Coleman says DC apartment is a non-issue

Sen. Coleman
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., is running for re-election in November 2008.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman says he would welcome an ethics committee review of his living arrangements in Washington, D.C.

Democrats allege that Coleman's $600 a month rent is too low, and could be a violation Senate gift ban rules. They raised additional questions this week about Coleman's nonpayment of utility bills for 12 months.

After a state Capitol news conference today, Coleman told reporters that his apartment arrangement is a non-issue.

"It is a shoebox that I spend a couple waking hours in," said Coleman. "And as I travel the state, I gotta tell you, people of Minnesota actually appreciate the fact that I live humbly as a senator, that I'm not living the way some people think senators live. And I do that because my family and my home is here in St. Paul."

Coleman rents a room in a Washington row house owned by Republican businessman Jeff Larson.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint last month about Coleman's living arrangement.

Coleman is running for a second term in the upcoming election. He is opposed by DFLers Al Franken and Priscilla Lord Faris, and several IP candidates, including Dean Barkley, Jack Uldrich and Stephen Williams.