We’re three years away from the election but Republicans are already lining up to run for the White House. So far, Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are rumored to be preparing presidential bids and snagging headlines along the way.
That trio makes up the best-known names in the Senate’s tea party club, but there’s also a fourth: Mike Lee, who isn’t vacationing in Iowa or New Hampshire anytime soon.
While Paul, Cruz and Rubio are laying down the groundwork for a possible bid — Cruz spoke in South Carolina on Friday — Lee is keeping his focus on the Senate.
Asked last week whether Lee would consider his own bid for the Oval Office, an aide responded: “No dice.”
In exile • Former Sen. Bob Bennett is a registered lobbyist, following through on his promise to help his consulting clients navigate Washington. Who he’s lobbying for might surprise you.
He’s representing the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a trade group representing community development organizations and a group fighting against the estate tax.
Oh, and he’s also representing a man accused of attempting to assassinate the president of Benin, the tiny West African nation.
Patrice Talon, a wealthy cotton baron, is now in exile in Paris and has hired Arent Fox, for which Bennett works as a “senior policy analyst,” to help him with his investments. At the same time, Benin is petitioning France to extradite Talon.
The registration form, filed April 25, doesn’t say what Talon is paying Arent Fox.
Shootin’ with Orrin • Now that gun-control legislation has been shot down, it’s time to reload on political fundraisers involving firearms. Sen. Orrin Hatch is planning the “First Annual Orrin Hatch Sportsmen’s Retreat” in August at the Browning rifle company’s headquarters in Morgan.
The event, sponsored by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is raising cash for OrrinPAC, according to an invite posted by the Sunlight Foundation.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz has held two similar fundraisers at a skeet range just outside of Washington.
Matheson’s giving • A new study, by the Center for Responsive Politics, found that 83 percent of the money Rep. Jim Matheson contributed to fellow House Democrats has gone to Blue Dog caucus members. The tally includes contributions from 2007 to the end of last year, during which time Matheson passed $69,200 of his campaign chest to other Democrats — $57,700 of which went to Blue Dog compatriots.
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Burr and Canham report from Washington, D.C.