Norm Coleman

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Norm Coleman served as the Sr. Senator for Minnesota from 2003-2009

Norman Bertram "Norm" Coleman Jr., a Republican, was a Senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. (map) In January, 2009, he went to work for the Republican Jewish Coalition[1].

Record and controversies

2008 elections controversy

On January 7, 2009, Norm Coleman announced he will challenge the results of a recount for the Senate seat in Minnesota. After a review of contentious ballots, the state canvassing board gave the vote count lead to Al Franken, his Democratic challenger by 225 votes. Coleman must convince a panel of judges that certain ballots were either unfairly excluded or included by the canvassing board.[1] Al Franken requested that Coleman's lawsuit be dismissed, but on January 22, 2009, a three-judge panel rejected that motion. The trial will begin January 26, 2009, at the Minnesota Justice Center in St. Paul.[2]

National security and foreign policy

Iraq War

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Statements made by Norm Coleman on the Iraq War:

  • January 24, 2007: "Probably six months to a year, for everything. And I talked to some of my colleagues tonight, the military knows, I think they know, that they have to produce big-time over the next six months." [3]

On February 5, 2007, Coleman was one of two Republican Senators who crossed party lines and voted to open debate on a bill opposing President Bush's troop "surge" in Iraq. The measure failed 49-47. Later on February 17, 2007, Coleman was one of seven Republicans to cross party lines and vote in favor of cloture on another non-binding resolution opposing the troop "surge." That measure failed 56-34.

Main article: Congressional actions regarding President Bush’s 2007 proposed troop “surge” in Iraq


On September 20, 2007, Sens. Joe Lieberman, Jon Kyl, Norman Coleman, and Lindsey Graham filed a "Sense of the Senate" resolution as Amendment No. 3017[4] to the FY 2008 Defense Authorization bill "that the U.S. should 'combat, contain, and roll back' Iran’s 'violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq.' It counsels doing so 'through the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of [U.S. power], including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments.' It also urges the administration to designate the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization."[5]

Opposition to proposed Armenian ambassador

On August 2, 2006, Norman said in a telephone interview that he would not support Bush's nominee as ambassador to Armenia. He stated that Richard E. Hoagland would not refer to the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide. Though the Bush administration does acknowlege the killings, they do not label them genocide. Norman stated the following:

"As someone of the Jewish faith, I bring a heightened sensitivity to the reality of genocide and mass murder, and the importance of recognizing it for what it is. I was brought up believing you never forget the Holocaust, never forget what happened. And I could not imagine how our ambassador to Israel could have any effectiveness if he couldn't recognize the Holocaust."[2]

He also stated that "I continue to be troubled by our policy that refuses to recognize what was a historical reality," referring to the United States action of not labeling the murders genicide. [3]

Energy and environment

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal


Norm Coleman has voted in favor of big oil companies on 67% of important oil-related bills from 2005-2007, according to Oil Change International. These bills include Iraq war funding, climate change studies, clean energy, and emissions.[6] See below for oil money in politics.

Drilling in ANWR

On December 21, 2005, Senator Coleman voted to end debate on a defense appropriations bill that included oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) after having pledged in 2002 to oppose such drilling. He stated that he did so because although he planned to vote against the bill, he didn't believe that a filibuster was warranted. The filibuster held, however, and Coleman voted to strip the ANWR provision from the bill in a subsequent vote.[4][5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Abortion and stem-cell research

Coleman identifies himself as being pro-life – he universally opposes abortion. He supported the interests of the National Right to Life Committee 100% of the time in 2005. [10]

Coleman does support stem cell research, but only using adult stem cells and stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood. [11]

On January 23, 2007, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) introduced a bill (S.363) aimed at providing $5 billion over 10 years for stem cell research that does not involve "crossing the ethical line of using taxpayer dollars for the destruction of human embryos." The president for the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical, Sean Tipton, said "It's not clear that this bill would allow the NIH (National Institutes of Health) to do anything it can't already do. [12]

Gay rights/marriage

Coleman opposes the legal recognition of same-sex marriages or civil unions by either the federal or state governments:

  • As mayor of St. Paul, Coleman voted against an effort to repeal a city law which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.
  • Coleman later refused to sign a city proclamation celebrating the annual gay pride festival.[13]
  • While running for Governor of Minnesota in 1998, Coleman's campaign ran radio ads that attacked his DFL opponent Skip Humphrey for his support of same-sex marriage.
  • In 2004, Coleman issued a press release pledging his support for a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would ban any state from recognizing same-sex marriage.[14]
  • In 2004, Coleman voted to end a bi-partisan filibuster on that proposed amendment to the Constitution barring same sex marriage or "the legal incidents thereof" (Senate vote 155, July 14, 2004). The vote failed 48-50.[15]

However, in 1998, Coleman hired a transgendered person, Susan Kimberly, to be his deputy mayor. [16] (pdf)


CAFTA free trade agreement

Senator Coleman expressed reservations about supporting CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) unless the interests of the domestic U.S. sugar industry (including Minnesota's sugar beet industry) were accommodated.[17] He voted in favor of CAFTA after obtaining quotas imposed on foreign sugar until 2008. [18] He stood behind President Bush on August 2, 2005, as the trade agreement was signed into law. [19]


Protecting the sugar industry

In December 2005, Coleman voted for a budget bill that cut funding from a number of programs, but kept funding for sugar beet farmers in Minnesota after Karl Rove advocated the change. Coleman told Congress Daily that he wouldn't vote for a bill that cut sugarbeet funding but "Karl Rove called me and asked what I wanted. A few hours later it was out of the bill." [20]

Oversight and investigations

Karl Rove and the Valerie Plame investigation

Coleman was critical of a Democratic amendment to an appropriations bill that would have denied security clearances to government officials who disclosed the identity of an undercover agent. The amendment, which was aimed at White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove amid allegations that he illegally leaked the name of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, failed 44-53. Coleman criticized Democrats for the proposal, saying, "What we're seeing today is the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sucking the oxygen out of the spirit of collegiality [in the Senate] ... making something partisan that is being handled by a special counsel ... let the counsel do his work." [21]

Investigations Subcommittee, Galloway testimony, and UN structural changes

Coleman has been one of the loudest voices in Congress championing major structural changes in the United Nations.

In December 2004, in connection with his position of Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Coleman called for United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan to resign because of the "UN's utter failure to detect or stop Saddam's abuses" in the UN's Oil-for-Food program and because of fraud allegations against Annan's son relating to the same program.[22]

In May 2005, Coleman's subcommittee held hearings on their investigation of abuses of the UN Oil-for-Food program, including oil smuggling, illegal kickbacks and use of surcharges, and Saddam Hussein's use of oil vouchers for the purpose of buying influence abroad. These hearings covered the activities of several corporations and well-known political figures, but are much remembered for the appearance of British Member of Parliament George Galloway in which the MP responded forcefully to allegations against him.

"We have your name on Iraqi documents, some prepared before the fall of Saddam, some after, that identify you as one of the allocation holders," Coleman accused. "I am not now nor have I ever been an oil trader" retorted Galloway, stating that the charges were false and part of a diversionary "smoke screen" by pro-Iraq war U.S. politicians to deflect attention from the "theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth... on your watch" that had occurred not during the Oil-for-Food program but under the post-invasion Coalition Provisional Authority by "Haliburton and other American corporations... with the connivance of your own government." Galloway claimed that the subcommittee's dossier was full of distortions and rudimentary mistakes, citing, for example, the charge that he had met with Saddam Hussein "many times" when the number was two. [23] This unusual appearance of a British MP before a US Senate committee drew much media attention in both America and Britain. [24]

The majority staff of the subcomittee prepared a subsequent report pertaining to Galloway which was released in October, 2005. It elaborates on the allegations and evidence of the committee and includes disputed [25] testimony from former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz. It also alleges that another officer of Mariam Appeal, Galloway's then-wife, received $150,000 in oil kickbacks, which she denies. [26] [27]

In 2004 and then again in early 2006, reports emerged linking the Australian Wheat Board to the Oil-for-Food scandal. Coleman expressed his desire to speak with Australian officials and put forth the possibility of launching an investigation into possible sanctions busting and bribery as a continuation of his earlier work on similar matters. After meeting with the Australian ambassador, however, he decided to focus his efforts elsewhere and took no direct action (see below May 28, 2006 Star Tribune citation).

Hurricane Katrina

On February 10, 2006, in a meeting of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs of which he is a member, during testimony of former FEMA director Michael D. Brown, Coleman attacked Brown for poor leadership during Hurricane Katrina disaster relief efforts, "you didn't provide the leadership, even with structural infirmities." Coleman went on, "you're not prepared to kind of put a mirror in front of your face and recognize your own inadequacies" and "the record reflects that you didn't get it or you didn't in writing or in some way make commands that would move people to do what has to be done until way after it should have been done." [28] Brown responded combatively, "Well, Senator, that's very easy for you to say sitting behind that dais and not being there in the middle of that disaster, watching that human suffering and watching those people dying and trying to deal with those structural dysfunctionalities" [29] and implored Coleman to stick to questions. [30] He later likened Coleman's charges to a "drive-by shooting." [31] Brown had recently stated that he notified Department of Homeland Security and the White House of the tremendous scale of Katrina flooding earlier than had been previously reported. [32]

Editing Wikipedia entry

On January 30, 2006, it was reported that Norm Coleman's staff had been actively editing his entry on Wikipedia, removing critical references to his voting record and revising the description of his former political leanings. [33] [34][35] Similar instances of edits to several senators' pages originating from Congressional IP addresses have occurred. [36] Coleman's chief of staff said the editing was done to correct inaccuracies,[37] but Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said "it appears to be a major rewrite of the article to make it more favorable." [38]


In May 2007, Sen. Coleman voted against an amendment to the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have stripped it of any paths to citizenship or permanent residency for undocumented immigrants, leaving it largely an immigration-enforcement bill. The amendment was defeated, 29-66. The amendment was opposed by the groups like the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the AFL-CIO and the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy.



Coleman was born August 17, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York. Coleman received his Bachelor of Arts from Hofstra University and Juris Doctor with high honors from the University of Iowa.

He was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota from 1994 to 2002. Previously a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Coleman switched to the Republican Party of Minnesota in 1996. In college, Coleman was a liberal Democrat and was actively involved in the anti-war movement of the early 1970s. He was once suspended from Hofstra College for participating in a sit-in protest against the 1970 shootings at Kent State. When first elected mayor of St. Paul, MN in 1993, Coleman was a DFLer and considered left-of-center politically, but gradually shifted to much more conservative positions on many issues during his tenure and in December 1996 announced that he was switching parties.[39]

In 1998, he unsuccessfully ran for governor of Minnesota against the DFL candidate Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III and the victorious Independence Party (then known as the Reform Party of Minnesota) candidate, Jesse Ventura.

Senate Career

Coleman campaigned in 2002 for the U.S. Senate, after being persuaded by Karl Rove not to run again for governor. He was elected in 2002, narrowly defeating former Vice President Walter Mondale, who only entered the race within days of the election after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. Coleman succeeded Dean Barkley, who was appointed by Governor Jesse Ventura to serve the remainder of Wellstone's term.

In 2004 Coleman campaigned for the chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (N.R.S.C.), but was narrowly defeated for the post by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) in a close 28-27 vote. Coleman's Northstar Leadership PAC made over $200,000 worth of contributions to other Republican senators that were up for reelection during his unsuccessful bid for the NRSC chair. [40]

On January 31, 2007, Coleman declined to comment after he received news that comedian Al Franken decided to enter the 2008 U.S. Senate race from Minnesota.

Franken's PAC raised nearly $1 million in 2006. Although Franken cannot use that money for his Senate campaign, many believed it indicated his ability to raise money for the race. [41]

His senate term expired on January 3, 2009, and less than three weeks later he accepted a job as a consultant and strategic adviser for the Republican Jewish Coalition[42].

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00013870&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Norm Coleman
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Oil Money in Politics

Norm Coleman has received $139,750 in oil contributions during the 110th congress. $60,000 of those dollars were from industry PACS. In total, he has accepted $287,100 from oil companies from 2000 to 2008, which makes him a top recipient of oil money.[7] See above for oil and energy voting record.

Committees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Norm Coleman. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
320 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2304
Phone: 202-224-5641
Fax: 202-224-1152
Web Email
Campaign website:

District Office- St. Paul:
2550 University Ave. West, Suite 100N
St. Paul, MN 55114
Phone: 651-645-0323
Fax: 651-645-3110

District Office- Mankato:
12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 2167
Mankato, MN 56001
Phone: 507-625-6800
Fax: 507-625-9427

Articles and resources


Related SourceWatch articles

External articles

News links

By Norm Coleman








Local blogs and discussion sites

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. Senate
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Deputy Whip
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Energy Science and Technology, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Nutrition and Food Assistance Sustainable and Organic Agriculture and General Legislation, Senate Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry/Subcommittee on Production Income Protection and Price Support, Senate Special Committee on Aging, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations/Subcommittee on African Affairs, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations/Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations/Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Peace Corps and Narcotics Affairs, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs/Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs/Subcommittee on State Local and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 5, 2002
First Took Current Office:
January 7, 2003
Next Election:
November 4, 2008
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Mayor, St. Paul
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 2550 University Ave. West, Suite 100N, St. Paul, MN 55114
Phone: 651-645-0323 / Fax: 651-645-3110
2. 12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 2167, Mankato, MN 56001
Phone: 507-625-6800 / Fax: 507-625-9427

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: August 17, 1949

  1. "Coleman Goes to Court Over Senate Recount", Star Tribune, January 7, 2009
  2. "Franken's request to dismiss Coleman suit is denied", "Star Tribune", January 23, 2009
  3. [44] January 24, 2007.
  4. Carah Ong, "Lieberman-Kyl Introduce Provocative Amendment," Iran Nuclear Watch Blogspot, September 21, 2007. Post includes link to copy of amendment.
  5. Editorial: "Countering Iran’s Designs," National Review Online, September 21, 2007.
  6. Vote Tracker, Oil Change International.
  7. See "Follow the Oil Money," "Follow the Coal Money," and vote tracker from Oil Change International and Appalachian Voices.
  8. About, American Action Forum, accessed December 23, 2011.
  9. "Privately-Sponsored Travel by Senator Coleman. Republican Jewish Coalition – various," Office of Sen. Norman Coleman, undated.