Coleman’s other legal problem

COLEMAN’S OTHER LEGAL PROBLEM…. Former Sen. Norm Coleman and his team of lawyers are still fighting hard to reverse the outcome of last year’s Senate race in Minnesota, but it appears that the Republican may end up in another courtroom for an entirely different set of reasons.

The FBI is investigating allegations that former Senator Norm Coleman had clothing and other items purchased on his behalf by a longtime friend and businessman Nasser Kazeminy, according to a source in Minnesota who was interviewed recently by federal agents. […]

The FBI has also been conducting interviews in Texas, according to media reports, in regards to different allegations that Kazeminy tried to steer $75,000 to Coleman through his wife’s employer. Up to this point, there have not been reports of any FBI work taking place in Coleman’s home state.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press had a similar report, noting that the FBI has begun looking into the relationship between Coleman and Kazeminy.

It’s unfortunate that this scandal has been percolating for quite some time, but it’s been easily overshadowed by the seemingly endless litigation over the election itself. Coleman is fighting tooth and nail to overturn his defeat, despite a) the fact that he lost; and b) the fact that a wealthy friend of his apparently paid Coleman $75,000 under the table.

Indeed, Jon Chait had a very good piece in February, explaining that there’s ample evidence to suggest that Coleman is at least as scandalous a figure as Rod Blagojevich, except Coleman’s corruption scandal has been ignored by the national media. Indeed, Chait argues that in some ways, the allegations surrounding Coleman are worse than the former Illinois governor’s: “Coleman is accused by a Houston businessman of having actually accepted illicit funds, while Blagojevich is merely being accused of harboring an intention to sell his Senate seat.”

And while Democrats quickly and forcefully threw Blagojevich under the bus, Coleman’s fellow Republicans have shown an almost comical level of tolerance for alleged corruption, and are willing to do whatever it takes to keep Coleman from officially losing his Senate race.

I can’t help but wonder how the dragged-out process in Minnesota would be perceived if more people — voters, politicians, political reporters — realized that the candidate who keeps fighting is the same one who’s under an ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI. Perhaps, if this generated even a little attention, the Republican establishment might be a little less enthusiastic about their support for Coleman, and he might be more inclined to quit one legal fight to focus his energies on the other.