Thursday, December 11, 2008

Franken-Coleman Recount Drama Continues

So does the Coleman Corruption Investigation

First off, I apologize for not providing more timely updates about the still-in-limbo Minnesota Senate election. It’s not for lack of news coverage as the story of the ballot recount has dominated Minnesota’s media. (My only sorry excuse is that I remain occupied trying to better expose the truth about the ongoing “war on dissent” involved in the continuing prosecutions persecutions of 800 plus arrested protesters that’s also occurring here in the aftermath of the RNC.)

In any event, the CBS News Report below provides a good summary of the current situation.

The reporter concludes that a flip of the coin may ultimately determine who wins which would probably be the fitting paradoxical end to this, the most expensive and bizarre race in Minnesota history. But what’s most likely ahead for the recount? Well the Canvassing Board meets (today) Friday Dec. 12 to decide on the fate of rejected absentee ballots as well as figure out what to do about 133 missing ballots in Minneapolis, and 12 uncounted absentee ballots from Hennepin County found during the search for those 133 missing ballots.

You probably don’t need all the detail that this blogger provides, but he’s undoubtedly right that “the pile of improperly rejected absentee ballots will prove the most consequential decision.” There are apparently somewhere from 700 to 1000 absentee ballots that were improperly rejected and Franken’s Campaign has identified some especially compelling reasons for counting their votes.

With the margin so thin, these absentee ballots seem crucial to determining the outcome so this is where any decision is most likely to end up being challenged in court.

But Norm Coleman might end up in court—criminal court—on an entirely different matter. He’s reportedly being investigated by the FBI in connection with allegations that his longtime friend, benefactor (and suit buyer) Nasser Kazeminy tried to steer him money. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the FBI has begun to contact people in Texas where the first of two lawsuits was filed alleging 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. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW—what a quaint, quixotic pursuit these days!—if only some responsibility and ethics in Washington, Chicago, or anywhere could be found in the pervasive and tangled “pay to play” culture of corruption, huh?) has the full background on Coleman’s latest legal troubles here.

As an aside, I happened to be talking on the phone today to a former FBI agent friend who retired out of the Chicago Office. We had to agree that we’re actually rather proud of the good job our old agency, the FBI’s been doing on the public corruption stuff—not only the new investigation launched of Norm Coleman but also the recent ones of Alaskan Ted Stevens; William “Cold Cash” Jefferson; and Rod “Pay to Play” Blagojevich. It’s going to be hard to make a dent in the thick culture of corruption that has encompassed the seats of power in this country though.

Back in 2006 I suggested it might be time for the FBI to get another “ABSCAM” undercover operation up and running as it’s obvious from the number of crooked politicians, that the deterrent effect of the last one (1978-80) has certainly worn off.