WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a win for Norm Coleman, the Federal Election Commission ruled today that the former Republican senator could use campaign cash to pay for legal bills associated with an alleged FBI investigation and two lawsuits naming one of his top donors.
Selecting between two draft opinions on the matter, the FEC went with the more lenient version, which specifies that Coleman can use campaign funds to pay for monitoring and representation in the lawsuits as well as representation in an alleged FBI investigation of violations of federal law or rules governing the office of a senator or conduct of campaigns.
Coleman may not, however, use campaign funds to pay for representation in any FBI investigation of allegations unrelated to Coleman’s campaign or duties as an office holder. The lawsuit does not specify whether Coleman can also use recount funds to pay for legal bills.
The other draft opinion had stated that Coleman could not use campaign funds to pay for representation in the two lawsuits and could use campaign funds to pay for only 50 percent of the cost of monitoring the two lawsuits.
Coleman’s campaign could not immediately be reached.
The lawsuits, one in Texas and the other in Delaware, allege that a prominent Minnesota businessman funneled at least $75,000 to an insurance company where Coleman’s wife worked.
Coleman was not named in the suits and has denied any wrongdoing.