Via tweets by MinnPost’s David Brauer and KARE-11’s Scott Goldberg, we learn that today Sen. Norm Coleman’s lawsuit against Al Franken’s campaign was dismissed by Administrative Law Judge Barbara Neilson. The Oct. 30 complaint, the fourth of its kind filed on Coleman’s behalf within days of an election, concerned a campaign ad that said Coleman was “[r]anked the 4th most corrupt senator in Washington,” according to the watchdog group CREW. Neilson wrote that Coleman has “failed to demonstrate probable cause” that Franken’s campaign was in violation of Minnesota statues. Neilson leaves the door open that just maybe Coleman is among the Senate’s most corrupt members.
A key excerpt:
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. The statement is substantially accurate, if not literally true in every detail. Hearing that Senator Coleman is the “fourth most corrupt Senator” according to CREW produces essentially the same effect on the mind of an individual seeing or hearing the advertisements as hearing that he is one of only four Senators named in the CREW report on congressional corruption.