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The exceptionalism of Norm Coleman

by The Big E on February 6, 2009 · 1 comment

How Norm Coleman has always gotten away with it

Those of us who have been following former Sen. Norm Coleman closely know that he has always gotten away with it.  It could be a sweetheart apartment deal from a political ally at below market rates.  It could be having this same political ally’s company paying his utility bills.  It could be another ally buying Norm tens of thousands of dollars worth of tailored clothing.  It could be this same ally funneling $75,000 to Norm through his wife without reporting it to the Senate.

So it is no surprise that Norm wants to sidestep campaign finance law and use his campaign funds to pay for his defense against the FBI investigation into the charges of not reporting the gifts totaling $75,000.

He took donations for his re-election campaign. That became his recount campaign.

Now U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman wants to make it his criminal defense fund.

Can he?

One expert says he can’t; another says maybe; and regulators say they’ll listen to his arguments before deciding.

Coleman, a figure in two lawsuits against friend and benefactor Nasser Kazeminy, is drafting a letter to federal regulators asking permission to use his re-election campaign money to pay his lawyers.

How does Norm get away with it?
With all the rumors that have circulated for years about his womanizing, he got away with it because nobody would speak on the record about it.

Between his tenure as Mayor of St. Paul and running for the US Senate, he got a sweet job that probably didn’t require him to do anything.

Before the Republican Jewish Coalition position, Coleman’s previous foray into the private sector – a part-time $140,000-a-year job at a local law firm he took after leaving the mayor’s office while gearing up for his successful U.S. Senate run in 2002 – also attracted unflattering attention.

His law license had lapsed and the firm, which also lobbied at the state Capitol, said his main job was to bring in new business.

The campaign of his initial Democratic opponent in the race, then-incumbent Sen. Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash before Election Day, ripped Coleman for taking the job, labeling him a “corporate rainmaker,” and for not revealing his salary.

Now that he’s an ex-Senator, he’s got another job that doesn’t require that he do much of anything.  It must be great to have so many friends taking care you.

So how is he going to get away with using campaign donations for legal defense against charges unrelated to his political activities?  Just claim that it is all political.

“I consider any charges that are brought a week before an election to be inherently suspect,” [Norm’s attorney in this case Doug] Kelley said.

Coleman campaign spokesman Luke Friedrich said, “We intend to have any legal fees related to what we believe to be a politically inspired legal action to be covered by the senator’s campaign.” The campaign will not pay for Laurie Coleman’s attorney, he said.

All the other corrupt Republican politicians have used their campaign funds for their legal defense.  Everybody else is doing it may be how Norm gets away with it this time.

I guess that our only hope of Norm not getting away with it is he has to spend a little time in Club Fed for not disclosing some of those many gifts he’s received.

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