“Lobbyists and career politicians make up the Washington Cartel.” Ted Cruz
“I think we need to have more low-dollar efforts here [in this] country. You know, having a handful of billionaires that can basically, with special interest, [the fact that] they can kind of buy an election is something that bothers me.” John Kasich
Despite their rhetoric, campaign cash from lobbyists served as catalysts to keep Ted Cruz and John Kasich afloat. They vied to be the alternative to Donald Trump; now they’re watching the postseason from their couches. Let’s look back at the last two presidential candidates to concede.
While lawmakers frequently fundraise with high-profile donors, many hosts are “consultants” or “advisors” at special interest groups. Here, we only use the term “lobbyist” if it is in their official title or if they are registered as such.
Governor of Ohio John Kasich at NH FITN 2016, Photo Credit: Michael Vadon, Flickr
The Ohio governor’s moderate agenda led to just a moderate amount of votes throughout the GOP primaries. Holding just 18 fundraisers – according to our Party Time database – during his presidential run, Kasich couldn’t muster much support after winning his home state of Ohio.
Kasich’s first fundraiser of his presidential bid occurred almost one year ago on May 20, 2015. Paul Singer, a hedge fund manager and registered lobbyist with Elliott Management, hosted the luncheon. Singer is the third-largest donor to outside groups this election cycle, donating about $10.5 million to Republicans.
Kasich’s Aqua Al 2 fundraiser — the eighth-busiest fundraising venue in the D.C. area – featured:
—Tina Jonas, a lobbyist for CIS (which advocates for a bolstered military)
—Kerry Knott, former Comcast VP
— Lisa Piraneo, a lobbyist wanting to rid the country of “radical Islam”
— Mike Rock, a transportation lobbyist
— Stewart Young, a lobbyist against net neutrality
Kasich’s first fundraiser of 2016 was at the home of Kevin Mandia in California. The event also featured at least three additional lobbyists, including:
Kasich spent the next day in Los Angeles dining with Ron Burkle, co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and lobbyist for the manufacturing industry. In preparation for the Georgia primary, Kasich held a fundraiser in the Peach State with:
— Michael J. Coles, former CEO of Caribou coffee and former CEO of Great American Cookie Company
— John Dancu, president and CEO of Idology, registered lobbyist
— Charles Kuck, leader of Kuck Immigration Partners LLC, lobbying for permissive immigration laws
— William Woodall, lobbyist for Georgia Carry, a Second Amendment advocacy group
Kasich later fundraised in Gulfport, Miss., with more than a dozen hosts from the fields of nursing, anesthesiology and health care. Some of the hosts included:
In the Big Apple, Kasich fundraised with Harry Sloan, CEO of Global Eagle Acquisition Corp. and former CEO of MGM.
Days before his big — and only — primary victory in Ohio, Kasich fundraised with Bill Smithburg, former CEO of Quaker Oats.
Kasich fundraised a month later at the home of former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, now a lobbyist at Whitman Strategy Group, and with Lawrence Bathgate, a fundraiser and donor for former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Kasich then traveled to Connecticut to see:
— Barbara Franklin, a former secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce
— Bob Forrester, CEO of the Newman’s Own Foundation
— Jim Loree, president of Stanley Black & Decker
— Kevin O’Connor, former U.S. attorney for Connecticut
Ted Cruz at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the donors. According to Party Time, Ted Cruz centered most of his fundraisers in his home state of Texas, with 12 of his 33 fundraisers taking place there, five in New York City (where he spoke ill of their values) and five in D.C. with the “Washington cartel” he campaigned to upend.
One of his first fundraisers in Houston included several fossil fuel advocates. Cruz fundraised with more than 20 oil and gas lobbyists and consultants throughout the election cycle, including:
— Charles “Chuck” Cooper, lawyer at Cooper & Kirk PLLC, lead legal defense of California’s Proposition 8, and counsel to the National Rifle Association
— Brady Edwards, partner at Morgan Lewis, gave $10,800 to Cruz’s campaign
— David Grimes, founder of TortSmart, LLC, an oil and gas company
— Willie Langston, Cruz’s finance chairman, previously worked for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley; currently, he’s a founding partner and chairman of Avalon Advisors, and has donated to Cruz 14 times for a total of $17,550
— Rebekah Mercer, daughter of Robert Mercer, who donated $11 million to Ted Cruz’s Keep The Promise PAC
— Cary McNair, vice chairman of the McNair Group and son of Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, who gave $5,400 to Cruz’s campaign and half a million dollars to his PAC Keep the Promise.
Cruz even fundraised in blue Austin, Texas, with John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair care products.
His San Antonio event featured Red McCombs, billionaire co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, chairman of Constellis Group, former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Vikings, and the namesake of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.
A reception in Dallas featured two more of the Lone Star State’s most powerful players:
— William Alvin “Tex” Moncrief, Jr.: billionaire president of Moncrief Oil, who donated $50,000 to Keep the Promise PAC I
— Tom Hicks, who co-founded the investment firm, Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst; previously co-owned the English football club Liverpool F.C.; and chairman of Hicks Holdings LLC, which owns and operates Hicks Sports Group, the company that formerly owned the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars and the Mesquite Championship Rodeo
Another Houston fundraiser featured Willie Langston, Cruz’s finance chairman, who previously worked for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, and who currently is a founding partner and chairman of Avalon Advisors. Langston has donated to cruz 14 times for $17,550.
In addition to Ilya Shapiro, editor-in-chief of Cato Supreme Court Review, many other associates from Jones Day fundraised with the Texas senator.
Although Cruz decried Wall Street money and linked Hillary Clinton’s corruption with her unreleased speeches, he benefited from at least four fundraisers with prominent donors, including Joseph Konzelmann, a Goldman Sachs managing director, as well as Ken and Nina Abramowitz, whose family is one of the top contributors for campaign contributions.
The DNC recently reversed their ban on lobbyists donations. Donald Trump didn’t appear in our fundraising database as a beneficiary until last week. Now that both sides are down to party with special interests, lobbyists may FINALLY have their voices heard, one donation at a time.Tweet
While we trot to the office and lethargically work after surviving the #blizzard2016, our lawmakers are out raising money. (Fundraising does not hibernate.) In one of the craziest days of the 2016 campaign trail, here are some of the most notable fundraisers happening on Jan. 27th.
Was the snowstorm to kickoff the year not enough for you? For even more ice, join Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., for an evening of hockey, Philly style. It’s at Washington’s Verizon Center, but instead of rooting for the Capitals, your $2,000 ticket probably requires you to cheer for the Flyers. Go sports!
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will attend a gala tonight in Philadelphia, joined by Franklin Square Capital Partners Executive Michael C. Forman and state Rep. Michael Gerber, D. But is the former secretary of state still the frontrunner or is she Livin’ on a Prayer? She constantly tells voters I’ll Be There for You and she will Never Say Goodbye. While her poll standings are certainly not on a Bed of Roses, she just wants her donors to Have a Nice Day.
If you haven’t guessed it, her special guest tonight is none other than Jon Bon Jovi. Enjoy his acoustic set for $1,000 and become a host with a photo op for folks who bundle $27,000.
Presidential candidate Chris Christie is in the Windy City for a fundraiser with Dan Webb of Winston & Strawn and local CEOs Gregg Sherrill of Teneco and Greg Brown of Motorola Solutions. Dan Webb previously donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, but he promises his vote to the New Jersey governor.
Chelsea Clinton is busting her supporters into shape at SoulCycle this afternoon in the NYC neighborhood of Tribeca. Joined by famed instructor Laurie Cole, Chelsea wants you to be part of her “pack” and reserve a bike for $2,700.
She may have won the Battle of the Sexes, but Billie Jean King is still fighting – for Hillary, that is. The tennis superstar and Hillary campaign manager Robby Mook will host an LGBT reception in New York City tonight.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is out to lunch at one of D.C.’s hottest Indian restaurants, Rasika. Those who want to splurge can host for $5,000, or you can simply dine with the senator for $500. Additionally, those who just want to go for Restaurant Week in D.C. can pay $478 less for a three-course lunch. (Sunlight gives this spot 10/10).
And finally, House Speaker Paul Ryan is fundraising in Chicago tonight with the largest entourages so far this year. Sure, you can attend the reception for just $1,000, but the speaker wants you to go all out and donate at least $50,000 to be a Council Member on Team Ryan. Congressmen in attendance include GOP reps Greg Walden, Ore., Adam Kinziger, Ill., Mike Bost, Ill., Randy Hultgren, Ill., Rodney Davis, Iowa, Darin Lahood, Ill., John Shimkus, Ill., Bob Dold, Ill., and Peter Roskam, Ill..
For a look into the rest of this week’s parties and beyond, check out our calendar of events here. Party On!Tweet
There’s still more than 10 major GOP candidates left running for president; that must be music to the ears of the Democratic 2016 contenders. But they also make their own! One can serenade you with timeless ballads, one enjoys being sung to by a different voice and another enjoys the 1960’s garage-rock revival endorsement.
Hillary Clinton travels so much you’d think her pantsuits enable time travel. Frequently touring multiple states a day, the Democratic frontrunner racks up the most miles by far. While she leads the congressional endorsement race, HRC fares well in celebrity endorsements too. With a little help from her friends, (Christina Aguilera, Michelle Kwan and Katy Perry) she boasts the most star-studded entourage in the field. Clinton recently celebrated her 68th birthday in style with her husband, Bill Clinton.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the only candidate without a super PAC, prefers big turnouts to big donors. While his grassroots support is historic, Bernie “Larry David” Sanders was centerstage at Oklahoma City’s Blue Door arena. For only $20, patrons could Feel The Bern and almost a dozen musical acts.
Martin O’Malley plays a mean guitar, and he may have sang a few Irish hymns at The Dubliner this week. O’Malley is courting younger voters by offering student admission for just $20. The former Maryland governor also hosted a Civic Innovation Pitch Contest where students could enter for just $25.
For an update on the GOP field, check out our previous post here.
As the 2016 campaign continues, we’ll strive to build the most comprehensive database for the presidential fundraising circuit. Please share any invitations you find by anonymously uploading or emailing them to us here.
(Photo credit: Joe Crimmings/Flickr)Tweet
Hello party people, and welcome to your first full week of summer! As the swamp that is D.C. continues to heat up, a fearless foursome is heading west for a Southern California getaway – plus fundraising! Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., and Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., are taking advantage of the House’s weeklong recess and hanging out at the luxurious beachfront Four Seasons Santa Barbara for four days. Frankly, we can’t say that we blame them.
The rest of our social calendar is plenty busy this week, but we are sure there are other parties out there that haven’t made it onto our schedule. And that’s where you come in, party people! What have we missed? Email us whatever you’ve heard about, or upload official invites right here. And we always keep our sources confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.
Now let’s get into your week in parties!
Grimes goes for green
Political watchers have had their hawk eyes on the Kentucky Senate race for months now, tracking Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes’ every move and watching Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s GOP leader, topple his primary challenger, Matt Bevin.
With the May 20 primary now in the rearview mirror, Grimes and McConnell are really free to go at each other. In fact, on May 21, Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a super PAC that supports McConnell, threw down $560,961 on anti-Grimes TV ads, according to Sunlight’s Real Time tracker. That’s a hefty chunk of the nearly $2.4 million the group has spent opposing Grimes.
Sounds like it’s time for a fundraiser or two. On Wednesday evening, Grimes – who has benefited from some bold-named and well-connected help on the party circuit – will have a D.C. reception at the Georgetown home of lawyer Nelson Cunningham. The party is hosted by big-time Dem donors David and Carol Pensky and political consultant (and former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff from 1993-1994) Mack McLarty. McLarty and Cunningham hop in and out of the revolving door, holding key political posts in the Senate and White House and working at various private sector firms. They currently work together at McLarty Associates, an offshoot of the powerful but hush-hush Kissinger Associates.
Here’s hoping Grimes doesn’t party too hard on Wednesday evening. At 7:45 a.m. Thursday, she’s back at it, breakfasting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Party Time records show this is the second time Reid has thrown a fundraiser for Grimes: Last October, Reid held a luncheon in Las Vegas for the Kentucky Senate hopeful.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an equal opportunity partier. Our records show the Independent politician has been hosting Republicans and Democrats at his Upper East Side townhouse for years. And come Thursday, he opens up his recently renovated digs for a fundraiser for Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich.
The first-term governor and Michigan native travels to the Big Apple to raise funds for his reelection campaign. Snyder will face off in November against former Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer, who represented his southern Michigan district on Capitol Hill for one term in 2009.
When we first caught wind of the get-together, Party Time was surprised by the Manhattan-Michigan connection. But turns out this won’t be the first face-to-face for the pair: Bloomberg and Snyder have appeared together at multiple events to advocate for immigration reform.
Lunching with lobbyists
Sen. Mark Pryor is holding on in Arkansas. The Democratic senator is facing a tough reelection fight in his red state – Rothenberg calls the race “Toss-up/Tilt Republican” – and polls show he’s neck-and-neck with his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton. Last month, Sunlight reported that a Democratic super PAC, Senate Majority PAC, spent $464,000 on ads opposing Cotton, the latest in a string of hefty independent expenditures in the race. Mother Jones, meanwhile, tried without success to find out who’s behind a $1.5 million dark money bomb on behalf of Cotton.
Sunlight’s Real Time tracker shows that Pryor and Cotton already have raised more than a combined $12 million for their race, with Pryor bringing in slightly more. But in politics, there’s no such thing as too much money, so Pryor will have a lunch on Thursday to fatten up that wallet even more. The noontime meal at Art & Soul will put you back $1,000 to $2,500 a plate.
Cohosting the fundraiser: Eddie Ayoob, a Barnes & Thornburg lobbyist and former top staffer in Reid’s Senate office, and Brady King – a CPA lobbyist and former Hill staffer in multiple offices, including that of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
Virginia is for lovers partiers
Virginia Republicans have a busy weekend ahead of them. On Saturday, they gather in Roanoke for their state convention to determine who should face off against Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in the fall. Ed Gillespie – Republican operative, lobbyist, RNC chairman, etc. – looks likely to snag the nomination, even though the convention usually brings together more conservative voters, who (in case you hadn’t heard) tend to eye establishment Republicans with some uncertainty.
Before folks get down to business, they should probably have a party, right? Right. Fortunately, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will be on hand to get things going during Friday night’s Commonwealth Gala. Tickets to the dinner start at $75, but climb up to $2,500 to host a table of 10.
More and more Dems Ready for Hillary
Chicago is, like, really Ready for Hillary. Last week, the super PAC that’s encouraging Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016 had a fundraiser in the Windy City, and this week, there are two more events on the books.
First up is a $1,000 per head reception Thursday at Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan are slated to attend. All three are buddy-buddy with President Barack Obama, meaning yet another batch of Obama faithful are, well, Ready for Hillary. The host committee is a veritable who’s who of Chicago bigwigs and Obama bundlers: Conlon & Dunn Public Strategies higher-ups Kevin Conlon and Chris Dunn, Barnes & Thornburg partner Richard Boykin (who recently won the Democratic nominee for Cook County Commissioner), Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, and Andrea and Alan Solow are some of the hosts listed on the invite.
And then it’s off to another steakhouse for another fundraiser. Mayor Emanuel will attend both parties, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., will join in for the second shindig. Another fistful of H. Clinton fans will be on hand to host.
On Friday evening, the super PAC gets yet another boost, this time during a reception in Connecticut. The fundraiser will be at the home of Ann Scheffer and Bill Scheffler, Democratic donors who attended a pricey DNC dinner in 2012 where President Obama spoke.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., will attend Friday’s party and the invite promises he will make a “special announcement” at the event. (We are not holding our breath on what that announcement will be, by the way.) A bit of history: Blumenthal and Clinton were classmates at Yale Law School, and during her 2008 run for president, Blumenthal, then Connecticut’s Attorney General, attended a fundraiser for Clinton’s campaign.
Photo courtesy FlickrTweet
The decision by several major Democratic super PACs to join forces for fundraising, announced last month, apparently formalizes some long-standing collaboration. PartyTime has gotten hold of an old invite which detailed the events for a briefing last October that brought together a number of top political fundraising organizations associated with the Democratic party and allied organizations.
The invite, which represents one of the first super PAC fundraisers to hit Sunlight’s PartyTime database, listed American Bridge 21st Century, America Votes, EMILY’S List, House Majority PAC, Priorities USA Action and the Senate Majority PAC. The invitation described these PACs and super PACs as organizations “working in collaboration to ensure the progressive electoral infrastructure has the tools and resources necessary to win in 2012.”
Listed as hosts for the event: were major Obama inaugural donors Reinier and Nancy Beeuwkes, Paul and Joanne Egerman and Barbara Lee, along with other major Democratic donors.
Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List and David Brock, the founder of American Bridge 21st Century, were listed as event speakers.
PartyTime wonders, how many more of these kind of meetings have taken place? Got an invite? Share it here.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)
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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.