Did a morning check on the Al Franken-Norm Coleman race, and saw that Coleman was vowing to fight on.
Which is why I found it particularly odd to see that Coleman has lined up another gig — as a consultant and strategic adviser to the Republican Jewish Coalition. The RJC ‘s executive director, Matt Brooks, insists the organization assumes that is a temporary arrangement, until Coleman wins his legal fight to return to the Senate. But, still… it’s hard to see how this announcement will do anything but further cement the idea in people’s minds that Coleman is out and Franken is in.
The RJC makes a point of insisting that Coleman will not be doing any lobbying. Yet the RJC does engage in lobbying (at least they did last year) — so already Democrats are starting to ask: How exactly can Coleman be lunching with GOP senators as if he is one of them and at the same time be advising an organization that has had a lobbying component?
[UPDATE: Brooks tells our Eric Fingerhut that lawyers have vetted the arrangement and declared it kosher as long as Coleman is not involved in RJC lobbying.]
Here’s the release:
RJC Announces Norm Coleman to Serve as Consultant and Strategic Advisor
Washington, D.C. (January 22, 2009) — Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks announced today that Senator Norm Colelman (MN) has agreed to join the RJC as a consultant and strategic advisor. In this capacity, Coleman will help the RJC as it plans for the future and looks at ways to continue its historic record of growth and success. Coleman will also provide strategic guidance on important policy matters affecting the organization and the Jewish community. In addition, Coleman, a tremendously popular speaker, will travel around the country on behalf of the RJC, speaking in Jewish communities across the country on the state of current affairs. Finally, Coleman will also help the RJC recruit and expand its national leadership base. Coleman will not engage in any lobbying on behalf of the organization.
RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said, "We are thrilled and honored to have Norm Coleman join us at the RJC at this critical time. We look forward to having the benefit of his experience and wise counsel to help the RJC plot its future course. We are confident that in a few months Senator Coleman will return to his seat in the Senate, but until that time, we are eager for him to travel across the country on our behalf and to be an important voice within the organization."
UPDATE: I should add that while this announcement would seem to raise a few questions about how strongly Coleman believes he’s going to prevail against Franken, it certainly strikes this observer as a swift and smart move on the part of the RJC. As it stands now, there aren’t that many former Jewish Republican lawmakers with anything close to resembling a national profile. And, to boot, Coleman has the ability to jack up the Jewish Republican base, but is also the sort of Jewish GOPer with the capability of speaking to Jewish centrists.