Rubio's Dallas Fundraiser Draws Democratic Ire

Democratic groups were firing on multiple cylinders Tuesday as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., prepared to drop in on Texas to raise money for his presidential campaign. 

Rubio was scheduled to attend an evening fundraiser at the suburban Dallas home of Harlan Crow, a real estate investor considered one of the biggest GOP donors in Texas. Crow is also an art collector who owns paintings by Adolf Hitler and a signed copy of "Mein Kampf," Nazi-era memorabilia that the Democratic National Committee pounced on Tuesday afternoon.

Saying there is "really no excuse for such a gross act of disrespect," DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called on Rubio to cancel the "tasteless fundraiser." 

"It is astounding that the presence of these items that represent horror for millions of Jews the world over would not stop Mr. Rubio or anyone on his team in their tracks when planning this event," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement that also accused Rubio of "adding insult to injury" by holding the fundraiser on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar. 

The National Jewish Democratic Council also took note of the fundraiser Tuesday, saying in a blog post it hopes Rubio "takes a hint and reflects on his questionable political choices." 

 

Rubio's campaign referred comment to the Republican National Committee, which used the flap to highlight Wasserman Schultz's support for President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran. 

"Rather than manufacture a false controversy over a collection of historic memorabilia that includes a statue of Margaret Thatcher and effects belonging to Abraham Lincoln, Debbie Wasserman Schultz should have opposed the weak Clinton-Obama Iran deal that puts Israel’s safety in jeopardy," RNC spokeswoman Allison Moore said in a statement. 

Rubio was also taking heat Tuesday from Correct the Record, a super PAC supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was also expected in the Dallas area Tuesday to raise money for her White House bid. The group zeroed in on one of the original headliners of the fundraiser: U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican leading the House investigation into the 2012 Benghazi attack that happened on Clinton's watch. 

"Trey Gowdy has made the Benghazi Committee to be nothing more than a taxpayer-funded political hit job against Hillary Clinton and now he is plainly raising money for the Republican Party off his investigation into the tragic death of four Americans," Correct the Record spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement. 

Gowdy, a friend of Rubio's since before they entered Congress, was unable to attend the fundraiser as of last week. As word spread Tuesday that he would be a no-show, the pro-Clinton super PAC pressed him to cancel other fundraisers on his schedule, including an event for the Dallas County GOP on Feb. 27 in Dallas.

Tuesday was not the first time Crow's art collection has come to light in a presidential race. During the 2012 cycle, GOP nominee Mitt Romney was set to pay a visit to Crow's mansion, according to The Dallas Morning News. Crow has told the newspaper his collection aims to capture history, not celebrate evil. 

The Rubio fundraiser begins at 6:30 p.m., according to an invitation. Chairmen of the event are being asked to raise $10,800, hosts are being asked to raise $5,400 and attendees are being asked to raise $2,000. Hosts of the fundraiser include former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, Republican state Rep. Jason Villalba of Dallas, former Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks and Dallas businessman Robert Rowling.  

Disclosure: Robert Rowling is a major donor to The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

 

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