If Norm Coleman isn't under federal investigation, he should be
Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota won't say whether he is under federal investigation. If he isn't, he certainly should be.
Two lawsuits allege that Coleman's friend and campaign donor Nasser Kazeminy covertly funneled $75,000 to Coleman through a Texas oil services company Kazeminy controlled.
Kazeminy is alleged to have ordered oil company officers to transfer funds to the insurance company that employs Coleman's wife, Laurie. Exhibits attached to the lawsuits show that the oil services company, Deep Marine Technology, paid Hays Insurance company.
The question is whether Hays did any work for DMT, or whether Hays was merely serving as a conduit for Kazeminy's payoff to the Colemans. It's unclear what, if anything Laurie Coleman does for Hays.
As I reported previously, Coleman may not even have had her insurance producer's license when she started working for Hays. According to Hays, Coleman came on board in 2006. Minnesota state records show that she got the first part of her license in October of 2006. The payments to Hays from DMT started in 2007.
Coleman's senate financial disclosures say that his wife earned a salary from Hays, but a Hays press release says she was a contractor. A company spokesman refused to answer my questions about what Coleman did for Hays, or how much she got paid.
The Hays Company is a privately held insurance firm based in Minneapolis. Its president, James C. Hays of Long Lake, MN has given $33,100 in political contributions since 1999, all but $3400 went to Republicans.
Hays has given $7450 to Norm Coleman since 2002. Other Hays executives have also donated significant sums to Coleman and other Republican candidates. The man listed as the producer for the DMT account is Michael Prins, a Hays executive vice president and a Coleman supporter.
Coleman could easily dispel the allegations against him by disclosing what Laurie Coleman did for the Hays Company and how much money she made.
Kazeminy is also alleged to have bought expensive suits for Coleman at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis. Coleman won't confirm or deny that allegation, either.
The allegations in the lawsuits are serious indeed. By accusing Kazeminy of gross corporate mismanagement and naming a U.S. Senator as the beneficiary of his lavish covert gifts, the former DMT executives suing Kazeminy have exposed themselves to major legal risks. It seems unlikely that they would do so frivolously.
Paul McKim the former CEO of DMT who is suing Kazeminy in Texas describes himself as a staunch Republican. It seems unlikely that these allegations are politically motivated.
These accusations must be fully investigated.