Senate Majority Project

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

How do You Say “Toady” in Dutch?

Coleman carries water for Bush’s biggest donor

Just when you thought Sen. Norm Coleman might succeed in selling you on his moderate record, he has once again proven to be a loyal Bush foot solider. In yesterday’s Washington Post, Coleman placed himself on the record in support of the ambassadorship Roland Arnall, to the Netherlands. Arnall as many know is the founder and principal shareholder of Ameriquest, the nation’s largest sub-prime lender. Arnall has also been the President’s largest campaign contributor since 2002 (of note, according to campaign finance data, Arnall has never made a contribution to Coleman). Ameriquest has been under investigation by a number of states, including Minnesota, for their predatory lending practices. Practices which include: misrepresenting fees and costs, pressuring appraisers to inflate property values so borrowers could get bigger loans and promising customers they would receive lower interest rates and then give them higher rates anyway.

Coleman voted for Arnall, despite Minnesota’s extensive investigation into Ameriquest’s dealings, stating, “Mr. Arnall is not the subject of any investigation. His personal actions have never been called into question. His credibility and integrity were praised by members from both sides of the aisle during his hearings. For these reasons, it is inappropriate to hold up Mr. Arnall’s nomination.”

Not so fast.

Arnall’s credibility was suspect enough for GOP Senator Chuck Hagel, to say, “I do think it's important who represents this country abroad. I do think we should send people who are not under a cloud of investigation. Mr. Arnall, fairly or unfairly, finds himself in that position.

So why is Coleman helping yet another Bush crony get a prestigious job? A fair question for Minnesotans to ask.