As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This Should Be Resolved Around The Time Of The Next MN-Sen Election

The never-ending saga of the Norm Coleman/Al Franken election appeared to be thrown into more uncertainty today when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that up to 4,800 ballots may be presented by the Coleman campaign to see if they are eligible to be counted. It was one of the few rulings that have gone Coleman's way in this case, and since 4,800 ballots is far more than needed to catch up to Franken, it looked like a ray of hope for the former Senator.

Until the later ruling.

The Minnesota election court has just handed down a major ruling, completely denying Norm Coleman's motion for summary judgment that would have opened up and counted a set of roughly 4,500 rejected absentee ballots that his campaign insists were wrongly rejected and ought to be counted [...]

The upshot of the two decisions is that Coleman may argue on behalf of these voters, but there is no guarantee that they'll be counted. Instead, he'll need to argue for them one by one. And of course, the Franken campaign will have a full opportunity to cross-examine Coleman's witnesses -- many of whom have demonstrated that they in fact committed clear errors in filling out their ballots -- and to also play this same game down the road.

Specifically, the court shot down the Coleman campaign's claim that absentee voting in Minnesota should be regarded as a right, rather than a privilege, and that the four specific reasons for rejecting an absentee ballot are clear and fully binding: "A citizen who exercises this privilege can register and vote, by the terms of the law, only by complying with provisions."

As Nate Silver explains, this puts a very high burden of proof on the ballots, and "will make Coleman's rate of success very, very, very low, as opposed to merely very, very low." I would imagine that putting thousands of people before the court, subject to cross-examination, and determining if they acted within the rules of the election and their vote is eligible would be an interminably long process, and all along Minnesota is without adequate representation in the Senate.

Meanwhile, why is the media completely silent about the fact that Norm Coleman has been caught red-handed in a corruption scandal? They seem to like corruption when Democrats like Rod Blagojevich are fingered (although, in fairness, Blago is much more entertaining).

What, you say--Norm Coleman? Yes, Norm Coleman! Let me explain. The soon-to-be-former senator's scandal is pretty simple. Nasser Kazeminy, a wealthy businessman and close Coleman friend, allegedly paid him $75,000 under the table.

And by "allegedly," I mean "almost certainly." Here's how the almost certainly true alleged scheme worked. The payments to Coleman came in the form of what Tony Soprano would call a "no-show job." One of Kazeminy's companies is called Deep Marine Technology. Kazeminy allegedly ordered Deep Marine's CEO, Paul McKim, to make a series of $25,000 payments that would go to Coleman's wife. According to McKim, Kazeminy was utterly blatant. He said the reason for the payments was that Coleman needed the money and McKim should disguise them as a legitimate business transaction [...]

In Coleman's defense, he's currently just a subject of an FBI investigation, while Blagojevich has been voted out of office. And, of course, Coleman hasn't been caught boasting about his scheme. On the other hand, 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.

Now consider how the two stories have fared in the national press. Blagojevich has turned into the biggest crime story since O.J. Simpson. Can you guess how many articles about the Coleman scandal have appeared in the national media? One short wire story. When I bring up Coleman's scandals with my colleagues, many of whom follow politics for a living, invariably they have little or no idea what I'm talking about.

Why the scandal is not a part of media accounts is pretty stunning.

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