Well, ain’t payback a bitch… It seems that Minnesota's Norm Coleman, the man who became a US Senator by riding a last-minute wave of funeral-bashing craziness after the untimely death of Senator Paul Wellstone in 2002, may be in trouble this election season. Not just electoral trouble, but legal trouble too.
After starting off his Senate career in 2003 by declaring, “I am a 99% improvement over Paul Wellstone,” Coleman trashed Wellstone’s legacy of resistance to President Bush’s intervention in Iraq—and helped push the invasion on the American public. Now, not only are the political chickens of Coleman’s tenure coming home to roost— Wellstone’s old friend Al Franken has since made defeating Coleman his mission in life— but it seems Coleman’s re-election campaign may be undone by some other last-minute events—revelations about his financial improprieties.
In a lawsuit filed this week in Texas, a businessman in partnership with one of Coleman’s biggest supporters accused his partner of funneling $75,000 surreptitiously disguised as legitimate invoice payments to a business employing Coleman’s wife, Laurie. The supporter, Nasser Kazeminy, is accused of making these payments over the objections of his partner, Paul McKim, who filed suit. McKim claims Kazeminy told him, “U.S. Senators don't make [expletive deleted]," as he announced his intention to help Coleman’s family by using his company funds.
The news about Coleman comes on the heels of AK Senator Ted Stevens’ conviction this week for hiding similar financial support from a political contributor. All in all, a bad time for this to happen for Coleman.
It’s tough when news like this breaks at the very end of a campaign, before the public has time to process it. That’s the Coleman campaign’s response to the McKim complaint, which they deny. Coleman’s campaign wonders why this couldn’t wait till after the election. We wonder whether Coleman would be running for re-election at all if his response after Wellstone’s death in 2002 had been to ask for calm, instead of making attacks on colleagues and family of the late Senator— right before the election.