Republicans called Al Franken a hypocrite and Franken campaign officials called Norm Coleman derelict in his duty as the campaigns for Coleman's U.S. Senate seat traded charges Wednesday.
At a news conference, state GOP Chairman Ron Carey accused Franken, the DFL-endorsed candidate, of hypocrisy for bashing oil and pharmaceutical companies that are held in some mutual funds he owns.
"It's past time for Al Franken to put his money where his mouth is and divest his holdings," Carey said.
Carey produced no evidence that Franken has purchased stock directly in oil and pharmaceuticals. And Franken campaign officials released a document they prepared last month, when Republicans first attacked Franken over his mutual funds, showing that many of the stocks cited either are not listed in his mutual funds or make up a tiny fraction of the holdings.
"This shoddily researched accusation is wholly without merit, much like Norm Coleman's record of selling out to special interests, which nobody seems able to defend," said campaign spokesman Andy Barr.
Separately, in a statement Wednesday, the Franken campaign said Coleman failed to hold hearings on waste and abuse in the reconstruction of Iraq when he was chairman of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Franken's campaign, which has made similar charges in the past, noted a recent New York Times report that a Pentagon official was booted from his job when he refused to pay more than $1 billion in charges to a Halliburton subsidiary.