Franken attorney: “I think we are done”

The danger of paper cuts was greater than the chance that Al Franken would lose his 225-vote lead to Norm Coleman today as Minnesota officials ripped open 351 more ballots from last year’s U.S. senate race in front of the state’s election-contest court. Indeed, Franken increased his lead by 87 votes. “I think we are done,” Franken attorney Marc Elias told reporters after the counting. “It’s no more complicated than this … More Minnesotans voted for Al Franken than for Norm Coleman.”
Asked about Coleman’s pledge to battle on, Elias said, “I don’t think there is much of a case on appeal, candidly.”
Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg said he was “saddened and disappointed,” adding that there should have been 10 times more ballots counted — a reference to the Coleman camp’s submission of 4,800 uncounted absentee ballots they wanted the court to review. “We will be appealing this to the Minnesota Supreme Court,” he said, as soon as the court issues its order based on today’s tally, which in Ginsberg’s estimation could come as early as this week. Continue Reading

Coleman faces “serious damage” to political future if contest drags on

Norm Coleman is not going down without a fight. That much is clear from his actions in the wake of this week’s ruling from the three-judge election contest panel that only 400 additional ballots will be considered for inclusion in the final vote tally. By most calculations — including that of Coleman’s lawyers — the ruling dealt a seemingly crippling blow to his prospects of prevailing in the legal contest. Can’t get enough Norm news? The Minnesota Independent has more: Leaked Coleman data include trove of comments from Franken fans . Continue Reading

Ruling further diminishes Coleman’s election contest prospects

Norm Coleman’s already grim prospects for prevailing in the ongoing U.S. Senate contest were dealt another significant blow this afternoon. The three-judge panel hearing the case ruled that only 400 rejected absentee ballots should be considered for inclusion in the final vote tally. The contested ballots will be delivered to the Minnesota Judicial Center for examination by the judges at a hearing next Tuesday. This doesn’t mean that all 400 ballots will ultimately be added to the vote tally. But even if every single one of these ballots were to be deemed valid, the math is ugly for the Coleman camp. Continue Reading

Al Franklin? Pro-Israel group seeks cash for Coleman to fight misnamed foe

A group promoting United States-Israel ties is raising funds for Norm Coleman with an e-mail that opens by referring to Al Franken by the not-particularly-Jewish-sounding name “Franklin”:
We are making an appeal for one of our friends and steadfast supporters of US-Israel relations, Senator Norm Coleman. The election in Minnesota and its recount have been distressing to follow. Coleman won the election. After the recount, Franklin came out slightly ahead, but tragically this recount was filled with many irregularities and is now being contested in court. Both Franken, a Democrat, and Coleman, a Republican, are Jewish — as were the last two men to hold the seat: Rudy Boschwitz, a Republican, and the late Paul Wellstone, a Democrat. Continue Reading

Coleman campaign may have violated law in database breach

The campaign of former Sen. Norm Coleman has alerted donors that a database containing personal data, including credit card numbers, has been circulating on the Internet. Minnesota has a number of consumer protection laws that govern the use of personal information, which has raised questions about whether the Coleman campaign has violated state law. Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak told AP yesterday that he’s confident the campaign complied with the law. But concerns have surfaced particularly about when the campaign notified those whose data had been exposed and what credit card information it kept on its database.var mnindyHeadline = “MORE FROM”; var mnindyHeadline2 = “Michigan Messenger”; According to the Coleman’s campaign’s newly posted FAQ about the database breach, the campaign knew or at least suspected that the data had been exposed in January. “We had reason to believe that someone had illegally accessed our website in late January,” the FAQ states. Continue Reading

Coleman’s unsecured donor database revealed on Wikileaks

In late January, allegations were leveled that former Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign faked the crash of its website, claiming droves of disenfranchised voters brought down the server seeking info on whether their votes were counted. While that charge hasn’t been definitively proven, the scrutiny by web enthusiasts exposed a bigger problem for the campaign: an unprotected database that contained information on campaign donors, including names, email and home addresses, credit card numbers and the three-digit security codes. On Tuesday, donors received an email from the website Wikileaks alerting them that the site has revealed some of the database information. What is Wikileaks? See Chris Steller’s article for a history and description. Continue Reading

What is Wikileaks?

A database of contributors to former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman has been released via the Web site Wikileaks.org. What is Wikileaks? According to the Wikileaks.org Web site and Wikipedia (which says it has no connection to Wikileaks), Wikileaks launched a little more than two years ago, primarily as a venue for publicizing information from repressive regimes. The early focus, according to the site’s self-description quoted in Secrecy News, was on:
China, Russia, central eurasia, the middle east and sub-saharan Africa, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. Key to the enterprise is the claimed ability to shield the source of the leaked information. Continue Reading

Coleman’s site wasn’t “hacked,” says IT pro who discovered donor breach

Norm Coleman’s campaign spokesman Cullen Sheehan suggested in an e-mail sent to supporters this morning that Wikileaks.org’s publication of the campaign’s donor database — including donors’ credit card numbers and the three-digit security codes for those cards — is the work of politically motivated people who have “found a way to breach private and confidential information.”
Sheehan hinted that the leak might be a work of political sabotage: “We don’t know if last evening’s e-mail is a political dirty trick or what the objective is of the person who sent the e-mail.”
MinnPost’s Joe Kimball echoed Sheehan’s notion that the database was hacked, writing this morning that “some hackers (Web enthusiasts, [the Minnesota Independent] calls them), apparently discovered that list.”
But the database was not revealed by hackers, according to IT professional Adria Richards, who was the first to share news of the unprotected file in late January. “It’s not hacking,” she said. “I didn’t use any hacking tools. A browser was my tool.”
Richards said she discovered the database by entering normcoleman.com, into OpenDNS’ cache-check tool, which gave her an IP address where the Web site lived. Simply copying that address into a Firefox browser revealed the Web site directories for normcoleman.com. Continue Reading