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Franken-Coleman Update, 12/10/08: FBI Investigating Coleman, Wealthy Friend

hourglass.thumbnail.jpgHowdy folks! Been remiss on my recount-monitoring duties lately, and I’ll get to discussing the recount soon. But first, we interrupt this program to bring you some news that’s breaking nationally now, but has been simmering along locally for weeks. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, via HuffPo, we have this:

Federal investigators are looking into allegations that a longtime friend and benefactor tried to steer money to U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, the Pioneer Press has learned.

Agents with the FBI have talked to or made efforts to talk to people in Texas familiar with the allegations, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Houston is where the first of two lawsuits was filed alleging Nasser Kazeminy, a Bloomington financier, tried to steer $100,000 to Coleman via his wife’s Minneapolis employer. The second suit, filed in Delaware, alleges Kazeminy initially tried to get money directly to the senator.

Now, Coleman’s spokesman LeRoy Coleman (dunno if he’s a rellie — and I almost typed "Jenkins") denies that the FBI’s been talking to them:

Neither Coleman nor his office has been contacted by the FBI, spokesman LeRoy Coleman said Tuesday morning.

"We have not been contacted by any law enforcement or investigative authority on this matter," he said.

Well, the FBI doesn’t have to talk to you to be investigating you, which would explain the back-tracking-ish nature of this statement by Norm’s camp:

On Tuesday evening, Coleman’s campaign released the following statement: "We are not aware of any investigation that is under way, nor have we been contacted by any agency with respect to this matter. As we have said repeatedly, we welcome any investigation of these lawsuits by the appropriate authorities to get to the bottom of these baseless, sleazy and politically inspired allegations."

The campaign provided no evidence for the claim that the allegations are "politically inspired."

Well, if the FBI, under a Republican president, can bestir itself to investigate possible corrupt behavior on the part of a Republican senator, let’s just say that there’s more to this than politics. (The Minnesota Independent notes the stunning similarity, right down to the spousal involvement, in what’s been alleged about Blagojevich and Coleman. They also note that Fitzgerald has provided evidence essentially exonerating Obama from any involvement in Blago’s stupidity.) And, as this DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor, Minnesota’s local Democratic Party org) press release shows, questions about FBI curiosity in Coleman’s affairs (his financial ones, anyway) have been swirling around for weeks in the Twin Cities.

Stay tuned, folks. Things are about to get very interesting.

As for the recount: Nothing’s much changed, aside from both campaigns withdrawing more of their ballot challenges before the canvassing board does it for them. This will have the salutary effect of speeding up the review of the remaining, legitimately challenged ballots. The canvassing board’s still waiting to hear from the state AG on the fate of the improperly rejected absentee ballots. More on this as it happens, assuming that Norm Coleman doesn’t render the whole process moot by getting hauled off in cuffs in the next few weeks.

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Franken-Coleman Recount Update, 12/10/08: We Interrupt This Program

hourglass.thumbnail.jpgHowdy folks! Been remiss on my recount-monitoring duties lately, and I’ll get to discussing the recount soon. But first, we interrupt this program to bring you some news that’s breaking nationally now, but has been simmering along locally for weeks. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, via HuffPo, we have this:

Federal investigators are looking into allegations that a longtime friend and benefactor tried to steer money to U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, the Pioneer Press has learned.

Agents with the FBI have talked to or made efforts to talk to people in Texas familiar with the allegations, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Houston is where the first of two lawsuits was filed alleging Nasser Kazeminy, a Bloomington financier, tried to steer $100,000 to Coleman via his wife’s Minneapolis employer. The second suit, filed in Delaware, alleges Kazeminy initially tried to get money directly to the senator.

Now, Coleman’s spokesman LeRoy Coleman (dunno if he’s a rellie — and I almost typed "Jenkins") denies that the FBI’s been talking to them:

Neither Coleman nor his office has been contacted by the FBI, spokesman LeRoy Coleman said Tuesday morning.

"We have not been contacted by any law enforcement or investigative authority on this matter," he said.

Well, the FBI doesn’t have to talk to you to be investigating you, which would explain the back-tracking-ish nature of this statement by Norm’s camp:

On Tuesday evening, Coleman’s campaign released the following statement: "We are not aware of any investigation that is under way, nor have we been contacted by any agency with respect to this matter. As we have said repeatedly, we welcome any investigation of these lawsuits by the appropriate authorities to get to the bottom of these baseless, sleazy and politically inspired allegations."

The campaign provided no evidence for the claim that the allegations are "politically inspired."

Well, if the FBI, under a Republican president, can bestir itself to investigate possible corrupt behavior on the part of a Republican senator, let’s just say that there’s more to this than politics. (The Minnesota Independent notes the stunning similarity, right down to the spousal involvement, in what’s been alleged about Blagojevich and Coleman. They also note that Fitzgerald has provided evidence essentially exonerating Obama from any involvement in Blago’s stupidity.) And, as this DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor, Minnesota’s local Democratic Party org) press release shows, questions about FBI curiosity in Coleman’s affairs (his financial ones, anyway) have been swirling around for weeks in the Twin Cities.

Stay tuned, folks. Things are about to get very interesting.

As for the recount: Nothing’s much changed, aside from both campaigns withdrawing more of their ballot challenges before the canvassing board does it for them. This will have the salutary effect of speeding up the review of the remaining, legitimately challenged ballots. The canvassing board’s still waiting to hear from the state AG on the fate of the improperly rejected absentee ballots. More on this as it happens, assuming that Norm Coleman doesn’t render the whole process moot by getting hauled off in cuffs in the next few weeks.

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