Al Franken on the ropes

Alleged comedian and failed talk show host Al Franken hoped to move back to Minnesota and grab himself a seat in the Senate. Thanks to a local blogger, that probably won't happen, no matter how many millions his Hollywood friends donate.

Michael Brodkorb, whose site Minnesota Democrats Exposed   has dogged Franken, doing the work the mainstream media won't do. Even more than most laces, the media in Minnesota is dominated by liberals who generally refuse to expose liberals to unfavorable publicity. Perhaps that is why Minnesota is home to so many outstanding conservative bloggers.

MDE has exposed Franken's serious problems with paying taxes. Patrick Duncan of AP writes-up Brodkorb's extraordinary work: the last two months Brodkorb has scored two direct hits that have the Franken campaign reeling. Brodkorb scooped the traditional media by detailing extensive bookkeeping problems in New York and California that ultimately prompted Franken, this week, to pay about $70,000 in back taxes to pay about $70,000 in back taxes to 17 states. A typical Brodkorb scoop is splashed across his Web site under bold-faced banners like "Shock!" or "Breaking News!" The items are often followed soon after by a news release from the state Republican Party on the same subject, and many of his themes find their way into Coleman's talking points.

The most famous Minnesota blog of all, Powerline, today wonders if  Franken is attempting to cover up his tax problems:

First came the revelation of his failure to pay workers' compensation insurance in New York. Then came the revelation of his failure to file corporate tax returns in California. This week it was revealed that Franken owes $70,000 in back taxes in 17 states.

The numbers involved in the last incident are striking. Observers naturally want to know how if Franken's tax problems result from an oversight or something more serious, and whether they are confined to the period acknowledged so far (2003-2006). Franken has refused to release his tax returns and filed for an extension on his 2007 return.

Franken has blamed the problems on Allen Chanzis, his New York accountant. In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Franken said Chanzis told him he needed to pay taxes only in states where he lived.

Yesterday the
Star Tribune contacted Chanzis to get his side of the story, but the Star Tribune found that Franken seems to have been one step ahead of them. Someone had already instructed Chanzis not to talk with reporters. [....]

 Franken or his representatives have obviously instructed Chanzis not to talk to the press. Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for this instruction, but it is untenable for Franken to blame the problems on a professional and then order him to stay mum. To outward appearances, this is a cover-up. It is perhaps the most damning development yet in the continuing saga of the comedian who hasn't been deliberately funny since the expiration of the Al Franken Decade in 1990.

These problems couldn't happen to a more appropriate person than Franken, who is a nasty piece of work. It will be very hard to explain to Minnesotans how failing to pay 70 large in taxes was an oversight. Saying that this is a trivial sum to a guy like Franken will not garner much sympathy. Calling it an oversight and blaming the accountant will not exactly recommend him for the responsibilities of a United States Senator spending taxpayers money by the trillions every year. Ethel C. Fenig correctly points out that lack of personal responsibiltiy is part and parcel of the Democrats' ideology: everything is the fault of big business, white poeple, men, etc. But Franken, as a white male and probably much richer than his accoutant, is not advantageouly situated.

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