(Former) Sen. Norm Coleman – Low, Sure. But This Low?

Jonathan Chait explores the media’s disparate treatment of the Norm Coleman and Rod Blagojevich scandals:

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.

The intermediary they picked was an insurance company owned by Jim
Hays, a major Coleman donor who had given contracting work to Coleman’s
wife, Laurie. Hays admits getting the $75,000, according to the
Minneapolis Star Tribune, but says he “provide[d] insurance advice” to Deep Marine and denies the money went to Laurie Coleman.

This
is very hard to believe. Deep Marine was already paying $1 million per
year for insurance from a London company that specializes in underwater
offshore lines, which is Deep Marine’s business.

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