Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be in Washington, D.C., today to raise money for his federal political action committee.
Pawlenty has scheduled a low-dollar event with Capitol Hill staffers and others at a bar. A fundraiser for larger donors will be held at the home of a Republican activist.
This is the first large fundraiser for Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC, which he started earlier this month. Pawlenty said he plans to use the money to build the Republican Party nationally.
"The funds from the fundraiser will go into the PAC and then we can use that to try to advance issues and causes and other candidates around the country and here in Minnesota too," he said. "We definitely will be raising money and distributing money for those purposes."
Pawlenty has not ruled out a possible run for the White House in 2012, and a strong federal PAC will help build his national profile.
Democrats have repeatedly criticized Pawlenty for his heavy out of state travel. They say he should be focused on the issues facing Minnesota.
Pawlenty is scheduled to speak in Iowa in November, fueling speculation that he may run for president.