After a mention in the PiPress Thursday, the Strib has more details about a Coleman donor accused of funneling money to Laurie Coleman’s employer through a third party. A Texas oilman alleges Nasser Kazeminy shifted $75,000 from his company to an insurance agency where Laurie Coleman works. The suit was filed Monday, withdrawn Tuesday — as a good faith gesture during settlement negotiations — and reinstated Thursday. The plaintiff’s lawyer tells Harper’s that they’re not alleging Coleman did anything wrong.
More DonorGate: Coleman’s campaign calls the accusations “vicious and defamatory” and tells MinnPost’s Eric Black that the Colemans had no role in any arrangement. Fox9 says the DFL Party demands Coleman must explain why the allegations aren’t true. Kazeminy is the same benefactor accused a few weeks ago of buying Coleman’s suits; Coleman denied that, and no named sources emerged.
Possibly to dilute the donor-lawsuit coverage, Coleman’s people filed a campaign-practices suit against the Franken forces. One issue: Franken’s claim that Coleman is the nation’s “fourth-most corrupt” senator. The Strib’s Kevin Duchschere writes that the organization doing the rankings was “surprised” by the Franken claim and “called it an exaggeration.” But City Pages’ Emily Kaiser says the group’s head “said it would be correct to say Coleman is one of four most corrupt senators.”
After two recent polls showing Coleman edging ahead of Al Franken, a new MPR/Hump Institute poll shows Franken on top 41-37 percent. Dean Barkley gets 17 percent. The poll may have a Dem lean; Thursday, it showed Barack Obama with a 19-point lead, one of the highest margins so far. The sample size is small (451 voters), the samping error margin large (plus/minus 4.6 percent) and the date somewhat old (surveying began a week ago).
Bill Clinton bucked up Franken at a 4,000-spectator rally Thursday. The Strib’s Bob von Sternberg says Clinton argued Franken’s Senate vote was needed to repel “a radical right-wing philosophy.” The PiPress’ Bill Salisbury emphasizes Clinton’s pro-Obama remarks, a bummer for the Frankenphiles whose guy needs the Bill linkage a lot more. WCCO has video, and The Uptake offers the extended version of Clinton’s remarks.
Related: Barkley unveiled a new Hillsmanesque TV ad Thursday; it’ll be his only one.
Does reality have a liberal bias? At an MPR debate Thursday, Michele Bachmann claims voters simply aren’t concerned about her “anti-America” comments, a claim Elywn Tinklenberg — swimming in 20,000-plus new donations — called “not credible.” Though both candidates are pro-life, the PiPress’ Dennis Lien says Bachmann got in a good shot on abortion, while Tinklenberg bashed his opponent for not helping stop the economic collapse. The Uptake has video of theatrics outside the studio.
Remember all the brouhaha about Democrats wanting to get rid of a union-election secret ballot? In a story about independent expenditures in Minnesota elections, Pat Doyle crafts the tidiest explanation of what the Employee Free Choice Act does. Here goes:
“The bill wouldn’t abolish secret ballots but would give workers seeking to organize the chance to choose between an election, should 30 percent of all workers request one, or the so-called card-check process, which automatically certifies a union if a majority of employees sign up.”
The Star Tribune endorses a Minneapolis schools tax hike, while opposing a plan to create six school board districts. (The current system is all at-large.) Republican anti-taxer Annette Meeks opposes the $60-million-a-year levy proposal here. The Twin Cities Daily Planet offers a roundup of education-referenda stories if you’re a voter trying to get smarter.
Basic priorities: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak wants to tap a development fund to catch up with undone street maintenance, the Strib’s Steve Brandt reports. For the last several years, the city has shorted such basic infrastructure to keep cops spending up while paying down 1990s debt. The move could severely hamstring the city’s ability to do development deals, though how many of those will be out there in the next few years?
St. Paul cops will begin a petition drive for a salary-increase ballot initiative. They want to mandate their pay among the top five metro communities, the Strib’s Anthony Lonetree reports. That would mean about a $3,000- to $7,000-per-officer bump. They’ll need 7,500 signatures for what I presume is a 2009 effort. Look for them working polling places Tuesday.
Only 11th? Minnesota just misses the Top 10 in driver fatalities from car-animal crashes, Fox9 notes. Wisconsin nearly doubles our rate; Texas is tops numerically. Since 1993, we’ve had just 74 animal-related deaths. Still, State Farm says Minnesota cars have a 1-in-131 chance of a deer collision.
Airfares are coming down, but airport retailers are cleared for a 10 percent price hike to compensate for few fliers, the Business Journal’s Katherine Grayson reports. The airports commission is suspending a rule requiring vendors to charge prices similar to the Mall of America and Southdale.
Just in time to scare you tonight, the PiPress’ Emma Carew notes that Minnesota lacks laws restricting sex offenders’ activities on Halloween. Missouri has a new rule requiring miscreants to post signs turning trick-or-treaters away. Bill-aholic State Rep. Joe Atkins announced similar legislation here last year, but it was never introduced.
Nort spews: The Habs bump off the Wild 2-1 as Minnesota goes oh-for-10 on the power play. The Wild have now lost two in a row.