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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The bucks start flowing today for LeMieux



Lemieuxinvite The political transformation of George LeMieux takes another turn today as lobbyists and corporate interests line up to fill his newly created political action committee with donations.

The interim U.S. Senator will attend a fundraiser at Charlie Palmer Steak house in Washington, where guests will hand over checks worth up to $5,000 for Protect America's Future PAC.

"Why should Sen. LeMieux mail it in over the next 15
months?" asked lobbyist T.J. Petrizzo. "He is working hard for the good of Floridians, and all Americans on legislation and policy impacting folks' daily lives. Part of being a strong team player in politics is helping your colleagues get re-elected -- whether you are a Democrat or a Republican."

A Republican, Petrizzo has helped raise money for politicians of both stripes, including Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson  -- the man some feel LeMieux may try to take on in 2012.

Petrizzo said in an interview that he recently met LeMieux but added he has not lobbied him on any issues, including health care. Other top lobbyists expected to attend include David Hobbs, who was President George W. Bush's point man on Capitol Hill, and Wendy Grubbs, who once worked for Florida Sen. Connie Mack.

LeMieux has said he'll use the PAC to support other candidates and that could include Gov. Charlie Crist, who appointed LeMieux to the Senate after Mel Martinez quit and is now seeking the position.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is the featured guest at tonight's fundraiser. He is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which backed Crist immediately after he declared he would seek the Martinez seat. He then announced the NRSC would not spend any money in the primary, which is standard practice.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:08pm]


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