Washington (CNN) - Condoleezza Rice is helping House Republicans set a new fundraising record.
The former secretary of state and national security advisor to President George W. Bush is headlining Wednesday night's annual March fundraising dinner for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Last year's NRCC dinner, which Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker keynoted, brought in a record $14.4 million dollars. A GOP source with knowledge of this year's event told CNN the amount raised at Wednesday’s dinner is expected to bring in $15.1 million.
The money from the fundraiser, which is being held at the National Building Museum, should be a boost to the NRCC, which was outraised last year by $15 million by the rival Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Democrats need a net gain of 17 seats this November to win back control of the Republican-led House, a feat political handicappers say is unlikely in part due to the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts.
Rice's appearance comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow over Russia's annexation last week of the Crimean peninsula, which was an autonomous region of Ukraine with a large pro-Russian population.
"At a time when there’s such a focus on America’s leadership on the world stage, who better to hear from than former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice," said Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, the chairman of the NRCC.
"She is living proof that our country is the land of opportunity. We are very grateful that she is our keynote speaker and appreciate her help making this event such a success."
Rice's keynote address at the dinner, a much coveted speech which is often reserved for possible Republican White House hopefuls, is just the latest example of her increasingly political profile.
In recent weeks, Rice headlined a fundraiser in Kentucky for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who faces a primary challenge from the right as he runs for re-election this year. She also keynoted the California GOP's annual fundraising dinner, and starred in a TV campaign commercial this week for Dan Sullivan, who's running for GOP Senate nomination in Alaska.
Sullivan’s spot pushes back against attacks by conservatives against the former Marine, who served under Rice in the White House and at the State Department.
The former secretary of state has also weighed in on the controversial issue of immigration reform, supporting reform efforts which many conservatives in her party oppose.
Rice kept a low public profile after stepping down as America's top diplomat in early 2009, at the end of Bush administration. She pretty much stayed out of any involvement in the 2010 midterm elections, but began getting more involved in 2012, including a well-received speech that summer on foreign policy and education at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
But Rice, who runs the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California and serves on a number of corporate boards, has said she has no interest in running for public office.