Today is October 21st
Documenting the Political Partying Circuit
From the early hours of the morning until late in the evening, politicians are partying. Sunlight's PARTY TIME can help you find out who is partying, where and when.

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Mega-giver Sheldon Adelson and GOP bigwigs push African American conservative for Congress

They’re ba-a-a-ack! Some of the Republican Party’s most munificent bankrollers, Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, are co-hosting a fundraiser in Las Vegas next week where they’ll be joined by an eclectic list of other GOP boldfaced names. Among them: Jeb Bush Jr. (son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of former President George W. Bush and grandson of former President George H.W. Bush) and Herman Cain, inventor of the immortal 9-9-9 plan.

They’re all gathering at the 8,100-square-foot, $1.5 million home of Las Vegas businessman and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Victor Chaltiel to launch what they hope will be a a congressional challenge by one of those political rarity of rarities: an African American Tea Partier.

The focus of all the conservative GOP hope and moolah (ticket prices for the Tuesday bash range from $500 to $5,200): Niger Innis, a conservative commentator and National Outreach Director for TheTeaParty.net, as well as the group’s national spokesperson. Innis also is the son of Roy Innis, an iconoclastic civil rights leader who has headed the Congress of Racial Equality since 1968.

Funds raised at the event go to the Niger Innis Action Fund, an exploratory committee apparently aimed at funding Innis, a resident of North Las Vegas, in an as-yet unofficial campaign to oust freshman Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford. Horsford currently represents Nevada’s 4th Congressional District.

The support of Adelson, the force behind the Las Vegas Sands Corp., certainly bodes well for Innis’ financial prospects. The casino magnate has become the face of big money in politics and when he’s not publicly musing about a nuclear attack on Iran, he’s often devoting time and money to electing Republican candidates to office.A Sunlight report in Dec. 2012 found that Adelson and his wife had contributed over $92 million to outside spending groups — just in the year 2012.

Also listed on the host committee: campaign finance lawyer and Tea Party activist Dan Backer, Esq. of DB Capitol Strategies. Backer, who also acts as the treasurer for many conservative PACs, is representing plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon in the ongoing Supreme Court case that could overturn existing aggregate contribution limits.

As reported by Jon Ralston, Innis and co. may be emboldened by incumbent Horsford’s weak fundraising numbers. To date, the Dem has raised less than $500,000 in 2013. Should he officially declare his candidacy, the conservative pundit will have to weather a primary battle with Las Vegas councilman Cresent Hardy, who recently declared his intent to run.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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PT Round-up: Partying in the era of uncertainty

Salutations, party people! Another week of government shutdown means another week of uncertainty for furloughed workers, political pundits and those tracking the political fundraising scene.

Last week, as congressional haggling over budget and healthcare issues dragged on, party after party was postponed or cancelled. Apparently, members were concerned about the bad “optics” involved in raising money for their own reelection efforts while government workers were going without paychecks.

However some valiant pols held out hope that the government — and the fundraising — would continue as planned. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, waited until the last possible minute to cancel his shindig because he was “hoping for a miracle,”  while Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas partied on as planned.

As of publication, the upcoming week features at least 10 fundraisers with sitting members of Congress that have yet to be postponed or cancelled.  However, the coming days may bring with them a fresh batch of cancellations should the gridlock on Capitol Hill continue.

Here’s a rundown of the members who will be soldiering on in their pursuit of hard money this week:

A Kennedy-Sarkozy cash connection? Oh là là!

Members of two powerful political families from either side of the Atlantic will be joining forces Monday at a high-priced affair in the Big Apple.

Olivier Sarkozy, half-brother of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is a banker with dual citizenship and a penchant for contributing to candidates on both sides of the political spectrum. The funding fête will support Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., the 32 year old scion of the fabled political dynasty. He won the seat of retired Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., in 2012.

The New York Post reports that Sarkozy’s e-mail invitation praises Kennedy as “pragmatic, principled and willing to look past party labels in the interest of getting things done.” Suggested contributions range from $1,000 to a $5,200 maximum.

Should the young Kennedy be able to pry himself away from Capitol Hill and carry on with the party as planned, his bash may benefitting from a little star power: Sarkozy is romantically involved with former child star Mary-Kate Olsen.

Garden State green

In a Senate race that was once considered to be all but decided, lately there have been some glimmers of hope for New Jersey Republican Steve Lonegan. While Newark Mayor Corey Booker still has a commanding lead in fundraising figures, recent polls show that Lonegan is eating away at what used to be a seemingly insurmountable lead for Booker.

The former mayor of Bogota is fresh off of a feisty debate with Booker that took place Friday night. The contest has become increasingly testy in the final weeks before the election: while Lonegan has long criticized his Democratic counterpart’s record as mayor, the Booker campaign just released its first overtly negative ad Oct. 1.

Monday evening, the Jersey conservative will hold a low dollar event with a planned appearance by Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J. For just $150 supporters have the chance to partake in “refreshments, hors d’oeuvres and discussion” with the Garden State GOPpers. A cancellation by Lance could be a serious blow to the Lonegan camp, which has finally gained some momentum in the final weeks leading up to the Oct.16 vote.

California Dreamin’

Seven members for the price of one?

If you’re a fan of nifty deals — or the California GOP — then you’ll be thrilled to hear about their Wednesday reception at that venerated fundraising locale, the Capitol Hill Club.

While $250 would generally buy a donor no more than a few minutes of banter with ONE politician, the Oct. 9 funder offers wealthy Capitolites the chance to mingle with the entire California House Republican delegation.

For $5,000 you can even be listed as a co-chair (what an honor!) All proceeds will benefit the San Diego’s Carl DeMaio, who briefly flirted with a run at his home town’s mayorship, before turning his sights back to Congress.

Golf with Graham

Has all this talk of shutdowns and furloughs got you down? Perhaps Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., can interest you in a round of golf at the swanky Kiawah Island Resort.

This is the second annual Ocean Course golf fundraiser on the South Carolina island that’s benefiting Graham’s leadership PAC, Fund for America’s Future. (Spoiler alert: it sends money to Republicans and the committees that campaign for them.) Fork over $2,500 for two days of seaside links.

Graham has been off the party circuit for a few months, despite multiple from-the-right challengers hopping into the primary fight for the 2014 Senate race.

More recently, he’s donated his salary to a vets’ service organization during the shutdown and been vocal about getting paychecks to active military personnel. Last week, he told Roll Call that people who get in the way of those paychecks are “going to make an enemy of me for life.”

Our question: Does that threat extend to the golf course?

First Lady Fundraiser

First Lady Michelle Obama is logging some frequent flier miles as she heads to California at the end of this week for fundraisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Obama will headline a one-hour event benefiting the Democratic National Committee at the house of “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Philip Rosenthal on Friday. For a cool $32,400, you can take part in an “off-the-cuff discussion” with the first lady … and get a picture.

On Sunday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Obama will join forces at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Francisco for a “Women’s Brunch.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will reap up to $32,000 per couple at the 9 a.m. meal, which, if everyone’s being honest, definitely makes this breakfast.

That’s all for this week folks, as always, let us know if you hear of any new comings or goings in the par-tay world.

Contributing: Palmer Gibbs; Photo credit: Flickr user Will Palmer

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Shutdown shutting down some parties

Update 2:18 p.m. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., has joined the ranks of shutdown party poopers. Her $500-and-up Autumn Reception has been postponed.

It’s truly a sad day in the nation’s capital, party people. The right to ‘get down’ — and raise campaign dough — is one of the most inalienable tenets of life inside the Beltway. Sadly, it appears that nothing is immune to the harsh specter of government shutdown: the mass canceling of pre-planned fundraisers for this week illustrates just how dire the situation really is.

On Monday, Party Time reported that there were at least seven congressional fundraisers scheduled to take place this week. Some savvy pols were even using the healthcare debacle as fundraising fuel for grassroots money grabs: rabble rousers Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, both make appearances in online funding asks for the Senate Conservatives Fund, the staunchly anti-Obamacare super PAC associated with former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

It makes PT all aw-shucks and red-faced to share this, but our reporting was cited by, among others: USA TODAY and National Journal and Huffington Post and San Francisco Chronicle and The Columbus Dispatch and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

We’re sure it’s just a coincidence, but as of this morning, reports began trickling in of the parties being (sob!) scrubbed. Politico’s Anna Palmer reports that GOP fundraising organizers were advising members’ to cancel their events in light of the “bad optics” arising from our nation’s representatives raising thousands at a high-price events while around 800,000 ‘inessential’ federal workers have been placed on furlough.

According to Politico, at least one Democratic fundraiser fretted over the unrecoverable costs incurred from funders cancelled at the eleventh hour. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, will be donating the food from his “Taste of Cincinnati” event to a Washington shelter for homeless and battered women. Chabot — ever the optimist — waited until this morning to postpone the event, telling the Plain Dealer that he was “hoping for a miracle.” Ten other members of Ohio’s Republican delegation were schedule to co-host the event.

Thus far, at least three of the events in Party Time’s database have been affected. Aside from Chabot, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. postponed a bash for his Healthcare Freedom Fund leadership PAC and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., was forced to reschedule his “Small, Convivial Dinner” which offered “stimulating conversation” and a selection of California’s finest wines for those who made the $1,500 minimum contribution.

So, what is the rationale for those still holding their fundraisers, when most other government activity has ground to a halt? In an interview with the Huffington Post Rep. Gene Green, D- Texas, defended his decision to carry out his $1,000-and-up lunch at a Capitol Hill eatery by stating, “[w]e had a year to be able to see what we can to solve this problem, and I assume there are lots of members who are having fundraisers.”

Perhaps some things will never change. As always, let us know if you hear of other fundraising happenings here.

Photo credit: Graffizone via iStockphoto.com

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Christie body slams fundraising expectations, but where will the money go?

Garden State Gov. Chris Christie is on a fundraising tear. The (Newark) Star-Ledger reports that his campaign has already raised more than $12.4 million, which begs a question: Since New Jersey state law limits what gubernatorial candidates who accept matching funds can spend to $12.2 million, why is he still out chasing campaign cash?

New Jersey is one of ten states that offers a system of public financing for gubernatorial candidates in an effort to limit the role of big money in politics. Any candidate who raises at least $380,000, and agrees to participate in public debates is eligible to receive two dollars of public money for every dollar they receive in private contributions.

Christie (pictured right) has benefited handsomely from the public money, largely because he unleashed an all-out fundraising blitz to defend his place in the governor’s mansion from Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. Of course, being among the frontrunners for the 2016 potential Republican presidential nomination is a boon to any candidate’s fundraising appeal.

Party Time records show that the governor has  raised dough from New York to California, benefiting from appearances by major political players like Rudy Giuliani and Mark Zuckerburg along the way.

This aggressive pace has paid dividends. The governor is leading Buono in the polls by a wide margin and his campaign’s receipts have outpaced Buono’s by a margin of 10 to 1.

But ‘the Boss’ has showed no signs of slowing down.

As reported by the Connecticut News Blog, the Garden State governor will attend yet another big name funder on October 9, hosted by wrestling exec Linda McMahon, husband of WWE royalty Vince McMahon and former candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut (she ran twice). The event also boasts appearances by former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Charles Glazer, and would-be governor of Connecticut Tom Foley, among others.

For any political partiers who want to stop by and rub shoulders with some of the biggest Republican players in New England, just know that it’s gonna’ cost you. Suggested minimum contributions are $3,800, which means that tens of thousands more dollars are likely to flow into Christie’s campaign war chest.

While the governor’s campaign would run afoul of state campaign finance law if it exceeds the $12.2 million mark in spending, some expenditures are not included in this tally. According to a representative from the Public Financing Department of the New Jersey Election Law Commission, these permissible expenses include the somewhat vague “reasonable costs” of campaigning, travel expenses and food and beverages for campaign events. But big ticket expenses like political advertisements are subject to the spending cap.

The Christie campaign would either need to use the surplus cash on overhead costs, or simply ’sit’ on the cash and wait until the gubernatorial cycle ends — at which point it could transfer the excess funds into other different political committees.

A bulging campaign war chest can be a great way for a lawmaker to shore up partisan support — particularly for a pol with an eye on the White House.

Should Christie end the race with excess funds, he would not be able to transfer it to a federal political action committee, though he could make contributions to other state level candidates and party committees.

The Christie campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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PT round-up: Booker keeps busy, Biden parties with son and Rick Scott hopes to rebound with big bucks

Good morning party people. The party circuit is starting to get crowded as incumbents and would-be elected officials rev their fundraising engines in advance of the looming close of the books on the third quarter. We’ve noticed a distinct pattern in partying fever; everyone wants to fatten the bottom line that will be reported in a few weeks to the Federal Election Commission.

This week’s round-up has a host of goodies for political partiers including a Cory Booker trip to Tinseltown, a Biden family reunion and even the return of Party Time favorite, Governor Rick Scott.

Booker’s been busy

Another week, another jam-packed social calendar for the most famous mayor in New Jersey. Cory Booker raised some eyebrows (along with cash) last week when it was reported that he was partying in San Francisco with local pols and Silicon Valley-ites the same day as a planned Jersey City rally in his honor. Ultimately, the event was cancelled at the 11th hour as the headliner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, had to return to the Windy City in the wake of a mass shooting.

This Monday, Booker will take the coastal cruise down south to join celebrity A-listers at a Hollywood fundraiser at the home of major Democratic donor Ron Burkle.

It’s not often that the stars of Hollywood and Capitol Hill align, but it seems that Booker has a special affinity for attracting big-name supporters. In the past he has partied with Ivanka Trump and Oprah Winfrey.

This week’s funder features both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (pictured above) — who has been quite vocal about his political views in the past.

Affleck and Booker will likely have plenty to talk about, as the actor was recently announced to be the new face of the Batman film franchise, and Booker is a self-styled superhero in his own way.

Grounds with Rounds

Would you pay $500 for a cup of joe?

Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds certainly hopes so, as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate will be charging $500 and up of attendees to the first Washington fundraiser of his campaign.

The morning event will take place at the MacFarlane Group Townhouse and features veteran K Streeter Dan Gans.

Rounds is considered to be one of the Republicans most likely to pick up a Democratic Senate seat in the upcoming 2014 elections and is currently enjoying a slim lead in most polls. We can only speculate as to whether the coffee warrants the $500 contribution.

More Mowrer

When the Partier-in-Chief is unavailable, the second in command will do in a pinch.

This week, Vice President Joe Biden will appear at a private townhouse for a fundraiser benefiting Jim Mowrer, who is challenging conservative Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for the state’s fourth congressional district.

Mowrer may have cashed in some sort of political two-for-one deal, as the Vice President’s son Hunter will also be in attendance.

The VPOTUS fueled talk of a potential 2016 bid during Sunday trip to Mowrer’s home state for the annual Steak Fry hosted by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. As they say, no one visits Iowa without a good reason.

Hosted but not endorsed

In a prime example of political parlance, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. recently told the Associated Press that his co-hosting of a reception for U.S. Senate candidate and current North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis should not be viewed as an official endorsement of Tillis. In an interview Burr stated that he has always been happy to “help any North Carolina Republican who wants to come to Washington to raise money.”

Burr may be wary of allying himself with Tillis due to recent controversy stemming from campaign finance finagling.

North Carolina law prohibits any serving state representative from accepting donations from current North Carolina lobbyists or companies with lobbyists currently lobbying the Assembly. However, as the law does not cover Tillis’ federal campaign committee, the Speaker has legally raised money for his Senate bid from lobbyists and other groups with business before the state legislature.

Suggested contributions for the Tuesday evening event run from $500 to $2,500. If he clears the Republican primary, Tillis will face incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. in 2014.

Rick Scott

After a rough few days on the fundraising circuit, it looks like Florida Gov. Rick Scott is looking to rebound with a Saturday shindig in lovely Belleair, FL.

Unburdened by those pesky federal regulations that prohibit candidates from directly coordinating with their associated super PACs, as a candidate for state office in Florida, Scott may ask for $1,000, $10,000 or $50,000 from attendees for his 527 organization Let’s Get to Work.

Time will only tell if it will live up to the hype of his previously scheduled gator hunt.

Check ya’ later partiers. Make sure to send us those invites!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Booker misses rally to party in San Fran

When your social calendar is as full as Senate candidate Cory Booker’s, there’s bound to be scheduling conflicts. An RSVP may go unreturned, wires get crossed and you may show up 15 minutes late for a stump speech. And then there are the times when you have to blow off a rally with the voters back home because you’re fundraising on the other side of the country.

NJ.com reports that Booker will miss a Jersey City campaign rally featuring Democratic heavy-hitter Rahm Emanuel and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop today to attend a fundraiser at the Temple Night Club in San Francisco.

In case you were wondering what sort of high-class soiree would be so enticing that the ‘Book-man’ would miss spending time with his fellow Jerseyites to hoof it all the way to California, Party Time has obtained a copy of the invitation for your perusing pleasure.

Update 11:49 am: Politwoops caught a deleted tweet from the Booker campaign asking supporters to join them in Jersey City. Apparently, some of Booker’s staff did not know he wasn’t planning to be there.

Update 12:08 pm: The rally has been cancelled as the headliner Rahm Emanuel will stay in Chicago to deal with the aftermath of a mass shooting in the city that took place late Thursday evening.

The funder, which is still going on as far as we know, features local Golden State political types, like Keesa Ocampo, of the San Mateo County Commission on the Status on Women and Jill Habig of the California Department of Justice and features a  wide array of contribution options, ranging from the economical “Young Professional” at $50 to a chair position at $1,000.

While Rahm may understand the priority of campaign cash, it’s not as if Booker is hurting for dough right now. FEC reports from July show the Senate hopeful had more than $4 million on hand.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Football, funders and our friends on Capitol Hill

What better way to celebrate a member of Congress than with a lil’ pigskin? The District’s chilly days and fast-changing leaves signal the coming of pumpkin spice lattes, football and of course congressional funders.

We must have ESP(N). Just this past Monday we here at Sunlight were discussing professional football’s popularity among our members of Congress, when lo and behold, what’s made its way over our transom: another NFL fundraising invite!

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., aims to catch some campaign cash this Sunday, as the Washington Redskins take on the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. As the ‘Skins try to steal their first win of the season, Brad Cheney and Bill Killmer (Note: this is not the similarly-named former Washington QB) of the Mortgage Bankers Association will be on hand. This may or may not have something to do with Warner’s place on the Senate Committee on Banking.

While Warner, a George Washington University grad, may have rooted for the boys in burgundy and gold for years, a survey of FedEx Field fundraisers show that local NFL games are a fundraising fixture for lawmakers from across the nation.

But the cash-chasing opportunities of the most lucrative professional sport in the world aren’t just limited to live games. In the past, prospective members have charged donors thousands just for the pleasure of watching a televised NFL game at the local wing joint and young Democrats enjoyed a lovely afternoon of financial football at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

When it comes to the political fundraising scene, the NFL is no benchwarmer. It’s not just the formidable campaign and K Street clout of the NFL; PT archives show that members of Congress aren’t immune from football frenzy.

In June, the gridiron gang played host to two fundraisers for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who serves on the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. The NFL is has huge workplace issues, as illustrated by the class-action suit it recently lost from former players affected by head injuries.

Been to a football funder we don’t know about? Got an invitation. As always, make sure to send ‘em this way

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Cigars, sushi and shooting: raising money the Washington way

Too many evening fundraisers filled with hors d’oeuvres and quiet conversation can get a little tiresome for a young, hip political donor. Thankfully, members are always coming up with innovative new events to help rake in the cash for their campaign war chests.

With the launch of Party Time’s excellent new Tumblr, we have been vigorously searching for zany new fundraising events — and our party-hearty politicians have happily obliged.

While this week’s social calendar features a plethora of picturesque funding fiestas — from a cigars and spirits reception, to an evening with pop star Will.i.am or a funder on the shooting range — one unhappy Florida lawmaker has provided us with a crash course in how not to party.

Scott sings the blues

Gov. Rick Scott’s fundraising woes began with news that the Florida governor had postponed the execution of an inmate on the Sunshine State’s death row. The reason? The timing conflicted with a fundraiser in honor of Attorney General Pam Bondi.  Remember folks, sometimes even the biggest party animals need to take some off.

On top of Scott’s sticky death row situation, the governor recently found himself the center of another fundraising controversy over the procurement of hunting licenses for potential donors.

Perhaps copying a page out of the playbook of Sen. David Vitter,R-La., Scott’s reelection campaign had planned a $25, 000-a-head ‘gator hunt.’ Unfortunately, alligator hunting permits are a hot commodity for hunters in the Florida swamps. The state awards its scarce number of licenses each year through a lottery system — prompting questions of how the adequate number of gator licenses were acquired for the funder.

Though Scott has since cancelled the hunt, if Sen. Vitter’s facebook is any indication, there’s nothing like a good day in the swamps for scaring up some campaign cash.

Rubio back on the hunt

The end of summer means the reappearance of familiar faces on the Washington money trail, and few are more aggressive in stocking the ole war chest than prospective 2016-ers.

As reported by Politico, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. expects to raise hundreds of thousands at his Wednesday shindig in downtown Washington. The reception will take place at Hill Country BBQ and features a bevy of high profile Republican lobbyists on its host committee.

Suggested contributions range from $1,000 to $10,000 and will benefit Rubio’s Victory Committee, a joint fundraising committee benefiting both the Marco Rubio for Senate committee and Reclaim America PAC — Rubio’s leadership committee.

Strong fundraising numbers can serve a number of purposes for savvy politicians: If Rubio should pass on a 2016 White House bid, an overflowing campaign war chest could discourage presumptive challengers from entering a battle over his Senate seat. Additionally, as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has shown, aiding other party members with a little cash can go a long way towards preserving one’s good standing among caucus compatriots.

Stogies and Spirits

If throwing down a few thousand for a barbecue sandwich doesn’t tickle your fancy, consider stopping by a high-class Cigar and Spirits reception honoring Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla.

While everyone knows that nothing kills the mood of a good par-tay like running out of booze, rest assured that Garcia’s reception will be well-stocked, as it is hosted by none other than the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers’ Association and the Distilled Spirits Council. While this is the Cigar & Pipe retailers’ first appearance in PT’s archives, the Distilled Spirits Council clearly prefers to share a cold one with Dems.

If you can’t make it, or just can’t get enough of the Florida congressman, fear not: Garcia will be holding another bash this Friday at the Erickson & Co. Townhouse.

Lundergan Grimes, ready for prime time?

While the next election for Kentucky’s Senate seat is not until November of next year, the three way race to fill the seat of Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is already in high gear with astronomical spending and bizarre attack ads.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes recently gained two new feathers in her campaign cap with the news of two upcoming fundraisers featuring A-list invitees.

This Friday the Bluegrass state will receive a visit from pop star Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, appearing on Lundergan Grimes’ behalf at a private residence. Contributions run the gamut from $100 to $2,600.

In mid October, Lundergan Grimes will make the journey to Las Vegas to party with a political star — none other than Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Gun-draising

Apparently undeterred by his weak showing in polls for the New Jersey Senate race, Steve Lonegan aims to fire up his base this weekend with a little trip to the shooting range.

That’s right, a political fundraiser where you get to blast away with a variety of different firearms — all while supporting New Jersey’s Republican candidate for Senate.

Sponsored by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, the event offers different firing experiences for different levels of support. $40 will buy a contributor the chance to shoot 20 rounds from a “Savage 10.P 308,” while a $125 contribution will give you the chance to fire five rounds from the Barret M107 .50BMG.

Of course, no firearms fundraiser would be complete without a chance to try one of the event’s two “mystery rifles.”

As always, if you catch wind of other fundraisers, share them here. Party Time out.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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A Texas trifecta, flailing fingers and soaking up the last of summer

(Updated 09/10: Tip o’ the hat to the partier who sent us the Christie-in-Texas invites. See them here.)

Sometimes even the biggest party animals need to have a little pause in the action.

With mounting tension over a proposed U.S. strike on Syria, Southern California Public Radio reports that our nation’s Partier-in-Chief has cancelled a fundraising reception for the DNC in Los Angeles.

While this may be something of a downer for those Democratic boosters who shelled out $32,400 for the chance to participate in an hour long discussion with the ‘leader of the free world,’ our representatives in Congress have been more than willing to pick up the partyin’ slack.

As members settle back into their Washington routines after the long summer recess, the fundraising scene is already beginning to ramp up to its accustomed breakneck pace. This week’s docket features fundraisers from a Democratic whip, possible 2016 contenders for the White House and weekend getaways for those donors wanting to squeeze every last bit of congressional face time out of their generous contributions.

As always, if you catch wind of any other fascinating funding fiestas, send ‘em this way.

Everything’s bigger in Texas

A Cowboys fan from Jersey?

At least that’s what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Party Time veteran would have us believe. The ‘Boss’ claims his longtime loyalty to “America’s Team,” began in his boyhood during a disappointing stretch for the New York Giants. He plans to cheer on Texas’ boys in blue during their Sept. 8 home opener against the Giants — a team which has its home field in Christie’s state.

Though Christie’s affection for the Cowboys is not new, he may have an ulterior motive for reminding folks of it this weekend: The Giants-Cowboys game will be in Texas, where Christie will be on a fundraising trifecta on behalf of the GOP. Maybe wearing a little silver and blue will produce more green? According to the Associated Press, the governor will be attending three separate fundraisers in one day for the Republican National Committee: A breakfast in Dallas, luncheon in Houston and a reception in San Antonio. (It would be just lovely if a fellow partier would share some invites.)

The Jersey Gopper is no stranger to raising big bucks. Thanks to his aggressive fundraising, the incumbent governor, one of only two in the country who will be facing voters this year, is already finished raising money for his reelection effort. As reported by NorthJersey.com, Christie has already ‘maxed out’ the amount of private contributions he can raise to obtain state matching funds: He’s got more than $4 million in his war chest. According to Bill Palatucci, the chairman of Christie’s reelection campaign, “[t]hat gives the Governor the luxury in September and October of focusing on his day job.” And, it seems, fundraising.

Besides lagging in the ‘cash primary,’ Christie’s Democratic opponent,  state Sen. Barbara Buono, faces an even larger deficit in the polls. Election Day is Nov. 5.

Common interests

While Christie may be able to spend the months of September and October basking in his fundraising success, other pols have no such luxury.

The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation PAC will host a trio of Democratic reps at a Sept. 10 breakfast at Bobby Van’s Grill in Washington. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. and Jim Hines, D-Conn. will be in attendance and contributions will benefit Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill.

Party Time records show the DTCC supports an array of Democratic members, though the more likely reason for the financial group’s hospitality has little to do with whether a member has a “D” or “R” following their name — all three representatives attending Tuesday’s fundraiser serve on the House Financial Services Committee.

Pointing fingers

A savvy politician knows what excites her base. Sometimes that’s a picture of a finger-pointing confrontation with the president on an airport tarmac. Like the memorable one cameras captured of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, and President Obama.

The finger-wagging standoff gained media notoriety when it occurred in Tucson last year, giving viewers visual confirmation of the the governor’s disappointment in the president’s immigration policies. And now she’s using it to broaden her constituency — at least her cash constituency.

The invitation for a Sept. 14 fundraiser in Raleigh, N. C. prominently features the photo, as the Grand Canyon State governor attempts to drum up Tar Heel cash at an event hosted by the Wake County Republicans.

This is not the first time in PT’s records that a Republican lawmaker has raised dough off controversy. Recently Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. used photos of environmental protesters — angered by the senator’s climate change denial – at his Google-sponsored funder to highlight his commitment to bringing jobs to Oklahoma.

Suggested contributions for the Brewer fundraiser range from $75 to $5,000.

Soaking up summer

While vacation is over for most of us, two Republican senators are grasping at the last straws of summer this weekend with retreats in Nashville and New Hampshire.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will be taking some generous friends on a weekend excursion to “Music City,” while fans of Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., can shell out $1,500 or more to spend a weekend with the Senator in Mount Washington, N.H.

The weekend R&R should give the two Republicans plenty of time to consider the president’s plan of action in Syria — both members have cited a need for more information in advance of the proposed strikes.

Until next time partiers. But it doesn’t have to be long! For those of you in need of a mid-week Party Time fix, stay tuned for the launch of our new PT Tumblr this week. It’ll be a great way to feature those invites. So keep ‘em coming, and keep on rockin’ in the free world.

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Garden State gun party: More bucks = more bang

Steve Lonegan, the outspoken Republican squaring off against Newark Mayor Cory Booker for New Jersey’s special Senate election, is hoping the specter of gun control will be equally effective in scaring up some cash in the Garden State.

Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota, N.J., and two-time gubernatorial candidate, next month will attend a “Fundraiser Shooting Event” in his honor at the South Jersey Shooting Club, hosted by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society.

As opposed to a more run-of-the-mill congressional fundraiser, the event offers contributors a clear –and immediate — return on investment. Instead of tying contribution levels to cheesy titles like ‘Friend’ or ‘Platinum Level Sponsor,’ Lonegan is literally providing a bigger bang for bigger bucks: The amount donors give directly corresponds to the amount of firepower they’ll get your hands on at the firing range.

Instead of fish or steak, attendees have the option to choose from rifles or pistols. For $40, a contributor gets to blast five rounds from a Desert Eagle 50, or 20 rounds from an AR15. Guests also have the option of paying $50 for the chance to take one of the event’s two “mystery rifles” for a spin.

For those with deep pockets, throwing  down $125 will buy five shots from the “Barret M107 .50BMG.”

Decisions, decisions!

Only time will tell if the national Second Amendment crowd will rally to Lonegan’s aid. The Republican faces an uphill battle in the Oct. 16 election. But his funder reflects a continuing trend.

Months after a bill mandating universal background checks on gun sales died in the U.S. Senate, candidates from both sides of the spectrum have found that the issue of gun control still generates plenty of enthusiasm — and cash.

Witness recent fundraising efforts around the recall election of two Colorado state senators, whose tenures have been thrown into question after a successful petition –backed by guns rights groups — forces a fresh vote for their seats on Sept. 10.

Angela Giron, D-Puebl0, and Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, drew the ire of Second Amendment backers over their support of stricter gun control legislation for the Centennial State. Morse’s  “Sickness In Our Soul” speech to the upper chamber is credited with igniting the maelstrom of gun-group indignation. Former Colorado Springs councilman Bernie Herpin will be challenging Morse for his seat, while Giron faces a showdown with former Pueblo Deputy Police Chief George Rivera.

The recalls have become a sort of proxy fight for national players on both sides of the guns issue. New York senator and Democratic heavyweight Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., released an e-mail asking for contributions on the incumbents’ behalf, while conservative commentator Michelle Malkin recently took a trip out west to party with Herpin.

Of course, no battle over gun rights would be complete without the seemingly omnipresent Michael Bloomberg — of Mayors Against Illegal Guns fame — entering the fray. According to a report by Channel 7 News of Denver, the New York City mayor and business magnate has contributed $350,000 to a group supporting Giron and Morse, while the NRA has spent $108,600 on the endeavor.

(Photo Credit – Flickr user Jenn Durfey)

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PARTYFINDER™ Hints

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.