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The evening starts like so many in Washington, with bartenders slinging drinks, waiters hoisting hors d’oeuvres, and the region’s power brokers mingling in a crowded room, waiting for the night’s man of the hour. Tonight the dining room belongs to former Ambassador Peter Terpeluk Jr., whose Chevy Chase, Md., house is filled to the brim. With almost five dozen co-chairs and hosts on the fund-raising committee, the event has brought out a veritable who’s who of the Republican Party. Reagan administration alumni litter the room, with the likes of Louis Cordia and Lanny Griffith shoulder to shoulder with lawmakers such as Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and David Dreier (R-Calif.), as well as D.C. legal icons such as Theodore Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher — all waiting to get their and their Rolodex’s money’s worth. This is Rudy Giuliani’s Washington coming-out party. The March 22 event featured the former New York City mayor turned GOP presidential candidate spending more than an hour on his presidential platform talking points, from terrorism and taxes to the more touchy subject of his third marriage — all while throwing in a self-deprecating comment or two. It also brought in cash raising more than $600,000. “We far exceeded our goal that the campaign had given us for the event,” says Charles Grizzle, a former Reagan administration appointee, major Bush donor, and co-chairman for the inaugural fund-raiser. “I think there still is a lot of enthusiasm for Rudy in Washington, and around the country, for that matter.” This wasn’t Giuliani’s first time making the rounds inside the Beltway. While a Yankee-hat-wearing fixture in New York and a household name nationwide after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Giuliani is still an outsider in Washington. He hasn’t held a job here since the early 1980s, when he served as the No. 3 in President Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department. As a result, he and his campaign have been laying the groundwork since the beginning of the year to build a base of loyal lobbyists, lawmakers, and downtown types to beef up his Washington bona fides and, of course, rake in the money. “There’s an aggressive ongoing effort in Washington, K Street, the lobbying community, and the Republican Party generally in Washington,” says former Rep. Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.), a lobbyist at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, whose wife, Susan Molinari, is chairing Giuliani’s D.C. effort. “When you have several incumbent House and Senate members signing onto the race, to have somebody from out of town enjoy that kind of support from folks in Washington is particularly noteworthy.” Giuliani’s numbers reflect that success. The former mayor raised more than $16.6 million during the first quarter, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s $23.4 million yet still edging out Arizona Sen. John McCain’s $13 million performance. And Giuliani’s still the front-runner in the polls (although the gap between him and McCain has gotten smaller in recent weeks). Still, the former mayor has hurdles to clear in Washington if he wants to secure the GOP nomination — starting with, ironically, the law firm that bears his name on its door. The lawyers and lobbyists at Bracewell & Giuliani kept their wallets shut to Giuliani during the first quarter. And the industry with which he’s most associated — homeland security — hasn’t whipped out its checkbook much, either. Giuliani also must get past the fact that political action committees, the backbone of most campaigns, are largely closed to presidential candidates, especially those that don’t have a plum seat on a committee in Congress. Still, Giuliani’s performance in the last debate is fueling what his backers see as an increasing groundswell of support. “I think the momentum is now with us. People have to come to the same realization that he’s the guy,” says David Urban, a lobbyist at the American Continental Group. MAKING INROADS Since his stint as associate attorney general in the Reagan administration translated into his appointment as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Giuliani hasn’t been a creature of Washington. Instead, he’s used his political connections — mainly out of his New York home base — to jump-start his D.C. presence. Those ties run deep. First he tapped Molinari, a former New York representative and now a Washington Group lobbyist, to head up his Washington effort. Molinari and Giuliani have known each other for more than 20 years. She and her father — former New York state Rep. Lou Molinari, who is also a national co-chairman and New York state co-chairman for Giuliani — helped convince Giuliani to run for his first unsuccessful bid to become New York’s mayor. Her husband, Paxon, is also a national co-chairman for the Giuliani campaign. The campaign also tapped Dirk Van Dongen, head of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, to lead Giuliani’s Washington fund-raising efforts. The Washington contingency is meeting regularly with about 40 supportive lobbyists, including John Feehery of the Feehery Group, William Gainer of the Ashcroft Group, pollster Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group, and Craig Brightup of the National Roofing Contractors Association. The meetings focus on issues the campaign should be talking about, the atmosphere in Washington, and fund-raising, says Molinari. Despite all the efforts, Molinari says, it’s been relatively easy to get Giuliani Inc. in Washington started. “There’s so many people, either downtown and even on Capitol Hill, who have contacted me, we haven’t really gotten to the recruitment stage,” she says. Molinari’s also put together a network of lawmakers who are acting as Giuliani’s yeomen to garner support on Capitol Hill. Representatives such as Dreier, Rep. David Vitter (La.), and Sessions — whose campaign chairman in his last congressional bid, Roy Bailey, is Giuliani’s money man — are among his biggest supporters. Most recently, Giuliani was in town for a Capitol Hill outreach reception at Shelley’s Back Room with more than two dozen lawmakers attending. “I am working with his team, as have a number of members in both houses of Congress,” says Dreier, who campaigned with Giuliani during California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent re-election win. “We’ve really been focused on trying to build support here.” Giuliani’s also tapped into the network of former colleagues from his days as a U.S. attorney who have relocated inside the Beltway. That contingency includes lawyers at litigation boutique Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Evans, Todd & Figel, such as Mark Hansen, Reid Figel, K. Chris Todd, and Michael Kellogg. The firm put on a small fund-raiser for Giuliani. “The Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office has a pretty strong alumni base,” says Kenneth Feinberg of the Feinberg Group, who gave $2,300 to Giuliani. Feinberg, who remains close to Giuliani, used him as a personal reference when he was going through the appointment process to become the special master of the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Giuliani has also looked outside of New York to bolster support from the legal community. He’s counting on Olson of Gibson, Dunn to build a national network of lawyers and lead his justice advisory committee. Olson’s firm contributed more than $40,000 to Giuliani during the first quarter. Olson’s and Giuliani’s ties go back to 1981, during the Reagan administration, when Olson served in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department while Giuliani was there. The campaign hasn’t yet formally announced its justice advisory committee members, but former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, who is now general counsel at PepsiCo, has already signed on. The committee will write position papers on judicial appointments, legal reform, and other issues and also write speeches for Giuliani. “I want a representative group of highly successful people who have attained things in the legal profession,” Olson says of the justice advisory committee. And, he adds, “Not just [in] the Eastern corridor.” Olson is also helping prep Giuliani for debates (he was down in South Carolina for the May 15 Republican presidential candidates’ debate). Olson has some experience running national lawyer networks. During the 1970s, he chaired then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan’s lawyers committee, and he had a similar role for both Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. “We’re building up a network of lawyers throughout the U.S., a cadre of people familiar with legal issues that can act as surrogate spokespersons, write op-eds, and participate possibly with respect to fund-raising,” Olson says. IN-SECURITY As Giuliani looks to capitalize on his Beltway ties, the homeland security industry seems like a natural friend. After Giuliani left office in 2001, he started a consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, which used his anti-terrorism cachet to secure deals within the industry to build its business. But so far, he hasn’t been able to tap that resource effectively. In the first quarter, the defense and homeland security industries didn’t even make it into the top 20 industries contributing to his campaign, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. This presidential election will be the first for an industry that is starting to mature since the inception of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003. So far, the defense industry has given Giuliani slightly more than $5,000. And lobbyists say there is a largely untapped middle- to small-business market that hasn’t yet donated to any of the presidential candidates. “I have not seen that there’s been a push by any particular candidate” to win over the homeland security industry, says Bruce deGrazia, head of the Homeland Security Industries Association and a lobbyist at the Carmen Group. But, the industry could play a larger role in the 2008 election. The HSIA is in talks to start its own political action committee, and lobbyists say that as the race advances, homeland security and defense companies, which are risk-averse by nature, will start pouring money into the race. Van Dongen, Giuliani’s head of finance in Washington, says the campaign hasn’t targeted any individual industries yet. Yet there is still the mystery of why Bracewell & Giuliani’s lawyers and lobbyists in the firm’s D.C. office haven’t been actively supporting Giuliani either. According to Federal Election Commission records, Milam Mabry, a lobbyist in the D.C. office, gave $1,000 during the first quarter. Mabry represents clients such as Syngenta Corp., the city of Carrollton, Texas, and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. “Our firm is not involved in Rudy’s campaign,” says Patrick Oxford, chairman of Bracewell & Giuliani. Oxford, however, is running Giuliani’s presidential campaign. And lawyers from the firm’s other offices donated more than $65,000 to Giuliani during the first quarter, more than they gave to any other candidate. Still, Oxford notes that the firm has several Democrats working on the presidential bid of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.). He also says the firm will not be hosting events for Giuliani, citing FEC rules. But Giuliani is looking to gin up support among the younger professional crowd in Washington, creating his own network similar to the one Romney has in the District. Giuliani’s next event in Washington is aiming to diversify the range of donors by including a lower-tiered gift amount. The event, which is being held June 7 at the Hard Rock Cafe, is the only fund-raising event for Giuliani planned so far in the second quarter in Washington. It has about 90 people signing on to raise money. Co-chairs for the event have agreed to raise $25,000, hosts to raise $10,000, and the young-professionals component includes people agreeing to round up at least 10 people at $100 a person, according to Van Dongen. The goal for Giuliani, Van Dongen says, is “reaching out to both folks that he knows and folks that he wants to get to know.”
Anna Palmer can be contacted at [email protected].

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