Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, currently fighting to protect his seat from vile comedian Al Franken, got some good news and some bad news this week. The good news? Minneapolis officials lost 133 ballots, and they just gave up on finding and counting them. Those 133 ballots would most likely have given Franken a net recount gain of about 46 votes, based on the voting habits of Minneapolitans. So Coleman's 192-vote lead is looking good, as the board of elections moves to considering the thousands of challenged ballots. But here's the bad news: Coleman's under investigation by the FBI!
Two lawsuits filed before the election assert that a Houston-based oil-drilling company owned by a Minnesotan financier named Nasser Kazeminy kept trying to funnel all this money to Coleman and his nutty wife Laurie. Kazeminy first just tried to give money to Norm, and that didn't really work, so he had his company Deep Marine contract with an insurer that contracts with Coleman's wife and then three payments of $25k were made the the insurer, and that money was supposed to find its way to Laurie Coleman.
The Senator has reported a couple lavish private plane rides Kazeminy gave him, though there's still be no word on the fancy Neiman Marcus shopping sprees Kazeminy supposedly funded for Coleman (Republicans in Minnesota will really save Neiman Marcus's bottom line during this recession).
Now, the Pioneer-Press reports that FBI agents "have talked to or made efforts to talk to people in Texas familiar with the allegations, according to a source familiar with the situation."
This unreported gifting is the sort of nonsense that brought down Ted Stevens, remember, and the money-funneling is pretty bad news (if the FBI finds anything). And obviously it would be hilarious if Coleman won his recount and was then indicted on felony charges, but that is still a long ways off, and also Governor Pawlenty would probably appoint Michelle Bachmann or someone almost as bad, so really, no one wins.
Norm Coleman picked the right week to be a midwestern politician investigated for corruption.