Washington Babylon — October 9, 2008, 12:39 pm

More Smoke From Senator Coleman on His Shopping Habits

norm_coleman_official_portr

Senator Norm Coleman’s office continues to hedge when asked about his relationship with donor Nasser Kazeminy. MinnPost.com provides some background:

I had heard this allegation [about a businessman buying suits for Coleman] before it became public and had asked [the senator’s campaign manager] Sheehan whether the senator had an arrangement with a businessman to pay for his clothes. He told me no, and I did not pursue the matter. But I now understand that to have been a technical, but not candid, answer…

  • In August, I heard a tip that a wealthy local businessman had an arrangement with Coleman under which the senator could pick out whatever clothes he wanted and the businessman would pay the bill. Not wanting to be tricky, I directly asked Cullen Sheehan whether there had ever been any such arrangement.?? He replied that Coleman had disclosed all gifts he was required to disclose. ??I suggested that this non-denial denial seemed to lend credibility to the rumor. The question was not about the reporting requirements but about whether Coleman and the businessman had any such arrangement.

  • On the second round, Sheehan repeated that all required disclosures had been made and added: “No, he has never had such an arrangement.”??I left the story there for several weeks, until the Harper’s piece ran. I called Sheehan back and asked if he was prepared to rebut the Harper’s piece, or whether he had been less than candid with me when he told me that Coleman “never had such an arrangement.”

  • After a couple of rounds of Coleman-disclosed-everything-he-was-required-to-disclose, Sheehan told me that his no-such-arrangement answer to me had been based on the word “arrangement.” In other words, Sheehan was not denying that Coleman received clothes from Kazeminy, only that he never had an “arrangement,” such as the one I suggested by my question, under which Coleman could pick out whatever clothes he wanted and Kazeminy would pay the bills.?? Sheehan never did say that Kazeminy has bought clothes for Coleman, but he might as well have. If Kazeminy had never bought clothes for Coleman, he could have laid the matter to rest any time, but instead he has given artful answers, not fully responsive to the questions.

MinnPost.com also writes:

  • ??Coleman has not disclosed any gifts of clothing from Kazeminy. Silverstein’s sources say Kazeminy has given such gifts, but could not say whether they occurred before or since Coleman became a senator.?? Let’s pause on that point for two thoughts: How knowledgeable could Silverstein’s sources be about the gifts if they don’t know the year in which they occurred? But also, if you are troubled by the idea of a businessman buying clothes for a senator, how much less troubling would it be if the gifts were made while Coleman was preparing to run or running for the Senate?

For the record, my sources both believed they had a good idea of when the purchases were made, but when pressed they could not, with absolute certainty, be specific enough for my satisfaction. The sources were certain that Coleman had clothing purchased for him by the businessman–and provided highly credible evidence to back up their assertions. So I asked Coleman’s office about it.

Like MinnPost.com, I believe, that “if you are troubled by the idea of a businessman buying clothes for a senator, how much less troubling would it be if the gifts were made while Coleman was preparing to run or running for the Senate?” But what also interests me, in addition to Coleman’s fashion sense, is that it’s clear that local reporters were chasing the story. I have been told that two local reporters at a major newspaper sat down and discussed the matter with Coleman. Why aren’t they publishing what they know? Did Coleman deny the story? Did he acknowledge it was true, but say the purchases were made before he joined the Senate? Did he offer any account at all?

The newspaper could perhaps clear up the mystery–which Coleman refuses to do–by publishing the information. Why is it sitting on a potentially important story? And why won’t Nasser
Kazeminy
clear this up? Did he buy the suits for Coleman or didn’t he?

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

September 2015

Weed Whackers

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Tremendous Machine

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Goose in a Dress

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Genealogy of Orals

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Romancing Kano·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:

The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.

leadership
service
integrity
creativity

Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.

Article
The Prisoner of Sex·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is disappointing that parts of Purity read as though Franzen urgently wanted to telegraph a message to anyone who would defend his fiction from charges of chauvinism: ‘No, you’ve got me wrong. I really am sexist.’”
Illustration by Shonagh Rae
Article
Gangs of Karachi·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In Karachi, sometimes only the thinnest of polite fictions separates the politicians from the men who kill and extort on their behalf.”
Photograph © Asim Rafiqui/NOOR Images
Article
Weed Whackers·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
Photograph by Chad Ress
Article
The Neoliberal Arts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.”
Artwork by Julie Cockburn

Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

65

An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.

A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today