The Plank

What's Coleman's Angle?

It's easy to understand why Republican Senators like John Cornyn are eager for the Franken-Coleman legal brouhaha to drag on for years: it'll deprive Democrats of a Senate seat for that long. But what's in it for Coleman? I suppose it's possible he's delusional enough to think that some court, at some point, will actually declare that he and not Franken won the race, but that seems doubtful. And, while it's easy for guys like Cornyn to wage this legal battle, it has to be hell for Coleman. So why's he bothering?

One clue to Coleman's thinking might be found in this story from The Hill yesterday on his campaign finances:

Can Norm Coleman pay his non-Senate race legal bills from his campaign committee?

The controversy over payments allegedly ordered by Coleman
donor/friend Nasser Kazeminy to an agency where Coleman’s wife worked
has begun to bubble again, adding to Coleman’s plate and his legal
bills. This time, a second source has corroborated that allegation.

Coleman announced
in December that he would pay lawyers fees related to the case from his
campaign fund, and his spokesman said at the time that the campaign was
preparing to seek approval from the Federal Election Commission (FEC)
and Senate Ethics Committee. That means asking the FEC for an advisory

But as of Thursday, more than three months later, Coleman’s campaign
has filed no request for an advisory opinion, according to the FEC

Putting aside the whole recount battle, Coleman is likely facing some steep personal legal bills from this Kazeminy case, among others. (Politico has a nice run-down of the world of hurt Coleman's likely to be in on the legal front.) And so long as the possibility is there that he can use some of his campaign committee money to pay those legal bills, then why not keep the recount battle going, since it allows him to continue to raise money for that campaign committee? Is that Coleman's reason for wanting to drag this thing out? Beats me. But it seems like the only other possibility is that he truly is delusional--in that he thinks he might actually win.

--Jason Zengerle

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