar, by then the winner of the state legislature primary, had married her own brother in an immigration scheme.
"Let me note here that Omar's marriage to her brother, if it occurred in fact, is illegal under Minnesota law," Johnson wrote.
Johnson has continued to write stories suggesting Elmi is Omar's brother, writing his latest post about Omar on Thursday. Johnson confirmed to The Daily Beast that the original claim that Omar married her brother was based on the deleted Somali Spot post. Asked to cite the most compelling evidence that Elmi is Omar's brother, Johnson said only "social media evidence and [the] sham nature of marriage."
"She has acted from the beginning like she is hiding something," Johnson wrote in an email.
Omar's efforts to disprove the claims have been stymied by the fact that -- like earlier right-wing conspiracy theories alleging that Hillary Clinton eats children in a Washington pizzeria or murdered Democratic staffer Seth Rich -- her critics never appear satisfied with her explanations. In 2018, Omar showed a reporter from the Star Tribune pictures of immigration documents from when her family entered the United States that list her siblings' names. The list did not include anyone by Elmi's name.
"It's really strange, right, to try to prove a negative," Omar told the paper. "If someone was asking me, do I have a brother by that name, I don't. If someone was asking ... are there court documents that are false ... there is no truth to that."