Heeb and The Nation have had some fun with the revelation that former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman — also a current Republican Jewish Coalition board member — is a registered lobbyist for the Saudis.
On July 15, Coleman, who has since 2011 lobbied with the firm of Hogan Lovells, registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act as “rendering advice and providing representation” to the Saudi embassy in Washington “regarding U.S. legal and policy developments involving Iran and limiting Iran nuclear capability.”
So here’s the thing: in 2005, Coleman was one of 15 senators who signed a letter to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urging “stronger action” against the Saudis for “egregious violations of religious freedoms.”
But here’s the other thing: Coleman’s work with the Saudis is, as cast in his declaration, narrowly confined to keeping Iran from going nuclear. And he’s shared this interest with the Saudis at least throughout his Senate career; I found at least 20 pieces of legislation throughout his 2003-2009 stint in the Senate targeting Iran. Here’s a typical example from 2007, incorporating language that eventually made it into far-reaching Iran sanctions.
So Coleman is doing what comes naturally, ideas-wise.
Still, that getting-to-know-you meeting with the clients must have been a lot of fun.