Sen. Marco Rubio meets with Washington fundraising heavyweights

June 6, 2013 at 8:46 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., seen as a possible candidate in the Republican presidential sweepstakes, has met with lobbyists and fundraisers, The Hill reported.

People with knowledge of the meeting between Rubio, who's been mum about his intentions in the 2016 general election, and the well-heeled Washington insiders focused on raising money to help GOP candidates in the 2014 midterm elections, The Hill reported Thursday.

A lobbyist who attended the meeting told The Hill the purpose was "to engage people on a more full-time basis to raise money for Rubio's campaign and for his leadership PAC."

"It's mostly for his leadership PAC. He's going to be very engaged in helping others around the country and getting the message out," the source said, estimating more than two dozen "downtown folks from all different industries" attended the meeting.

The assumption was that the fundraising group would help launch Rubio's presidential campaign should he decide on a White House run, other sources said.

"I took it as preparation, to be prepared to run for the White House," one attendee said.

The heads of Rubio's Washington fundraising activities are Dirk Van Dongen, president of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, and former Rep. Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., a senior adviser at the lobbying firm Akin Gump.

A spokesman for Rubio declined to comment, The Hill said.

People familiar with Rubio's fundraising operation told The Hill the Florida Republican, who delivered a keynote address at the Republican National Convention, hasn't decided whether to run for president, but wants to lay a foundation so that option is available in two years.

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