Sunday, November 02, 2008

Facing Campaign Financing Fraud Charges, Sen. Norm Coleman Tries to Smear Minnesota DFL Challenger Al Franken

This week, a Republican businessman in Texas by the name of Paul McKim filed a lawsuit this week against Nasser Kazeminy. Kazeminy is one of Sen. Norm Coleman's biggest donors and closest friends. In fact, he's the same man who flew Coleman on his private jet to vacations in the Bahamas and Paris.

Only a small portion of the lawsuit has anything to do with Norm Coleman -- but the part that does is incredibly serious. McKim's sworn affidavit, since corroborated by a second lawsuit, describes an effort to funnel $75,000 to Sen. Coleman's wife.

So, are the allegations true? That's yet to be determined. Still, no one at the Al Franken for U.S. Senate campaign reportedly knew a thing about this lawsuit, and had never even heard of this company or Paul McKim, until they read about it in the newspaper.

Then came yesterday. Instead of answering these very serious allegations, Norm Coleman released a TV ad, blaming DFL challenger Al Franken for the lawsuit. It shows Coleman, seated on a couch next to his wife, Laurie, as he looks directly into the camera and says, "This time, Al Franken's crossed the line... I'm fair game for his ugly smears. My wife and family are not."

"It's his most dishonest ad of the year," wrote Andy Barr, Al Franken for U.S. Senate's communications director, to campaign supporters today. "That ad is up on TV right now. And it's a despicable lie. Franken had nothing to do with this lawsuit. Norm Coleman, faced with sworn allegations of a conspiracy to funnel him improper payments, is trying to deflect blame by lying about Al Franken in a TV ad."

According to the Star Tribune, Coleman called this an "11th-hour attack" on his re-election campaign. The Star Tribune also reported that, "within an hour [of the ad's airing], Franken abruptly canceled an appearance at a campaign rally in Minneapolis to hustle over to a DFL Party news conference, where he denied the accusations and called Coleman's remarks 'insulting to voters.'"

There, Franken looked directly into the camera and flat-out discredited the notion of any wrongdoing. "Senator Coleman looks the people of Minnesota in the eye and lies," he said. "I'm being blamed for crossing a line and I didn't do a thing. And our campaign didn't do a thing."

"It has been a long campaign, and a tough one," noted Barr. "Norm Coleman has sunk to historic depths to smear Al Franken and make this election about something -- anything other than his own record and the issues that affect the people of Minnesota."

DSCC Issues Memo: "It's Time for Norm to Go"
These lawsuits come within days of a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee memo, rhetorically asking, "Does Norm Coleman deserve to be re-elected?"

It goes on to highlight a handful of compelling numbers reflecting Coleman's service as Minnesota's senior U.S. Senator in the seat once held by the late Paul Wellstone:
* 52 free trips paid for by special interests
* Over $600,000 from big oil and drug companies
* Living almost rent-free in the $1,000,000 home of a Washington insider
* Ranked the 4th most corrupt senator in Washington
* Coleman voted nearly 90% of the time with George Bush -- together, running up a $10 trillion national debt

The DSCC memo cites dozens of credible sources -- including specific votes that Coleman has cast -- and then concludes, "It’s time for Norm to go."

GoodBiz113's take: We agree: It is time for Norm Coleman to go. After all he's done for George W. Bush, big corporations and myriad special interests, he should be able to land at least one or two consulting and/or lobbying gigs. Now, it's time for small businesses, entrepreneurs, farmers, etc., in Minnesota and across the nation to have real champions in the U.S. Senate. Al Franken will aptly fill Paul Wellstone's seat with integrity, vision, ingenuity, compassion and, very likely, some terrific post-Bush era humor, too.

SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Star Tribune

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