Mitt Romney and some of his top congressional supporters are gathering Wednesday morning at the Capitol Hill offices of the American Trucking Association for a power breakfast fundraiser co-hosted by a line up of Washington’s most influential lobbyists.
An invitation for the event -- obtained by NBC News -- provides a glimpse into how the capital’s Republican power figures are coming together behind the Massachusetts governor despite his less than commanding position in the polls.
“It’s the Washington establishment coalescing behind him,” said one lobbyist who asked not to be identified about the trucking association fundraiser. “What this means is all the guys talking to their clients and their corporations and telling them, ‘Mitt is the guy.’”
The breakfast event is part of a quick D.C. buckraking tour for Romney that is expected to rake in over $500,000. On Tuesday night, Romney swung by the home of technology executive Bobbie Kilberg for a fundraiser whose guests included Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association (and often mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate.)
Among the congressional co-hosts for the Wednesday event are several top GOP leaders who are now backing Romney, including House Oversight and Government Reform chair Rep. Darrell Issa, Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon, Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Mike Rogers, Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Orrin Hatch of Utah. Also on the list is freshman Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin, a protégé of former Karl Rove who recently endorsed Romney and agreed to head up his campaign in Arkansas.
But even more interesting are the twelve D.C. lobbyists are also co-hosting the event: Among them: superlobbyist Wayne Berman (a national finance co-chair of the Romney campaign) and his partner at Ogilvy Government Relations Drew Maloney (clients include the American Petroleum Institute, Chevron and Verizon), Jeff Choudhry of the Nickles Group (Eli Lilly, Walmart, Comcast) , Philmore Anderson of Navigators Global (AT&T, General Motors) and Mark Isakowitz of Fierce, Isakowitz (Coca-Cola, Apple, American Gaming Association) and Ron Kaufman of Dutko Worldwide (Allergan, American Pacific and In Situ Oil Sands Alliance.)
Why the American Trucking Association office? Its convenience, explained First Read’s lobbyist source. Its right off Capitol Hill -- easy for members and next door to the Republican National Committee’s Capitol Hill Club. (The trucking group’s president is Bill Graves, a former governor of Kansas.)
And next week, Romney has what may be his biggest Wall Street fundraising yet -- a mega event at the Grand Hyatt hotel with over 100 co-hosts, including many from Wall Street investment and banking firms.