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Saudi Arabia has added Norm Coleman to its lobbying payroll, the Nation reports

Norm Coleman
MinnPost file photo by Brian Halliday
Norm Coleman

Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, who’s been a lobbyist and a Super PAC head since losing to Al Franken in 2008, is now on Saudi Arabia’s payroll as a lobbyist.

The Nation, in an article noticed by Blois Olson and his Morning Take, says that Coleman is a lobbyist with the Hogan Lovells law firm and also heads two major campaign finance groups that are directing millions of dollars to Republican congressional candidates around the country.

Now, says the story: “Disclosures show that the latest addition to the Saudi government payroll includes former US Senator Norm Coleman, a Republican from Minnesota who leads one of the largest Super PACs in the country.”

And: “What’s notable about the hiring of Coleman is that he appears to be the first leader of a significant Super PAC to simultaneously lobby for a foreign government.”

Coleman is chair of the Congressional Leadership Fund, one of the largest Super PACs, and he also chairs the nonprofit American Action Network. The story says the two groups reportedly plan to funnel $8.1 million to help GOP candidates in ten congressional districts.

Lobbying expert Craig Holman of the Public Citizen told the Nation:

“Regrettably, even former lawmakers serving as hired guns for foreign governments is not unusual. But this is the first I’ve heard of a revolver serving both on the lobbying side for a foreign government and running a domestic campaign spending operation through a super PAC and dark money nonprofit group, which are not supposed to receive or spend foreign money in our elections. This type of com[m]ingling of roles is ripe for abuse and is most difficult to monitor.”

At least one of the members of Congress that Coleman’s political campaign groups is trying to defeat has influence over Saudia Arabia policy, the story says: Congressman Ami Bera, a California Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 09/22/2014 - 12:10 pm.

    Saudi Arabia

    is big on oil,
    and Coleman is as slippery as they come.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 09/23/2014 - 09:15 am.

      Oils Well That Ends Well

      Norm lands on his feet.
      Its a job. Can’t argue there.

      Its the kind of job some former politicians get.
      If people think congress can be a bit loathsome, why would they expect a different attitude
      in the afterlife?

      Obviously, Norman is representing our best interests
      as a hired gun for foreign governments and their interests.

  2. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 09/22/2014 - 02:04 pm.

    What did we expect?

    Saudi Arabia has one of the most brutal and oppressive governments on the planet.

    It practices wholesale discrimination against and dehumanization of women. According to wikipedia women make up 70% of university students, yet occupy only 5% of the workforce. If a woman dares to be seen without covering and is raped, she can be found guilty for the crime. Marital rape and statutory rape are not prohibited.

    The country is a theocracy and religious freedom is practically nonexistent. Apostasy from Islam can result in death or imprisonment. The government’s treatment of religious minorities has been called “religious apartheid.” Any talk of atheism has been made a ‘terrorist offense.’

    Human rights in the country are a nightmare:

    That Coleman is perfectly willing to go to bat for this retrograde cesspool of anti-humanity—anything for money, right Norm?—is not really surprising. Followers of this Republican empty suit should expect nothing less.

  3. Submitted by John Peschken on 09/22/2014 - 04:52 pm.

    He’s doing okay for a guy who was beaten by Jesse “The Mind” Ventura.

  4. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 09/23/2014 - 04:31 pm.

    Is Coleman a pissant or a step ant?

    There really is an ant called a Pissant (Step ant). probably sneaked into the luggage of Danish or Scandinavian emigres many moons ago; European in its origins.

    Old folktale was the housewife just off the boat unwrapping her trunks at their claim hut and out crawls this ‘European transport’, the piss ant, one very smelly bug if you stamp on it.

    “Quick” says Marta the immigrant nervously, “there is a step ant…piss on it!”

    Zebra mussels are the latest example of unwanted imports but Coleman brings back the pissant again…”step on him’ with his smelly Saudi allegiances so presently directed?

    The Nation does highlight one expose one should be constantly aware of; but even progressive journalism takes awhile to educate or be taken seriously in this predominately slow-to -moderate media spin arena?

    This issue or issues have been functioning too well for some time, yes, but campaign time makes its dominate mark on this nation’s fallibility? And present commitments among candidates with those questionable bedfellows; or be it the Pentagon, the military, make this issue and the definitive prominence of the Saudis is a great time to be reminded…plus then too,don’t forget Nettanyahu and the Israel lobbyists; and who else among oil powerful corporations etc. who may find it imperative to control our political arena?

    Money, power marketplace candidates acceptable…is that all there is?

    The question is, who needs to vote in a nation where the vote is a joke we romanticize as being our right but is compromised in a country so accepting, crippled by a virtual process claiming to affirm honest choice within this nation…what a sick joke we perpetrate on ourselves through our ‘trust’ in whom nowadays?

    Coleman is just another self-serving step ant…piss on him…about all one can do; sad indeed…

  5. Submitted by jason myron on 09/24/2014 - 03:26 pm.

    That longhair

    from Hofstra pictured yelling though a megaphone back in his youth pretty much just checked his soul at the door of adulthood, didn’t he?

  6. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/24/2014 - 03:43 pm.

    Value for their money?

    I can’t imagine what the Saudis think hiring Mr. Coleman is going to do for them. He was elected Senator largely due to a fluke, and had no real popular base in the state he purported to represent. His election was close, and he served one term. Mr. Coleman’s Senate service was distinguished by a level of fealty to the Bush administration that would have embarrassed the average lapdog. He was denied re-election by, it is true, the narrowest of margins, but everyone seems to be smart enough to realize that there is no political future for him in Minnesota. What does he have to offer, other than shamelss opportunism?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 09/25/2014 - 03:27 pm.


      Shameless opportunism, and a giant wad of Saudi oil money, gets you a whole helluva lot in the United States (congress) these days..

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