DFL keeps pressure on Coleman over rental arrangementby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The chairman of the DFL Party continues to question Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's relationship with a high-powered GOP operative.
Coleman is renting a Washington D.C. apartment from Jeff Larson, who owns a political telemarketing firm that does business for Coleman's Senate campaign.
The National Journal reported last week that Coleman was late making some rent payments, and missed a couple of them as well. He is now up to date on paying his rent.
The newspaper also reported that Coleman is paying $600 a month to rent the apartment, which DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez said is below market value. Melendez said he's considering whether he should file a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee.
"For the last year, Coleman has received a significant personal financial benefit from Larson that exceeds $100, that exceeds $250, which is the absolute limit of the Senate's gift ban -- even if the gift is based on personal friendship and not on business, which is highly questionable in itself," said Melendez.
On Friday, Coleman defended his decision to rent the apartment. He said Larson is a longtime friend who is not a lobbyist. Coleman is running for re-election against Democrat Al Franken.