Downtowners headline Rubio fundraiser

With help from Mary Lee

REUNION SPECIAL: Among the many co-hosts of tonight's Marco Rubio fundraiser, featuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and almost 30 other senators: ACLI PAC, AH&LA Hotel PAC, Robbie Aiken of Pinnacle West Capital, AT&T PAC, Haley Barbour of BGR, Lisa B. Barry of Fontheim International, Anthony Bedell of RedFive Strategies, Wayne Berman of Blackstone, BHFS PAC, Charlie Black of Prime Policy Group, Kirk Blalock of Fierce Government Relations, Rob Chamberlin of McBee Strategic, Chevron PAC, Cesar Conda of Navigators Global, Manus Cooney of American Continental Group, Disney PAC, Holland & Knight, GridIron PAC, Don Nickles, John O’Neill of Harbinger Strategies, Pat Raffaniello, Dirk Van Dongen of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, Geoff Verhoff of Akin Gump, Joe Wall of Goldman Sachs and Scott Weaver of Wiley Rein.

BIG FIVE-OH: Dentons now offers access to lobbyists in every state, which the law firm touted as a unique service. "Dentons 50" is led by Amy Odom, a principal in the firm's public policy and regulation practice, supported by the firm's 33 former mayors, governors, state legislators, state attorneys general and state senators, and other elected and appointed officials and advisers. "No single professional services firm has been able to provide a full-service, 50-state public policy and advocacy solution for clients until now," said Eric Tanenblatt, co-leader of Dentons' U.S. public policy and regulation practice. "Dentons 50 offers a one-stop resource for effective engagement and management of policy matters in every statehouse in the United States, with the local expertise to ensure effective advocacy."

HAPPY WEDNESDAY. Ian is out today. Sent tips to iarnsdorf@politico.com.

BUSINESS CARDS:

Sean Darragh, who was the executive vice president of global strategies for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, will be joining FTI Consulting as a managing director in the firm's public affairs practice. He was previously executive vice president for international affairs and food and agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. In government, Darragh was principal deputy assistant secretary of defense, senior Adviser to the deputy secretary of the Treasury, principal food and agricultural negotiator at the Office of the USTR and on the White House National Security Council staff as director for global issues and multilateral affairs.

Aflac’s new head of federal relations, Brad Knox, has made his first lobbyist hire: Michael Andel, the former chief of staff to Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.). Andel also worked for former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.). (Aflac is based in Columbus, Ga.)

Sphere hired two new senior associates to bolster its research and regulatory bench: John Kelly, from the investment bank Sandler O’Neill & Partners and previously Goldman Sachs; and Scott Looney from Sen. Bob Corker's (R-Tenn.) staff.

Whirlpool promoted Sarah Bovim to corporate vice president of government relations.

— The American Iron and Steel Institute named Timothy J. Gill, who was deputy chief economist for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, as chief economist and Paul Balserak, former deputy director of the regulatory policy division in the Administrator’s Office at EPA, as vice president for environment.

Donald Trump’s campaign has hired Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) former digital director Vincent Harris and the services of his Austin-based firm Harris Media, report Shane Goldmacher and Darren Samuelsohn for POLITICO. The campaign has also recently hired The Prosper Group and has been meeting with Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) presidential campaign.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Republican nominee are going at it over trade policy. The Chamber live-tweeted rebuttals to Donald Trump's economic speech Tuesday, showing NAFTA's positive effects on the U.S. economy. The Chamber and the business community it represents are usually reliable Republican boosters. Trump fired back today, "Why would the USChamber be upset by the fact that I want to negotiate better and stronger trade deals or that I want penalties for cheaters?"

BREXIT BRIEFS: The U.K.'s vote to leave the EU has lobbyists setting up task forces and hotlines to field a deluge of calls from companies on whether or not to move operations out of Britain or revise partnerships, Catherine Ho reports for The Washington Post. “Those hurt in a divorce are the children, the companies doing business in the U.K. and Europe,” said Bruce Heiman, co-head of the policy group at K&L Gates. “The terms can be negotiated and influenced. Certainly we’re suggesting to our clients that they can play a role in determining their fate here.”

TEACHERS UNION VS. HEDGE FUNDS: Dozens of hedge fund managers including Daniel Loeb and Paul Singer are facing off with Randi Weingarten, the leader of the American Federation of Teachers, over pension plans, reports Brody Mullins for The Wall Street Journal. Weingarten’s union is funding a lobbying campaign to remove the “carried-interest” tax rate on investment income, and has filed a lawsuit accusing 25 Wall Street firms of breaching anti-trust law and manipulating Treasury bond prices. The investors have supported charter schools and groups that want to restructure government pension plans.

** A message from Delta Air Lines: Delta is dedicated to giving back to our communities around the world. And it’s why, this year, we’re giving our 80,000 employees another way to give back: a paid day to volunteer. Learn more about The Great Delta Give-Back initiative. **

WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Three former Obama administration officials have staged a behind-the-scenes campaign to get the Education Department to consent to a $1.1 billion acquisition of the largest for-profit college, the University of Phoenix, report POLITICO’s Michael Stratford and Kimberly Hefling. The investors are the private equity firm Vistria Group, founded by Marty Nesbitt and former Deputy Education Secretary Tony Miller, as well as Apollo Global Management and Najafi Companies. Also working on the deal: Jonathan Samuels, an Obama legislative affairs staffer, and Amy Brundage, the former White House deputy communications director currently at SKDKnickerbocker. Miller and another former Obama insider have met with staff to Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to pacify a some of the loudest critics of for-profit colleges. The holding company to buy the University of Phoenix has paid $80,000 to lobbyists including Marc Lampkin at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. “It’s ironic that a former senior official at the Department of Education — an agency that has intentionally targeted and sought to dismantle the for-profit college industry — would now take the reins at the country’s largest for-profit college,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.).

SEXUAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION: The NFL has promised $10 million in funding over several years to a new D.C.-based sexual violence prevention initiative called “Raliance,” which includes the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault-PreventConnect and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Over the course of the next year, Raliance plans to fund 27 prevention and response projects for a total of about $1.2 million through a grant program supported by the NFL. “Sexual assault is an issue that impacts communities worldwide in staggering numbers, and we share Raliance’s belief that we all have a responsibility to help change that,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

AROUND TOWN:

— Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is speaking today to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and American Trucking Associations at a luncheon to commemorate the creation of the Interstate Highway System.

— More than 100 people in wheelchairs, caregivers, friends and family with the United Spinal Association and Mobility Ventures rolled from the West Lawn to Hill offices to raise awareness on the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

— The Chamber of Commerce’s Global IP Center on Monday teamed up with the National Confectioners Association to host the Senate Press Secretaries Association for a reception showing why life is “sweeter” with IP. Spotted: Christopher “Gindy” Gindlesperger of the National Confectioners Association; Adam Webb, Press Assistant to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.); Ryan Taylor, communications director for Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.); Julia Krieger, press secretary for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.); Sean Smith and Chaffon Davis from the Office of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.); Mr. and Mrs. Ryan and Suzanne Wrasse from the offices of Sens.. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Megan Whittemore, communications director for Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), Laura Crist of the Global IP Center and Samantha Dravis of Republican Attorneys General Association.

SPOTTED: Last night on the rooftop of the W Hotel at the SmartPower celebration for its EPA Clean Air Excellence Award: Democratic Rhode Island Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, sporting a brace on his left arm; Chris Sawyer, former chairman of the Trust for Public Lands; Ken Gillingham of the White House Council on Economic Advisers; Doug Foy, former secretary of commonwealth development under Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.); and Brian Keane, president of SmartPower.

CRAFT held a media happy hour at Kelly’s Irish Times to welcome David O’Brien, former press secretary for Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), as senior communications manager, and Rob Melick, former director of "Meet the Press" and "Fox News Sunday," as director of media strategies. Spotted: Benny Johnson, ABA’s Rachel Hicks, Katie Pavlich, Fox Business’ Peter Barnes, Alex Byers, Matt Haller of the International Franchise Association, Megan Whittemore, and Olga Acosta from the Colombian Embassy.

NEW PAC REGISTRATIONS:
Companeros of Merrie Lee
Campus Red PAC (Independent Expenditure-Only Committee, Unauthorized)
SuperPac for Reason (Non-Qualified Non-Party, Unauthorized)

NEW LOBBYING REGISTRATIONS:
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: City of Galena, Alaska
Cassidy & Associates, Inc.: Port Authority of San Antonio
CH Fisher LLC: Mystic Seaport Museum
Cornerstone Government Affairs, LLC: Haymarket Center
Duane Morris Government Strategies: Aveda Institute Coalition (Informal Coalition)
HBW Resources: TCOM, L.P.
Magill Associates, LLC: Mountain West Credit Union Association

TERMINATIONS — NO ACTIVITY:
Fabiani & Company: The Azerbaijan America Alliance

** A message from Delta Air Lines: Delta is dedicated to giving back to our communities around the world. And it’s why, this year, we’re giving our 80,000 employees another way to give back: a paid day to volunteer. Learn more about The Great Delta Give-Back initiative. **

CORRECTION: A previous version of this alert misidentified Wayne Berman's employer. He works for Blackstone.