Eliot Cutler heading to DC to raise campaign cash — and look who’s hosting him

All but declared 2014 gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler is headed to D.C. in May to raise money from a pretty ritzy list of Washington, D.C. lobbyists, according to a leaked fundraising invite. A tipster sent the invitation along, which lists about 20 former Carter Administration officials, lobbyists and Democratic Party and campaign officials as ‘hosts.’ The soiree is set to be held at a $4 million home near Dupont Circle and asks for $1,500 contributions.

It’s not breaking news that Cutler, who is likely running as an independent as he did in 2010, would come to D.C. to fundraise, given that he served under Carter and as an environmental lawyer and lobbyist in Washington for decades. But it serves to highlight the image Cutler, who was born in Bangor, has as a carpet-bagger who’s more Democrat than independent from away and is trying to buy his way into the Blaine House.

Most of the fundraisers named either worked in the Carter White House or at Akin Gump, the firm Cutler worked at for many years.

Ted O’Meara, a spokesman for Cutler, verified the invitation as legitimate and said Cutler has a lot of friends and associates that are interested in helping him get elected should he decide to run.

“(Cutler) hasn’t officially declared he’s running yet; he’s taking this time to fundraise and make sure there’s enough support,” O’Meara said, adding that there’s an expectation that Cutler will announce that he’s running in a couple months.

Here’s a quick run-down of the names cited on the invite:

  • Bernard Aronson – worked in the White House for VP Walter Mondale and was a DNC official and then appointed by HW to be assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs; left to join Goldman Sachs and then started a private equity firm.
  • Michael Berman – president of the  Duberstein Group, a D.C. lobbying firm. A former Walter Mondale Senate aide who helped run his 1984 presidential campaign and planned many Democratic National Conventions.
  • Leon Billings – Muskie’s former chief of staff and consultant on environmental, energy, health and safety legislation.
  • Michael and Harolyn Cardozo – top Democratic fundraisers, heavily involved with the Clintons. Michael Cardozo was the director of Clinton’s legal defense fund during the Kenneth Starr special investigation and came under fire for trying to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars from supporters of a Buddhist cult under the radar for fear of the headlines it would create. And it was at Cardozo’s father’s house where Vince Foster spent his last weekend with the Cardozo’s and others before killing himself.
  • Phil Deutch – According to Marketwatch, Deutch was “one of the earliest private equity investors to focus on energy technology.”
  • Vic Fazio – former California congressman who is an adviser at Cutler’s old law firm, Akin Gump.
  • Les Francis – political consultant and former DNC official.
  • Ronna Frieberg – now a lobbyist, worked in the Carter White House and a variety of other Capitol Hill jobs.
  • Jim Free – Another lobbyist and Carter White House alum, as well as a Democratic campaign veteran.
  • Al From – Democratic lobbyist, Carter White House – and founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, an ideas factory that Bill Clinton borrowed heavily from, according to From’s Politico biography.
  • Joel Jankowsky – partner at Akin Gump.
  • Orin Kramer – private investment.
  • James Langdon – oil and gas lobbyist at Akin Gump.
  • Ned Muskie – Ed Muskie’s youngest son and finance consultant based in Washington.
  • Scott Pastrick – Lobbyist. Former Carter White House, Democratic campaign veteran, including Clinton’s 1992 bid.
  • Tony Podesta – basically D.C.’s top lobbyist. Campaigned for Muskie and other Democratic candidates over the years.
  • Alicia Smith – lobbyist with Jim Free, another Carter White House veteran.
  • Terrence Straub – Carter White House alum and lobbyist for U.S. Steel.
Rebekah Metzler

About Rebekah Metzler

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer with U.S. News and World Report, who hails from the state of Maine where she covered state politics for the Lewiston Sun Journal and MaineToday Media. She spent much of 2012 covering the presidential campaign and particularly enjoyed her time on the road in states like Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Ohio and Ohio. Metzler earned her master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and is a Bowdoin College grad.