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Court rules Coleman could be fourth-most corrupt Senator

OK, a wee bit harsh, but a state administrative law judge today tossed out Norm Coleman’s late-campaign complaint that Al Franken’s ads were demonstrably false.
By David Brauer

OK, a wee bit harsh, but a state administrative law judge today tossed out Norm Coleman’s late-campaign complaint that Al Franken’s ads were demonstrably false.

At issue: whether Coleman could fairly be attacked as the fourth-most corrupt Senator based on the rankings of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a D.C. watchdog group.

In the ruling (PDF), Judge Barbara Neilson writes:

All told, there are three senators identified on CREW’s list of the “20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress,” and one senator (Senator Coleman) identified on CREW’s list of “Dishonorable Mentions. … Because the statement made in the Franken advertisements accurately captures the “gist” or “sting” of Senator Coleman’s placement in the CREW listing of the 20 “most corrupt” members of Congress and “four to watch,” there is not probable cause to believe that a violation of the statute has occurred.

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Note: this does not establish that Coleman really is the fourth-most corrupt, but that the Franken campaign fairly represented the watchdog group’s data.

The Judge also upheld Franken’s assertion that CREW is bipartisan.

(Hat tip: KARE’s Scott Goldberg.)