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Lobbyists to the Rescue

Ever since losing to Mr. Money Bags (Ned Lamont) in the Senate Democratic primary and declaring an Independent candidacy, Sen. Joe Lieberman (?-Conn.) increasingly has been relying on Washington, D.C., lobbyists — Republicans as well as Democrats — to help him hang on to his seat.

Though it won’t be known until mid-October how much money Lieberman has or will have raised from Republicans since his August primary loss, GOP lobbyists clearly are eager to help him.

Take, for example, an invitation to an upcoming Lieberman fundraiser circulated by Ruth Ravitz Smith, a GOP lobbyist at Brown Rudnick.

“I hope that you will join me in demonstrating your support for Senator Lieberman’s campaign for the US Senate,” Smith wrote in the e-mail. “This will be the only major event for the Senator in Washington this fall. Please help spread the word to colleagues, clients and friends.”

Democratic lobbyists seem just as eager to help out with the event, which is scheduled for Sept. 26 at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill. (The suggested price of admission is $1,000 per person and $2,500 per political action committee contribution.)

Tom Litjen, vice president of government relations at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, circulated an invitation to financial services lobbyists, telling them: “As you know, our friend, Sen. Joe Lieberman, is now locked in a difficult battle for his political survival. I don’t need to tell you what a great friend Sen. Lieberman has been to the industry in his eighteen years in the Senate.”

Despite rumors to the contrary and the fact that out-of-state Republicans and lobbyists are helping Lieberman, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, in a meeting with Roll Call editors and reporters Monday, unequivocally rejected the notion that the RNC will spend any of its money to help Lieberman defeat Lamont in November.

Tammy Sun, a spokeswoman for the Lieberman campaign, declined to give a breakdown of how campaign donations are breaking down. “We are grateful for the contributions received from Democrats, Republicans and Independents and we look forward to seeing supporters of all party affiliations at the fundraiser,” she said.

That’s Kuhl, Dude. Let’s hope they have foxholes at the fundraiser Vice President Cheney is scheduled to attend later this month for Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.) — both men are known to have a penchant for wild gun slinging.

If readers recall, widely reported divorce records showed that Kuhl, currently running for his second term, pulled not one but two shotguns on his wife during a 1994 dinner party at their home. Kuhl’s ex-wife also described him as an abusive drunk who “hustled women.”

Cheney, the man who may always be remembered for accidentally shooting his good friend on a hunting trip, has agreed to do a private photo-op at a Sept. 22 fundraiser for Kuhl in Rochester, N.Y. And, yes, you guessed it, Kuhl is considered vulnerable this year.

As one Democratic operative told HOH, “I can’t tell what Cheney likes best about him—Kuhl’s penchant for rubber-stamping the president or for combining beer with firearm use.”

(Cheney admitted to having just one beer the day he shot Harry Whittington in the face.)

Members Vs. Lobbyists. We’ve all seen the tension building between Members of Congress and lobbyists since the Jack Abramoff scandal broke. Tonight, the showdown arrives with the eighth annual Hoops for Hope Congressional v. Lobbyists Charity Basketball All-Star Classic at George Washington University’s Charles E. Smith Athletic Center.

Among the Members suiting up this year: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) and Reps. Mike Oxley (R-Ohio), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.).

Hoops for Hope benefits Hill Help, Horton’s Kids, and The Luke Tiahrt Foundation, named for the son of Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) who committed suicide.

And ... don’t miss the second annual Longest Yard Fall Classic, scheduled for one week from today on Sept. 19 at Gallaudet University football field. Members will square off against Capitol Police officers to benefit the Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

Director He-Man. While he isn’t eligible for Members’ athletic competitions, former Rep. Rob Portman, now director of the Office of Management and Budget, still manages to remain, first and foremost, a fit man.

“The House gym is where I get most of my work done,” the Ohio Republican recently told Roll Call reporters and editors.

In fact, he was scheduled that evening to go to the gym, where he usually bumps into Reps. Tom Osborne (R-Neb.), aka “the coach,” and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), one of Portman’s kayaking buddies.

Portman used to play basketball at the gym. “But in my old age” (as he put it) he stays off the court and instead kayaks in the pool.

“Practice my rolls, paddle around,” he said. “You can tell I pump a lot of iron,” he joked, flexing his — how can we put this delicately? — thin arms. Though “trim and fit” does seem about right.

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.

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