Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman seems to be making preparations for life after office, having signed up as a paid adviser to the Republican Jewish Coalition earlier this week.
The move is one of the clearest indications to date that the St. Paul Republican is preparing for the possibility that he will lose his legal challenges for the state's still vacant Senate seat. The position at the RJC is salaried -- something he could not hold if he were still in office. And, according to officials with the organization, Coleman is not going to take the new responsibilities lightly.
"This is a real job with a lot of time that he is going to put into it," said Matthew Brooks, president of the RJC. "Norm has been involved in the RJC before he was a senator, since he was mayor of St. Paul. And now that what is happening in Minnesota is in the hands of the lawyers, that gives him free time to do the things he wants to do."
Coleman, as Brooks notes, could still win reelection should his legal challenges be upheld. And if that were the case, his position at the RJC would be terminated. "There is very specific language on this," said Brooks. "This is an important time to take advantage of his counsel and time ... fully recognizing that he could be back in the Senate in a few months."
From RJC's perspective, the hiring of Coleman represents a chance to expand the Republican Party's Jewish outreach efforts. Coleman would help the group with fundraising and, ostensibly, legislative programs, though the official description is "consultant and strategic adviser." The RJC insists he will "not engage in any lobbying on behalf of the organization."
UPDATE: A Republican source emails in to rightfully note that Coleman, who is one of the Senate's least rich members, needs the money to help pay his legal bills for the election challenge.
"It's pretty simple, Sen. Coleman is not a member of the millionaires' club and he needs to work to a earn a living," spokesman Mark Drake told the American Spectator. "This changes nothing in the current contest, which we expect Sen. Coleman to prevail in."
On the flip side: If Coleman were to pull out a win, how beholden will he be to RJC interests? The group not only lobbies the government but will have helped finance his legal bills.