Franken owes over $1.3 million for recount

  • Updated: April 18, 2009 - 8:51 AM

DFLer Al Franken, leading Republican Norm Coleman by 312 votes in the still-unresolved U.S. Senate race, was also nearly a million dollars in hock to his main recount lawyers at the end of March, according to federal election reports released Friday.

Federal Election Commission reports show that Franken and Coleman have spent roughly $6 million each on the recount and the election trial that followed, though Coleman lists no debts or obligations.

Of the $1.3 million in debt listed by the Franken campaign, $926,839 is owed to Perkins Coie, the law firm of recount attorneys Marc Elias and Kevin Hamilton.

Perkins Coie clients have included many Democrats in Congress, as well as the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry.

The Seattle-based firm also represented Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire in her protracted 2004 recount battle with Republican Dino Rossi, a legal smackdown that many political analysts compare to the Minnesota Senate race.

The firm is also noted for its representation of Salim Hamdan, whose case as the alleged driver and bodyguard of Osama bin Laden led the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the Bush administration's military commissions unconstitutional.

The rest of Franken's current legal debt is owed to two Minneapolis firms. His campaign owes $320,466 to Fredrickson & Byron, which includes recount attorney David Lillehaug, and $72,233 to the political fund of Lockridge Grindal Nauen, whose lobbying clients include many Minnesota cities and counties.

Heading into Coleman's appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, Franken listed $483,731 in cash on hand, compared with $469,563 for Coleman.

KEVIN DIAZ

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