Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
The life of a lawmaker is TOUGH. Take it from Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who recently lamented the “soul-crushing” fundraising every congressmember has to do to survive! Murphy spoke of the dreaded call time, where he sat in a room for four to five hours a day dialing up constituents and begging for money. But Chris, what about the parties!? Tell me you haven’t had fun at the 20+ fundraisers over the past couple years — remember MURPHYPALOOZA back in 2010? Of course you don’t, because that party was awesome! So lighten up, and party on — all your friends are doing it!
We’ve got a full slate of parties this week, as politicians continue that wonderful tradition of fundraising. Check out the highlights below:
Gun Raffles — A Good Idea to Some People
Maryland Delegate Don Dwyer, R-Anne Arundel County, has had some bad ideas in the past, but PT thinks he’s on to something here with Saturday’s Gun Rights and Liberty BBQ and Gun Raffle. While you’re off celebrating liberty, you can enter in the raffle to win either an AR-15 or an AK-47! The best part: tickets only cost $5! And you can buy up to 10 of them! I like those odds, partiers. And don’t worry — PT checked this out before and it’s all legal. The festivities take place tomorrow at Kurtz Beach in Pasadena, Md., but the guns won’t be handed out until July 6. Just one problem with that: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley ’s gun control bill outlawing certain high-powered rifles, including AR-15s and AK-47s, is scheduled to be signed on May 16. Hmm, looks like Dwyer’s gonna need a really good idea to get around this one.
Guess Who’s Fundraising at a Taylor Swift Concert?
People one would expect to see at the upcoming Taylor Swift concert: a billion teenage girls, many of Swift’s ex-boyfriends who are inevitably trying to win her back, depressed dads of tweens not old enough to go alone — and wait, who’s that? It’s Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky. of course! The Bluegrass State lawmaker will be inviting PACs to attend the show at D.C.’s Verizon Center for the low, low price of $1,000. Guthrie doesn’t care if it doesn’t look manly — he’s fearless.
Hello Again, Cory Booker
Newark Mayor Cory Booker seems to be a well-liked guy — he saves people from burning buildings, shovels others’ driveways, and rescues their dogs. So it’s no surprise that some old Yale Law School pals will be hosting a reception and dinner for Booker on Monday night. The fete will take place at the NYC home of (surprise) lawyer Jacob Buchdahl, costing guests either $5,200 or $2,600 depending on how good of a friend you want to be to Booker. You might want to consider the higher price point — it might be you he rescues next!
Lamar Alexander’s Second and Third Winds
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has been fundraising up a storm recently, and the funder forecast predicts his torrential downpour of parties continuing to rain down through next week. Extended metaphors aside, Alexander starts his week on Tuesday with a double-header: first he’ll grab lunch at Charlie Palmer’s, then five hours later he’ll rush to the Monocle for a dinner hosted by Honeywell’s PAC, among others. Both events have tabs of up to $2,500/PAC and $1,000/person. But he’s not done yet — on Thursday he’ll go back to Charlie Palmer’s for another lunch, again costing $2,500/PAC and $1,000/person. Alexander is pushing the party meter through the roof, but he’s gotta mix it up — though PT admits it’s hard to follow up a gun raffle and Taylor Swift concert…
Heller Is Still Looking Back on 2012
While most politicians are fundraising for future campaigns — some as far off as 2016 — at least one senator is looking back on 2012, and not in a good way. Dean Heller, R-Nev., still has some debt leftover from his hard-fought campaign — ”some” meaning over $575,000. So it’s a smart move on his part to host a debt retirement luncheon on Thursday at Capitol Hill spot Bistro Bis. To grab a shovel and dig Heller out of this hole, guests can contribute up to $2,500/PAC or $1,000/person.
Summer weather finally looks like it’s here to stay, so lawmakers are pouncing on the opportunity to rake in some cash next weekend. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is rolling his supporters away to Virginia for a Weekend at the Tides Inn. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay, the Tides Inn can provide guests with golf, spa treatments, boating and more. But guests will have to pony up at least $5,000 to go on this vacation.
Next up is Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who is hosting a Phillies Keystone Weekend for his supporters. The highlight of the weekend will be Casey’s hometown Phillies taking on the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon, but other events could be on the itinerary as no schedule was released. No price points were released either, so if you’ve got the info send it along this-a-way.
Finally, Rep. GK Butterfield, D-N.C., will trounce these other two by whisking his guests off to tour the island of Bermuda. The trip costs guests a mere $2,500 — half of what you’d pay to accompany Sen. Shelby to Virginia! Talk about a good deal, Partiers.
Unlike the Washington party circuit, some things must come to an end. After many months of writing up Party Time posts, my time has run its course in this space. But fear not! I have a suspicion that the next Party Animal here will bring to this blog a great sense of humor, politics — and, most importantly, snark. Until next time, Partiers!Tweet
While the national debate on gun control continues, Maryland Del. Don Dwyer, a conservative Republican from Anne Arundel County, is making his position known by holding a fundraiser and raffling off two high-powered assault rifles.
The event, known as “Delegate Dwyer’s Gun Rights and Liberty BBQ Gun Raffle, Auction & Strategy Meeting,” takes place on May 11 at Kurtz Beach in Pasadena, Md., but the weapons won’t be handed out until July 6. Lucky winners will either receive an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, the same weapon used in the Aurora, Colo. shootings, or an AK-47 assault rifle.
Tickets for the raffle cost just $5, the maximum price allowed under Maryland state laws; however, an individual can purchase up to $50 worth of tickets. Maryland State Board of Elections director Jim DeMarinis confirmed that the fundraising auction was a legal activity, though he noted such events are placed under rigid restrictions.
According to the invitation, “This Fundraiser will benifit [sic] the re-election campaign of pro gun rights legislator, Don H. Dwyer, Jr. as well as an organized effort to defeat the anti gun legislators across the state who voted for and supported SB281.”
The bill in question is Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s “Firearm Safety Act of 2013,” which would actually ban both of the weapons that Dwyer hopes to give away. The measure has already passed both the House and Senate, and Gov. O’Malley is expected to sign it into law soon. Dwyer voted against the bill.
Party Time is awaiting comment from Del. Dwyer’s office.
The six-term lawmaker also attracted news coverage last summer when he crashed a boat in the Magothy River, seriously injuring himself and six other people. Dwyer admitted to drinking before the incident. His trial is scheduled for May, according to the Baltimore Sun.
It’s not the first time that a lawmaker has mixed guns and fundraising. Last summer we told you about Missouri state Rep. John McCaherty’s raffle, also for an AR-15 rifle. McCaherty, a Republican, won reelection and, as you can see from his Open States profile, did quite well in the fundraising department.
(Photo credit: Office of Del. Don H. Dwyer, Jr.)Tweet
If you followed Party Time on Twitter (and you should!), you would have known about the fundraising monstrosity that is the Annual NRCC March Summit and Dinner. With asking prices stretching up to $100,000, it’s no surprise that the event picked up a staggering $12 million last year, but this year the NRCC surpassed that by raking in an astronomical $14.4 millions dollars! To put it in perspective, that’s more than the NRCC raised in the past three months, and almost seven times more than what the NRSC raised for the entire month of February! What could you do with all that money? If you were living in 1803, you could more or less snatch up the Louisiana Purchase. What a steal!
According to the invite obtained by PT, the 2013 installment of this esteemed financial tradition featured all the big guns, such as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker headlined the festivities as keynote speaker. It was an all-day event, including a luncheon and political panels at Hotel Monaco, photo ops with several high-profile House GOP members, a dinner at the National Building Museum and even an after-party.
The House GOP dinner acted as one last hurrah before the two-week long congressional spring break, which starts today. The PT calendar reflects the vacation with a noticeable drop-off in events over that time, but some Congress members remain steadfast in their party-hard ways. Check out the highlights below.
Markey Leaving His Mark
Even though almost every liberal group in the world is endorsing Mass. Rep. Ed Markey for the Democratic Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, he’s not letting up on his torrid fundraising pace. He’s continuing the campaign in the ATM state of California, where he’ll be the beneficiary of a Sunday Evening Reception featuring singer-songwriter Carole King. You might know King from her 1971 Grammy-winning album Tapestry, or when she absolutely killed it in the seminal 1979 film “Dynamite Johnson.” Either way, guests are in for a treat. The private event takes place at the Bel Air home of Cindy and Alan Horn, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Prices to co-host are $5,200, to attend $2,600. No word on whether King will perform songs like “It’s Too Late,” which older people have assured PT was indeed a hit in the 1970s.
Patrick Murphy Really, Really Enjoys Birthdays… Really
Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., is turning 30 next week, and he wants literally everyone to know about it. He’s having at least three separate parties over the course of four days next week, all of which are billed as his “30th Birthday Party.” The natal anniversary celebration starts with a Wednesday night Miami Beach party, with prices climbing to $5,200. The very next day guests will once again sing “Happy Birthday” for Murphy in Fort Lauderdale at another $5,200 bash. And on Saturday, March 30 (Murphy’s actual birthday), he’ll have annoyed supporters buy yet another cake for a Miami party hosted by Universal American Mortgage Company head Jimmy Timmons. Again, donation levels reach $5,200.
So why is Murphy turning his birthday into a weird 30-year-old version of a “Sweet 16″ and acting like an overprivileged teenage girl? It turns out that he’s one of the most vulnerable House Democrats in 2014, and needs all the monetary help he can get. Murphy barely won in 2012, narrowly defeating Republican Allen West in what has been called the “Dirtiest Race in America” — for proof of that, just Google “Patrick Murphy” and see what picture shows up on the side (for those who can’t see, it’s not exactly a Congressional portrait). That mug shot’s from a West attack ad last year, and Murphy will need money to compete with whatever the GOP throws at him in the next election. Just try not to let them catch you wearing this, Patrick — you might not be able to recover.
ICYMI – March Madne$$ funders
There are several other funders happening this week in PT, all of them related to the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Lawmakers including Reps. Ducth Ruppersberger, D-Md., James Moran, D-Va., Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., are all throwing parties at Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games, some costing up to $5,000. If you want more info on these March Madness parties and more, check out the post PT wrote up earlier this week. Or listen to the dulcet tones of Sunlight’s own Kathy Kiely talk about these events on NPR’s Marketplace.
Until next time, Partiers.Tweet
When the NCAA men’s basketball tournament roars into DC next week, the scoring won’t be done solely on the court. At least eight March Madness-themed political fundraisers, some of which cost up to $5,000 a head, have surfaced in the Party Time database. Know about more? You know what to do.
The brackets are set, and lawmakers are taking advantage of the East Regionals — featuring No. 1 seed Indiana — tipping off at the Verizon Center in nearby Chinatown. With a single seat running upwards of $1,500 (and most already sold out), politicians aren’t letting such a hot ticket go to waste.
Unfortunately for Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., there will be no Maryland teams in the tourney for the second time in three years. But that isn’t stopping him from hosting two separate parties at the Verizon Center. On March 28, Ruppersberger will be hosting a Sweet 16 Doubleheader that will run PACs $2,000 and individuals $1,000. On March 30 he’ll break out his giant foam finger again to celebrate the Elite 8 Match-Up, again charging attendees $2,000/PAC and $1,000/individual.
Though his Pittsburgh Panthers made the tournament as a respectable eight seed, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., won’t get to root for his (graduate school) alma mater in person; Pitt’s playing 9th-ranked Wichita State in the West Region. But he too shall fundraise anyway, sticking to the same schedule as Ruppersberger: a Sweet 16 Doubleheader followed by an Elite 8 party. The events even have the same price points: $2,000 for PACs, $1,000 for individuals.
Two other representatives also have funders planned at the Verizon Center. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, will be the beneficiary of a $5,000 Sweet 16 Doubleheader (hey, that’s more than double the price of the others!). His 10th seeded Iowa State Cyclones are a popular pick to upset 7th seeded Notre Dame, but, like Moran, Braley won’t get to see his team in DC — the Cyclones are playing out West. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., doesn’t have a dog in the fight for NCAA supremacy, but he’ll be catching the second Sweet 16 match-up of March 28 at a $2,500 fundraiser nonetheless.
But the madness doesn’t stop there — other lawmakers have scheduled parties outside the Verizon Center’s hardwood court. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is hosting a March Madness Kickoff on Thursday at the townhouse of Diageo, the world’s biggest booze producer — the location seems odd, as Crapo is a Mormon and recently had a small drunk driving accident. As Crapo sips on his cranberry juice, PT bets the Harvard Law School grad will be rooting for the Crimson, a 14 seed playing a tough No. 3-ranked New Mexico squad later that night. Prices to the event max out at $2,500/PAC and $1,000/individual. If you are really crazy about college basketball, Sen. Dean Heller will be hosting an entire Weekend of Basketball for his supporters at the Palazzo in Las Vegas. There, fans can pay up to $2,500 to root for the hometown UNLV Rebels (a fifth seed) alongside Heller, as they play a stalwart 12th-ranked Cal.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who apparently likes to jump the gun, hosted his Gear Up for March Madness Reception on March 13, almost a week before the tournament actually starts. Taking place at Google’s Washington office and hosted by its own Google NetPAC, the event maxed out at $2,000 per PAC and $1,000 per individual.
And the National Republican Congressional Committee is taking a virtual approach, posting this fundraising video around a bracketology theme.
While recent studies show March Madness can lead to millions of lost dollars for businesses, PT’s own investigation has shown that it can also lead to huge profits — for lawmakers, that is.
Photo courtesy of YHoshua via Wikimedia CommonsTweet
As February turns to March, isn’t spring supposed to melt away the snow and warm the air? Not exactly, it seems. (Oh, and thanks for nothing you stupid groundhog.) We may not be able to count on Mother Nature anymore, but another, more predictable season is in full-swing — fundraising time! PT’s calendar is once again stuffed with parties as politicians awake from their winter slumbers, primed to rake in the big bucks like a newly-awakened bear foraging for honey. It’s a busy week ahead, so without further ado, check the highlights for next week.
The Colbert Bump: Part 2
Just one day after stumping for big sis Lulu in the Big Apple, Stephen Colbert will be at it again on Saturday — this time in their home state of South Carolina. The first part of the night includes a private reception and bowling at The Alley in downtown Charleston, with prices up to $2,600 to get in. If you’d like a more intimate experience with the Rev. Dr. Colbert, follow the pack to a private dinner at a restaurant-to-be-named-later — you could even get your copy of America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t personally signed! Expect to shell out $5,200 to attend this event — and watch out for those just out of hibernation, newly-awakened bears!
Welcome to the Club, Tim
“Hey there, freshly-appointed Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and welcome to the upper chamber! It’s so nice to have you. Now get fundraising.” This is the message Scott received, and he heard it loud and clear — he’s got five fundraisers coming up in the next few weeks already. His first forays come at a luncheon on Feb. 26 at the townhouse of Fluor Corp., a global engineering and construction firm. Looks like Scott has picked up on the senatorial partying habits just fine! Price for admission is up to $2,000 PAC and $1,000 personal.
Go West, Emanuel!
Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has recently seen his approval ratings suffer — only 2% of Chicagoans surveyed said they strongly approve of his performance. Although the invite merely says it’s “honoring” Emanuel, maybe the mayor should whisk himself away to the Bay Area for a dinner reception at the home of Doug and Lisa Goldman, the uber-rich founders of the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. Attendance is $500 across the board. Perhaps the brief respite would heal his aching feelings — or maybe he just doesn’t care at all.
Fitzpatrick Tries Again — This Time With Boehner
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., hasn’t had the best of luck with partying. During the 2011 inauguration of Congress, he missed the official swearing-in ceremony to attend a reception that was possibly for fundraising. This ran afoul of certain rules in the Constitution, one of them requiring that the oath be taken within proximity of the Speaker. Well, Fitzpatrick isn’t going to let the speaker out of his sight because Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is going to be at his Feb. 27 reception at the Capitol Hill Club. Prices for admission run from $5,000 to $500.
Rubio Takes a Swig
You may have seen Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., giving the rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union — one part in particular, at least. The infamous “water bottle” incident, where Rubio awkwardly paused to quench his thirst, looked bad at first, but he’s turned this one around by selling over $100,000 in “Rubio” branded water bottles. And he’s adding to that by hosting a Feb. 27 dinner benefitting his Reclaim America PAC at Wolfgang Puck’s The Source. Attendees will have to pony up $5,000 to get in — and please, don’t slurp your water.
…And Markey’s Off!
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the frontrunner to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, is officially starting the race by hosting a Kick-Off Reception on the last day of February. He’s been campaigning for several weeks, but everyone knows it’s not a race until the partying begins. Look for many more Markey fundraisers to pour in the next several weeks as this heats up. In fact, the PT database already has several lined up. The Boston-based party includes a luxurious 30-minute pre-reception, where prices rise as much as $10,000, but sticking to the normal deal only goes for $500-$100.
Christie Keeps Up the Pace
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has been keeping a relatively active fundraising schedule, including a stint out west that included a high-profile party with Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg. And all this money-grubbing comes despite his overwhelming odds to win re-election and his already healthy pile of change. Even so, he’s showing little sign of slowing up — on Feb. 28, Christie is enlisting the help of fellow Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia for a dinner reception. The McLean, Va. event has an asking price of $3,800.
Only the intrepid will venture out to Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s latest fundraiser — three days traveling through the Alaskan tundra following the 41st Iditarod dog-sled race. Called the “Last Great Race on Earth,” the course travels over 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, and competitors face wind chills as low as -100 degrees. And the record time to complete this event is about 8 1/2 days. Is it worth the $3,000 PAC/$1,000 personal to attend? Count us out.
Wasserman Schultz Takes You Out to the Ballgame
If you’d rather enjoy the sunny weather of Florida instead of freezing cold of Alaska, then Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz may have the fundraiser for you! She’s hosting a Spring Training Weekend to celebrate the start of America’s pastime. Unfortunately, the two teams playing are the Phillies and the Yankees, so most every baseball fan will probably be booing both teams. Either way, this weekend trip also includes a welcome reception and spa events that will be more enjoyable than seeing the Yankees play. Prices for this event run up to $5,000 for PACs and $2,500 for individuals and will benefit Wasserman Schultz’s leadership PAC, Democrats Win Seats. Is there a way for both teams to lose?
Until next time, Partiers!
(Photo credit: iStockphoto.com)Tweet
Former Democratic Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. pleaded guilty this morning of using over $750,000 of campaign funds to buy personal items. At least he risked his career and illegally used the money to buy really important things though, right? Not unless one thinks Michael Jackson’s old fedora ($4,600), or a reversible mink parka ($1,200), or even Bruce Lee memorabilia that belonged to Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of life’s necessities!
Jackson, Jr., the son of famed civil rights leader, and failed presidential candidate, Rev. Jesse Jackson, raised a substantial amount of his campaign cash through political fundraisers. The PT database shows him as a prolific partier, throwing nearly 30 fundraisers stretching back to 2007. However, starting with the run-up to Jackson, Jr.’s medical leave for exhaustion in June of 2012 there is no further fundraising activity. His record of nine events occurred in 2009, and he was fundraising as late as February of last year at a reception with DCCC chair Steve Israel, D-N.Y. According to the Washington Post, Jackson, Jr. spent hundreds of thousands from 2005 through April of last year; this means all the invites in PT fall into that period of time, and funds from them could possibly have been used to purchase personal items illegally.
Many of these events are run-of-the-mill Capitol Hill fundraisers: Quick meals or receptions, three-tiered price points ($5,000/$2,500/$1,000) and located at the usual high-end D.C. restaurants (Johnny’s Half Shell, Art and Soul, Charlie Palmer’s, etc.). Jackson, Jr. didn’t have any (relatively) extravagant, high-dollar parties — the tallest asking amount was $5,000, which was the price tag on 11 events (one donation at that level and he’s already 1/9th of the way to buying a new watch!). It seems Jackson, Jr. had the usual recipe down.
The former lawmaker also loved to combine his love of sports in his partying, everything from bowling to fishing. He supported his hometown Chicago Bulls when they came to town, hosting a pair of $2,500 events at the Verizon Center on Feb. 22 and Feb. 28 of 2011. The first fundraiser on record is a $2,500 Chicago Bears versus Washington Redskins game in 2007, when they still played at FedEx Field. Jackson Jr. even had an Inaugural Bowling Night in 2008 set to the theme of a certain Coen Brothers’ movie (hint: one of the price levels was “The Dude”).
21st Century Group lobbyist Jocelyn Hong, Party Time’s #1 all-time host, has also offered her services to Jackson, Jr. Twice Hong has hosted birthday celebrations at the 21st Century townhouse, for his 44th birthday in 2009 and his 45th in 2010. He also held a Taste of Chicago Reception at the townhouse, located at 434 New Jersey Avenue, SE, in December of 2011 where no host was listed. All three of those had a maximum asking price of $5,000.
One thing PT did not find in it’s vast data: Raghuveer Nayak, an ex-Jackson, Jr. fundraiser who was connected to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s plot to fill President Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Nayak was arrested in June of last year for a host of fraud and tax violations.Tweet
The terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad sequester is back again to wreak financial havoc on the American people. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said it would cripple our borders; Secretary of State John Kerry warned it would impair vital foreign missions; NASA officials cautioned that it would further slash their budget to about $13; and the White House itself claimed the reductions would essentially decimate the middle class. This paralyzing firestorm of automatic spending cuts — upwards of $1 trillion over the next 10 years — is set to ignite on March 1, so what Congress is doing to prevent this potential economic catastrophe?
They’re taking the week off: A quick look at the House and Senate calendars shows that both chambers have hung “Gone Fishin’“ signs on their office doors. There are plans to avert the sequester, but with only 10 days until the clock expires it may be too late. But maybe America doesn’t have to worry; Congress may just delay the self-imposed cuts, as they have done over and over (and over) again.
Unfortunately for Party Time, the Congressional break also means a break from our favorite activity. There is a lengthy valley amongst the grey peaks of the PT calendar, but some persistent lawmakers will be forging onward to generate some green. Check out the highlights below, Partiers.
Dukakis lends a hand to Brad Sherman — again
Former Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis will be a featured guest at a Feb. 21 dinner reception for Brad Sherman, D-Calif. The pair seem to be old friends, as Dukakis has made several appearances for Sherman in the past, such as this 2008 reception and this 2011 dinner.This event is to help Sherman retire some serious debt after defeating fellow Democrat Howard Berman twice; once in the primary and again in the general election due to California’s new rule where the top two vote-getters compete — regardless of party. And Sherman sure has a hole to dig himself out of — he accrued over $800,000 worth of debt in the last cycle, and has less than $50,000 cash on hand. If you’d like to help Sherman out, contributions range from $5,000 to $500.
NRSC takes a holiday
The chills of winter seem to be getting to the NRSC, so they’re leaving the cold behind, traveling to sunny Palm Beach for their annual NRSC Winter Retreat. The destination for this weekend trip is the luxurious Breakers resort, where featured activities include deep sea fishing, golf at the Ocean Course, spa trips and more. The retreat is for PACs only, and is priced at $15,000/$5,000. However, the event has filled up completely and all rooms are sold out — maybe next year, slow pokes.
The Colbert Bump
The Rev. Sir Doctor Sen. Stephen T. Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World, Ph.D will be stumping for his own sister in a two-part fundraising event on Feb. 22. Elizabeth Colbert Busch, or Lulu as she’s known in the Colbert household, has her eyes set on the South Carolina congressional seat vacated by Tim Scott, and her TV personality brother is hyping her on the Colbert Report and on the road. Part one involves a reception with Stephen at a private residence in New York City’s Upper West Side and is priced up to $2,600; Part two whisks you to the swanky Boulud Sud restaurant where guests will be treated to a chef’s dinner and personalized book signing, costing $5,200. No word on which Stephen Colbert will show — the Democrat, or the Republican… (Sis, BTW, is running as a Democrat.)
Weekends in winter out west in Wyoming
Wyoming is one of the most beautiful states in America, and the Tetons make a great backdrop to any fundraiser. So it’s no surprise that Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both Republicans from the Equality State, are taking advantage of their time away from Washington to throw funders out in the mountains. Enzi’s hosting a Dinner in the Tetons on Feb. 22 that features fellow Wyomingite Barrasso. It takes place at the Snake River Lodge and Spa, named after an actual river that actually looks like a snake. Tickets to the dinner cost $2,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals.
But something fishy is up: Sen. Barrasso is hosting his own Sixth Annual Winter Snow Fling from Feb. 22-23, the same time as Sen. Enzi’s party. Wait a minute, how could Barrasso be at both places at once? Easy — they’re both at the Snake River Lodge! It appears Barrasso will be taking a moment to help out his fellow Wyomingite, then continue on with his own weekend funder — what a party animal.
Until next time, Partiers!Tweet
Updated 2/10, 12:38 p.m. ET
He’s baaaaack! That’s right, Partiers, the Fundraiser-in-Chief has returned, committing himself to at least 14 parties this year to help his Democratic colleagues try and take control of Congress. Obama has proven himself to be the hands-down world’s best at generating cash — he was our 2012 Partier of the Year, collecting more than $1 billion overall — and his presence will certainly boost the bottom line of any blue event. His efforts will especially benefit the DCCC, as the Democrats will be on the offensive in gaining a net 17 seats to take back the House.
Breaking down his “aggressive schedule,” the president will appear at 10 events outside the District, five each for the DCCC and DSCC. In addition, he’ll host four separate and joint appearances for the committees inside the beltway. And that’s not all; professional schmoozer Joe Biden and #1 surrogate Michelle Obama will have their own intense funder schedules too. Sorry, Barack, just because you’ve completed your last campaign doesn’t mean you can escape the trail.
Gabby Giffords back on the circuit
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., still recovering injuries suffered when a gunman shot her at a town hall meeting, will host a DC fundraiser for her new pro-gun control super PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Hat tip to our friends at Politico for sharing the invite for the pre-State of the Union party. Politico is reporting that the fundraiser is aimed at young professionals with tickets priced at $100 and $500. It will be held at a Capitol Hill pizza spot on Tuesday, aka prom night on Capitol Hill: it’s the night everyone dresses up and stays late for the SOTU.
Bon Jovi and Tim Kaine find Common Ground
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., formed a new leadership fund called “Common Ground PAC,” a nod to the bipartisan image he promoted during last year’s campaign against Republican George Allen. And if there’s one thing that can bridge this hardened partisan gap, it’s the rock prowess of Bon Jovi. That’s why one of the first events for CG PAC will be at a concert performed by the famed New Jersey band on Feb. 10 here in D.C. Tickets to the event will run $3,000, but it’s a small price to pay for true bipartisanship in Washington.
Moran’s new party committee
But Kaine’s not the only one who’s starting up new committees: Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran is teaming up with the NRSC, of which he is the new chair, to establish a joint-fundraising committee called the Moran NRSC Victory Committee. The group doesn’t show up in the FEC database, Moran’s office refused to comment and the NRSC wouldn’t return PT’s phone calls about it — why so mysterious? What’s not mysterious is the fundraiser Moran’s new committee is throwing — Burgers and Shakes! That’s something PT can always unconditionally support. (Maybe they’ll be getting their food from close-by Good Stuff Eatery, where you can try their famous toasted marshmallow milkshake – YUM.) The Feb. 13 kickoff event is surprisingly cheap too — individual tickets run as low as $50, but PACs still need to pay $1,000 to get in.
Republicans get a case of the Mondays
Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. have an interesting fundraising strategy that they’re returning to this spring — the Monday Meeting PAC (because when PT thinks of fun, we think of going to meetings on Mondays). It’s a series of dinners happening on Monday evenings at the Capitol Hill Club. All have a fixed price point of $1,500 per event — or, if you’re a big spender, $12,500 for a Series Pass. Though still listed as a beneficiary on the invitations, Chambliss is retiring from the Senate and will not be seeking re-election in 2014 — PT wonders if he’ll still be included in the future… The first Monday Meeting takes place at 7:30PM on Feb. 11; you guessed it, a Monday.
Microsoft and ITI take a Cruz
In the midst of rallying against Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will be having a breakfast at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center on K Street. The Feb. 12 event is hosted by Microsoft PAC and ITI PAC, which are perhaps looking to chat with Cruz, a member who sits on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The price for you to chat with Cruz: Up to $2,500 PAC and $1,000 personal.
Fischer still retiring campaign debt
Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer may have won her election over Democratic ex-Sen. Bob Kerrey, but the victory is still taking its toll — she still has about $250,000 in debts. To get out of the red, Fischer will be holding an aptly named Debt Retirement Lunch on Feb. 14 at Capitol Hill favorite Charlie Palmer’s. Prices for PACs max out at $2,500, while personal invites run up to $1,000.
(Photo credit: The White House via Flickr)Tweet
Talk about a presidential party pooper: Barack “Killjoy” Obama decided to rain all over PT’s parade this time around, slashing the number of Inaugural Balls from 10 in 2008 to a measly two, the lowest since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953! We’d prefer someone more like Bill Clinton, who raised his Inaugural Balls total from 11 to a whopping 14 in 1997 — now there’s a guy that knows how to party! But there are plenty more unofficial balls that you can attend if you’ve got the money – check above for PT’s updated map of ALL the balls, parties, receptions and even fashion shows we’ve found that celebrate the 2013 Inauguration. Each dot represents an event, just click for the details!
Yet why the significant drop-off in official revel? The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) gave some lame excuse about “reducing the burden on local law enforcement and security personnel as well as on DC residents.” Others claim it makes logistical sense, saying the Obamas can spend more quality time at a couple events instead of buzzing around all night. And still more claim it reflects the tough economic times the country faces, saying the president shouldn’t be displaying such extravagance when many Americans are facing financial hardship. PT doesn’t buy it — we think Americans need to party more, not less!
The two official balls announced by the PIC are the “Commander-in-Chief’s Ball” and the creatively titled “Inaugural Ball,” both on Jan. 21. The former was started by George W. Bush to honor America’s military, and the event is free of charge to those invited. Invitees include Medal of Honor recipients, wounded warriors as well as active and reserve military members — foreign troops can even join the celebration via video on large screens. The PIC has doubled the size of this bash since 2008, upping the list to 4,000 service members who have a chance at a dance with the First Couple. The event will take place on the 3rd floor of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center just one mile northeast of the White House.
The Inaugural Ball, however, is a rare opportunity for the general public to rub elbows with Obama around the punch bowl, with tickets costing only $60. Hoping to rub elbows around the punch bowl with the Prez (or, more likely, fruitlessly yell “HEY OBAMA” to him across a packed room)? Too bad tickets sold out a day before they were released thanks to a Ticketmaster error. The ball will take place amongst all five of the Washington Convention Center’s exhibit halls, a sprawling 700,000 feet, adequate space for Barack and Michelle to waltz the night away. About 35,000 people are expected to cram into the space, one that held six different Inaugural Balls in 2008.
According to the PIC, the events will include appearances by Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Far East Movement, fun., members of the cast of Glee, John Legend, Katy Perry, Marc Anthony, Mindless Behavior, Nick Cannon, Smokey Robinson, Soul Children of Chicago, Stevie Wonder, and Usher. Additional performers will be announced in the coming days.
But there are plenty of unofficial Inaugural events (as shown by our map!) that anyone can enjoy. PT already covered some of the highlights, such as the Black Tie and Boots Ball, the 12th American Indian Inaugural Ball and the Illinois State Society’s Inaugural Gala, in an earlier blog post here. And for even more coverage, like the Starry Night Inaugural Ball hosted by Washingtonian Magazine, the California Fashion Show and Luncheon and the Inaugural Millennial Ball, click here for more PT goodness. Remember, these parties may not have explicit political beneficiaries, but, like many of the ones held during convention season, they still provide ample time for lobbyists and politicians to schmooze – something we’re always on the lookout for here at Party Time.
If you are absolutely determined to get in to the top party in town — the official Inaugural Ball — more tickets will be on sale, but not for everyone, claims the Huffington Post. “They will go to campaign volunteers, community leaders, elected officials and other invitees, as well as donors being asked to contribute up to $250,000 individually or $1 million from corporations to pay for the festivities.” PT is glad to see the hardworking volunteers get a chance to cele — wait a minute. Donors? Corporations? $1 million?! Is this the same Obama that cracked down on Inaugural fundraising, barring corporations and contributions over $50,000?
Yes, Partiers, Obama will accept unlimited donations from corporations to finance his 2013 inaugural events. And, boy, is he stretching the term unlimited. PT unearthed a web page that exhibits exactly how much the O-force is suggesting for donations. The top tier requests a $1 million gift, dubbed the “Washington Premium Partner.” It includes:
“2 tickets to the Benefactors Reception + 2 tickets to the Co-Chairs Reception + 2 tickets to the Childrens Concert + Invitation to the Finance Committee’s “Road Ahead” meeting + 4 VIP tickets to the Candle Light Celebration at the National Building Museum + 2 reserved bleacher seats for the Inaugural Parade + 4 tickets to the Inaugural Ball.”
A million dollars only gets you two bleacher seats?! What even is the “Benefactor’s Reception?” What exactly is the “Road Ahead” for Obama’s Finance Committee? There seems to be many questions and very few answers. The only thing for sure is that these contributors will get special access to government officials behind closed doors — sounds like quite the party to us. Got more of the scoop than we do? Whisper in PT’s ear. Psssst! Over here.
Other packages include “Adams” at a $500,000 institution/$150,000 personal donation, and “Jefferson” at $250,000 institution/$75,000 personal donation.
While many think balls are grandiose ceremonies with tuxedos and gowns, many are changing what the term actually entails. More and more, presidential inaugural balls are becoming opportunities for social and business networking as opposed to waltzing. They are now being worded and structured carefully so lawmakers can legally attend (and talk with their lobbyist friends) without breaking regulations. For example, many invites include the term “heavy hors d’oeuvres” because its illegal for legislators to accept full meals from lobbyists.
“The inauguration is an expo for the biggest money-in-politics players,” says Sunlight Foundation Policy Director John Wonderlich. “Will we know who is donating, reliably, in real-time, online? Probably not. And what’s to stop donors with politically troublesome identities from laundering their donations through each other?”
The Presidential Inaugural Committee says it won’t reveal how much donors gave until legally required to do so — in a filing to the Federal Election Commission that’s not due till April.
But maybe Obama needs to additional cash; according to reports from officials, the PIC is at least $10 million short of its $50 million fund-raising goal with less than a week until the big day. Really. How can a president possibly be expected to hold a ball and a parade for a mere $30 million? Excuse PT while we wipe our tear-dampened keyboard.
Let’s just hope Obama isn’t as much of a wet blanket as George W. back in 2005. On his second inauguration night, he and first lady Laura Bush “danced” for a grand total of 9 minutes before heading home. They were at the White House by 10 p.m. Now that’s a presidential party pooper.Tweet
If there’s one thing we here at Party Time love more than anything (besides partying of course), it’s money. We can’t get enough of those high dollar fundraisers; we ceaselessly track rich donors and lobbyists; and we’re always searching for where that mysterious money trail leads. We even love the way our beautiful wampum looks (that Washington sure is a handsome gent, ain’t he?). So when President Obama nominated White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew for Treasury secretary, PT nearly had a heart attack. Why? Check out Lew’s incomprehensible spring-like travesty of a signature – the signature that could end up on all U.S. currency! But don’t fret — the president has some good news, saying, “Jack assures me that he will work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury.” Phew. We’re just relieved that the signature on American moolah won’t start looking like a Hostess cupcake.
And now, on to our normally scheduled Partying – check the highlights below!
Inaugural Balls Have Arrived
The very first 2013 Inaugural events are finally here, Partiers! The Party Time calendar contains five pre-inaugural parties that act as a prelude to the veritable storm of invites we’ve collected for the 57th Inauguration. Kicking things off (a full five days before the actual Inauguration) is the Alaska State Society. This group of “more than 300 D.C.-based Alaskans” is hosting an Inaugural Reception right on Capitol Hill at Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, a popular PT locale. Tickets to this event cost $50, $65 if you’d like an Alaska State Society membership.
Following this on Jan. 17 will be the first ever Sister Cities International Inaugural Ball, appropriately hosted at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Flags. SSI is a “global citizen diplomacy network” that promotes global peace through individual and community partnerships. In fact, Washington, D.C. has 12 official sister city agreements, including Beijing, Rome and Paris. Tickets to the ball cost $250 per guest, but it’s a small price to pay in the quest for world peace.
McConnell and the Podesta Group Team Up
It seems that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is taking his 2014 election seriously – he’s hosted multiple fundraisers since the day after the election and formed a joint fundraising committee, McConnell Victory Kentucky. This time he’s getting a little help to throw another funder from the Republican caucus at the Podesta Group — more than a dozen lobbyists from the firm will host, including Mike Quaranta, Jim Dyer, David Morgenstern, Stephen Rademaker, David Marin and Kimberley Fritts. The cost to attend this lobbyist-studded event are $2,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals. We know it’s going down on Jan. 17, but don’t have the details on where – if you’re in the know tell us by emailing PT!
Saxby Sojourns South to the Sunshine State
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has been targeted by members of the Tea Party, including Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer, to be “primaried.” This means he could be the latest conservative who isn’t conservative enough and will be challenged by a Tea Party candidate in the 2014 Senate primaries (Ask former Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., about the dangers of being “primaried.”) Perhaps sensing this threat, Chambliss will be throwing a Weekend in Florida to raise funds for the upcoming battle. Benefitting his Republican Majority Fund, Chambliss will charge $3,000 for PACs and $1,500 for individuals to join his vacation south on Jan. 18-20.
As always, upload any invites you may have here! And stay tuned to PT — early next week we’ll be covering the Inauguration, complete with the finished map of ALL the 2013 Inaugural balls!
Until next time, Partiers!
(Photo credit: iStockphoto.com)Tweet
Beneficiary: congressional candidate, lawmaker, or entity which collects funds raised at party
Host: person who is hosting party-often, but not always, a registered federal lobbyist
Venue Name: where the party is
Entertainment Type: type of gathering, such as "breakfast," "ski trip," "bowling"
Other Lawmakers Mentioned: lawmakers mentioned on invitation who are used as a draw for the event
Sunlight's Party Time is a project to track parties for members of Congress or congressional candidates that happen all year round in Washington, D.C. and beyond. (read more)
We also post information we receive about parties where members of Congress are expected to participate—such as convention or inaugural parties.
Since we don't hear about all the parties, you can also tell us if you know where the party is and we don't.