Ellison's office confirmed to the Huffington Post that he indeed attend the 2008 convention and other conventions organized by ISNA, while Carson's office did not return Huffington Post's request for comment. Huffington Post pointed out that President Obama has addressed the group's convention in 2015, via a video message. ISNA, meanwhile, has denied any connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Huffington Post.
Gaubatz was described as a "National Security Consultant" in the hearing's witness list, and has long accused Islamic advocacy groups of being front groups to influence U.S. national security policy. He once posed as an intern at the Muslim civil rights group Council on American Islamic Relations, where he collected documents for a 2009 book co-authored by his father, "Muslim Mafia."
He was testifying in front of the the Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, of which Cruz is the chairman.
Later in the hearing, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) praised Ellison for his "great patriotism."
Another witness, Zuhdi Jasser -- the founder of American Islamic Forum for Democracy and “A Battle for the Soul of Islam” -- bashed President Obama for speaking at a Baltimore mosque in February.
“Here’s a mosque that had gender apartheid as a policy within its mosque. It had a sermon which was a screed against homosexuals a year prior, that our Muslim reform movement publicized and said, ‘Look at it. Why is he going to this mosque?’” Jasser said. “It appeared to be a bigotry of low expectations that somehow we don't hold Muslims accountable to the same values we do everybody else in the West and in this country.”
Jasser then referenced a speech Obama gave at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, in which the President compared concerns about Islam and terrorism today to Christianity and the Crusades.
“We'll give lectures to Christians, Jews and others, but when it comes to muslims, the mosque he chooses as a backdrop is in the 13th century when it comes to women's rights, gay rights and other rights.”