Friday, May 15, 2009

Just Another Day At The Office

Poor Norm Coleman. The soon to be ex-Senator from Minnesota continues to contest the election results and has or will soon file an appeal with that state's Supreme Court requiring that more ballots be counted, or thrown out, or something. That's possible because the Republican Party is paying the bills for all of this legal action in order to keep Al Franken from taking his seat and giving the Democrats the magical number of 60 in the Senate which would thwart any filibustering.

OK, politics as usual, especially when it comes to the Senate. I suspect that the GOP has set aside enough money for a challenge to the US Supreme Court, should that become necessary. However, the question now is whether the GOP is going to be willing to fork out money for some personal legal expenses that Norm Coleman just might be facing in the near future.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The FBI continues to investigate the relationship between former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and a close friend who has been a major political donor, according to a source who was questioned by the FBI.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said the interview with two FBI agents occurred within the past two weeks. They asked questions about an allegation that Bloomington financier Nasser Kazeminy paid for suits and other items for Coleman and his wife, Laurie, at Nieman Marcus in Minneapolis.

"They said they've been talking to a lot of people,'' the source said Thursday.

Depending on if and when the alleged purchases occurred, the arrangement could violate Senate rules regulating gifts to members.

Kazeminy is a wealthy businessman whose friendship with Coleman dates to when Coleman was mayor of St. Paul. Kazeminy has been a major contributor to Coleman's campaigns and to the Republican Party.

In the two weeks before the November U.S. Senate election, two lawsuits were filed, accusing Kazeminy of funneling payments from a Texas company he controls to a Minneapolis insurance firm where Laurie Coleman was employed to benefit the Colemans.

To be fair, Norm Coleman issued a statement when word came out on the investigation that he would of course cooperate with the investigation of his good friend. Smart move. The investigation by the Justice Department began before the new administration took office or was even elected, so he couldn't very well claim any kind of vendetta.

The problem is that it is entirely possible that the investigation will heat up while Coleman continues his quixotic quest to set aside the fact that 300 or so more Minnesotans voted for Al Franken than for him. As the investigation gets more personal and the story gets out beyond the Minnesota newspapers, will the Republican Party be quite as anxious to support him at all costs?

That's hard to tell, given the current make-up of the Republican leadership (such as it is). Mr. Coleman had better hope that his party will help with the legal expenses. A man who has re-financed his home as often as Norm Coleman has probably can't go forward with the continuing legal fees without that help.

The only thing that keeps me from being as smugly satisfied as this kind of story would normally make me (why, yes: I am vindictive) is that in the meantime the state of Minnesota is short one senator in the 111th Congress. This whole debacle is hardly fair to those citizens. I just hope those citizens have a long memory.

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