Norm Coleman and the Myanmar dictatorship
Joe Bodell at MN Campaign Report has done a little digging after it came out that Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) received campaign contributions from the lobby group for the brutal dictatorship that rules Myanmar. It's not just that he's received thousands of dollars in contributions from this lobby group, a branch of it officeshares with Norm's campaign.
FLS is closely linked with DCI, the same firm that's involved with the Myanmar junta.
Yep, that's right -- FLSConnect.com is registered to an entity called "FLS-DCI" located in Oakdale, MN. Sourcewatch indicates that those first three letters stand for "Feather Larson Synhorst" -- Synhorst refers to the chairman of DCI, Thomas Synhorst, and Sourcewatch notes one of their specialties: "creating phony front groups to make it appear as if there's a groundswell of support for its clients' issues."
(MN Campaign Report)
So when Brian Melendez, Chair of the MN DFL Party, asks Norm to return the filthy lucre, Norm declines. But he's Norm freaking Coleman. And as the prototypical political weasel that he is, he just cannot simply decline to return the money...
At issue are donations from DCI Group's political action committee and employees. The firm's chief executive, Doug Goodyear, who had been picked by John McCain's campaign to run the convention in St. Paul, resigned from that role Saturday after Newsweek reported that the company was paid $348,000 in 2002 and 2003 to represent Myanmar's military government.
(Daily Globe, h/t Joe Bodell)
Of course, Norm said that his reelection campaign would be about issues and his "very, very positive vision." Yessir. Oh ... and btw, that's a pretty weak argument, Norm. Al didn't run Air America. Norm is desperately stretching this beyond what little credibility he has.
"Franken continues to remain silent about his role in this matter," Erickson said. "As for returning a legal contribution from an individual and company engaged in legal activities, of course we will not be returning the contribution."
In 2005, the new owners of the Air America, Piquant, returned the money to the children's organization.
"Norm Coleman took nearly $10,000 from a firm representing an oppressive military regime," Franken campaign spokesman Andy Barr said in an e-mail. "He won't return the money, and he won't say what he did in return for it. That's shocking. And if the best he can do by way of explaining this stunning and suspicious behavior is to recycle long-discredited smears, Minnesotans are going to start to wonder if there isn't an even uglier story soon to come."
Campaign finance records show that Coleman and his leadership PAC received a total of just under $8,000 from DCI partners and other high-ranking officials in 2004 and 2007. DCI's PAC donated $2,000 to Coleman in 2007. He is one of nine Senate candidates - including five Democrats - to receive donations from the PAC in this election cycle.
(Daily Globe, h/t Joe Bodell)