Republican Danielle Stella recently registered with the Federal Election Commission as a candidate for the GOP nomination in Minnesota’s fifth congressional district to unseat Ilhan Omar. But she’s also registered somewhere else — with the police department.
The Minnesota congressional candidate who promises to be tough on crime faces felony shoplifting charges.
Stella, 31, has been arrested twice this year, accused of stealing 279 items worth more than $2,300 from a Target and $40 worth of goods from a grocery store, The Guardian reported.
“I am not guilty of these crimes. In this country I am innocent until proven guilty and that is the law,” said Stella, who is a special-education teacher. “If I was guilty of crimes, I would never run for public office, putting myself in the public eye under a microscope to be attacked by all political sides.”
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According to Stella, she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and that she “normally she goes to Target with someone because of anxiety around people,” according to a criminal complaint cited by The Guardian.
She was arrested at Target January 8, and on April 28, “she was arrested in nearby Bloomington, Minnesota, for allegedly stealing a bottle of tick spray for cats, according to the report,” The New York Post reported.
Stella can still run and win the seat. “A felony can’t prevent someone from being on the ballot for a federal office because the constitution doesn’t say anything about felonies,” Minnesota Secretary of state spokesperson Peter Bartz-Gallagher told Quartz.
But, a felony conviction would prevent Stella from voting in the state while their sentence was being served and the crime would also prevent her from holding state or local office while the sentence was pending.