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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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Tale of two of invites: Insider access vs. family fun

The congressional recess, and the associated dip in Party Time’s Washington-area invites, gives us a chance to stop and catch our breath after months packed with chasing down invitations, crashing parties and titillating the masses with our PT Twitter feed. The break in the action also gives us an opportunity to provide some deeper analysis of a prototypical DC fundraiser.

For a study in contrasts, we have a piece from the Hamden (Conn.) Patch on a local fundraiser for mayoral candidate Bob Anthony and, from PT’s own archives, a July 24 breakfast benefiting Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii in her bid for the U.S. Senate.

The Anthony fundraiser takes place at a local fire station and offers “pizza, beer, soda and family fun” for supporters willing to contribute $30 or more. The article notes that the Anthony campaign’s previous fundraising bash, at the Laurel View Country Club, drew some 150 attendees.

Hanabusa’s funder was held just steps from the resplendent facade of the U.S. Capitol Building (pictured right), at fundraising favorite Hotel George, where patrons of the hotel’s esteemed Bistro Bis can enjoy an Eggs Benedict for $16, or chow down on a delightful Belgian Style Waffle for $13.75.

Instead of relying on press from local news outlets to spread word of the event, Hanabusa’s camp has the help of professional fundraising consultants and a “host committee” whose members include the wife and son of former Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, the pro-choice PAC Emily’s List and an assortment of other Washington insiders.

Host committees are a crucial element for successful congressional fundraisers and generally feature PACs and K Street lobbyists who can use their contacts to assure that all the right deep-pocketed donors are invited — essential when it costs $1,000 just to get in the door.

Instead of 150 donors gathered for an evening of stump speeches and pizza, a run-of-the-mill Washington fundraiser may entertain  just 15 to 30. Attendees at such an event contribute $1,000 to $5,000 for just a few minutes of face time with the honoree. Family fun is not on the agenda.

For any invitees unfamiliar with the congresswoman, the Hanabusa invitation features a handy reminder of her committee assignments — useful information for the lobbyist who wants to know if the member in question has a direct hand in legislation or oversight that could impact the bottom lines of his clients.

While a suggested contribution of $1,000-and-up for an hour long breakfast may seem outlandish, such events are the mundane reality of members of congress, who are constantly stocking their war chest for the next campaign. According to the most recent FEC reports, 33 House incumbents have already raised $1 million or more for their campaign committees — a far cry from the $20,000 reported by the prospective mayor’s campaign.

Amid recent forecasts that 2014 will rank among the most expensive election cycles of all time, the breakneck pace of congressional fundraising shows no signs of slowing down. While a municipal race in Hamden, Conn., may mean a few months of town hall meetings and pizza bashes, in Washington, the high-priced partyin‘ just doesn’t stop.

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Congressional recess means home-state fundraisers

Now that members of Congress are on recess through Labor Day, they finally have a chance to party — and fundraise — with people in their own districts rather than the usual carousel of lobbyists and insiders that frequent Washington fundraisers.

Take Chicago Democrat Mike Quigley, who unwittingly acknowleges this irony in an invitation for an upcoming fundraiser that he calls “His First Ever Trip to Sweet Home Chicago.” Here’s what he writes:

“While I love bringing a taste of Chicago to my DC events with receptions featuring Chicago’s renowned dogs and Italian beef, the time has come for us to enjoy all that my district has to offer in ‘sweet home Chicago.’”

The Aug. 19 weekend events include a Cubs game and costs individual donors $1,500 and PAC attendees $2,500.

The summer recess also allows lawmakers a chance to headline charity fundraisers and go on resort getaways with big donors. Party leaders like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will be taking advantage of the legislative lull by helping their congressional colleagues to rake in cash.

Other big-ticket names like Eric Cantor, R-Va., the House majority leader,  and (gasp!) Mitt Romney (Remember? He ran for president last year) also make appearances on PT’s calendar over the next two weeks, lending their names — and time — to fundraising events from Washington State to New Hampshire.

NH GOP brings in the big guns

The New Hampshire State Republican Commitee is holding two big ticket soirées inthe next two weeks. The first features none other than the former “next president of the United States.”

The Aug. 6 reception will be Romney’s first fundraising appearance since his failed presidential bid, though he did attend attend a June retreat in Utah with three GOP presidential hopefuls.

The event, which has long since sold out, will be held at a private residence in New Hampshire’s scenic Lakes Region — close to the Romney clan’s summer home in Wolfeboro. Contributions range from $250 to $1,500, with a special VIP reception with Romney available to those contributing $1,000 or more.

The following week the Granite State GOP will celebrate the Nashua, N.H. Republican Committee’s annual “Steakout” with Tea Party darling and former congressman Allen West, R-Fla. The two-part affair features a steak dinner, which will cost attendees between $60 and $150, followed by a more intimate reception with West for those willing pony up between $250 and $750.

As an addendum, PT would be remiss not to send a digital tip o’ the hat to the New Hampshire Republicans for their excellent use of puns.

Pet charities

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., are headlining fundraisers for their pet charities this month. This past weekend, Clyburn hosted his annual golf tournament that raises money for needy students; dozens of lobbyists have hit the links with Clyburn in the past. This year’s $15,000 or $20,000 sponsors include tobacco giant Altria (at $20,000), AT&T (at $15,000), Time Warner ($10,000) and FedEx and the National Association of Broadcasters, which paid $5,000 each. (Worth mentioning: Clyburn’s daughter, Mignon Clyburn, is a member (and acting chair) of the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the NAB.)

Hatch, meanwhile, headlines the annual Utah Families Foundation golf fundraiser at the Canyons Grant Summit Resort in Park City, Utah, where $20,000 sponsors have the privilege to attend a private reception with the senator. It has been historically sponsored by the pharmaceutical lobby, and this year is no exception. One sponsor is Myriad Genetics Laboratories, a major player in the biotech industry.

However, the Utah Republican will not be completely selfless this summer. Even though Hatch has claimed that this will be his final term in the ‘world’s greatest deliberative body,’ he continues to chase campaign dough with events like his first annual Sportsmen’s Retreat. The Aug. 9 getaway will benefit his leadership PAC and could be a hint that the senator still has his eyes on a Finance Committee chairmanship should the GOP take over the chamber in 2014.

Congressional heavy hitters

An appearance by a majority leader or a senior senator from California at a funding fiesta can help a lesser-known politician rake in bushels of hard cash that might have been otherwise unattainable.

Boehner has been a prolific fundraiser for his fellow Republicans in spite of discontent among conservative members of his caucus. This Tuesday, the speaker makes the journey to the stomping grounds of Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y. to appear at a reception in the New York Republican’s honor.

This is not Boehner’s first cross-country fundraising trek during a congressional recess. As noted in PT’s last recess post, the Ohioan went all the way to Anchorage, Alaska last month to appear on behalf of Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

Cantor and Feinstein are two other prominent members spreading their influence in their time off. Cantor will journey to Washington State Thursday for the annual Pink Flamingo Barbecue benefiting Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. The Washington conservative revealed July 12 that she is pregnant with her third child.

Feinstein, for her part, is holding a $1,000-and-up reception at her Aspen home for Sen. Tom Udall, D-Colo., something she has often done for political allies at her San Francisco abode. How convenient to have party pads in multiple states! Though, perhaps this should be expected of a senator worth at least $42 million

Celebs show up for Big Apple candidates

If hobnobbing with a room full of high-profile politicians sounds too stuffy for your liking, perhaps a celebrity appearance would persuade you to fork over some campaign dough. Two candidates for New York City office this week are holding events featuring some bold faced names.

Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, of Beastie Boys fame, will appear at a ‘drinks and music’ shindig for Daniel Squadron, a candidate for public advocate. Meanwhile Scarlett Johansson and Lena Dunham will attend a funder for city comptroller candidate Scott Stringer. The race has drawn unusually high public scrutiny this year, as disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer has thrown his hat into the race. Apparently Dunham and Johansson do not support “client number nine.”

Klobuchar wings it in Iowa

Finally, if your ramblings take you to Clear Lake, Iowa next week, be sure to stop by the North Iowa Democrats’ 10th Annual Wing Ding for wings and remarks by Rep. Bruce Braley, D-IowaSen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, and other area pols.

Klobuchar has the distinction of being named to the The Washington Post’s short list of 2016 presidential contenders should Hillary Clinton pass. While the event is not a fundraiser, the speaking engagement allows Klobuchar to gauge support in the state that can launch — or ruin — a presidential run.

Send us those invites

Despite all of of the magnificent events listed above, Party Time’s August calendar is still relatively sparse because of the recess. So, in light of the downtick in party invitations (sad face), PT will be shifting to a biweekly schedule for our August roundups.

Unless of course you fearless lobbyists, donors and supporters flood us with events to write about! Until next time, Partiers!

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)


Wendy Davis attracts throngs of small donors in hip D.C. neighborhood

Democratic Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, who gained national attention for staging a 13- hour filibuster to temporarily block an anti-abortion bill, continued to capitalize off that success Thursday with a series of D.C. fundraisers. She delivered remarks to a packed crowd of more than 400 cocktail-sipping attendees at a bar in D.C.’s hip U Street neighborhood.

The happy hour fundraiser was more moderately priced than her $500-per-plate morning fete at Johnny’s Half Shell, which featured a bevy of Democratic senators. Suggested contributions started at $25, and the event was sold out well before the doors even opened.

That bounty will add to the nearly $1 million she raised in the final two weeks of June, when she staged the filibuster, although she has not even announced if she plans to run for statewide office. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. told Politico at the exclusive morning fundraiser that she urged Davis to run for governor.

If she intends to throw her hat into the gubernatorial race Davis has some serious ground to make up since the GOP favorite, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, has already raised over $21 million to Davis’ $1 million.

While her political future is not clear, the one thing that is apparent is that the Texas Democrat can throw a pretty rockin’ party. Camouflage and cowboy hats were visible among the sea of button downs and high heels, and there were plenty of colorful beverages to temper the Washington heat.

After being introduced by Rep. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, a longtime friend, Davis took the floor in front of a full-sized Lone Star flag to cheers from the audience, and promptly laid in to the Texas GOP, who she said had broken the public’s trust in favor of helping their “friends and themselves,” while she personally was not afraid to “tell special interests no.”

One can only hope Greg Abbott throws a similar District shindig. Greg, if anything is in the works, make sure to send an invite this way!

(Photo credits: Peter Olsen Phillips/Sunlight Foundation)


Political stars Wendy Davis and Chris Christie shake the money tree

If there was anyone still questioning whether Newark Mayor Cory Booker has the mass appeal, or connections, to pull off a successful cross-country fundraising campaign, last Tuesday’s FEC campaign filings surely silenced them. Campaign finance data and Party Time records show that the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate (and all-around “rock star” of the progressive movement) has benefited handsomely from his connections to celebrities and high-profile pols.

Michael Bloomberg held a fundraiser for Booker, seen at right, on July 15 in his Manhattan home, and the Brick City mayor visited the DC on July 18 to rake in the dough with the K Street crowd. He will return to the Big Apple Wednesday for a reception in his honor at the home of Ivanka Trump, and still has a soirée with TV mogul Oprah Winfrey left on his docket. Such cross-country trekking must be exhausting, but it has paid dividends.

As reported by the Washington Post, Booker amassed $4.6 million from April to June alone, with 70% of all contributions coming from individuals outside of New Jersey. On top of his domination of the ‘money primary.’ the mayor also enjoys a commanding lead in the polls heading into the Aug. 13 primary. The Oct. 16 special election was called by Gov. Chris Christie, R, to fill the seat of deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Unfortunately not all of our representatives can cash in on celebrity. We at PT send our sympathies to those politicians slogging through the never-ending circuit of bagel breakfasts and Tortilla Coast receptions; keep on keepin’ on you guys.

Here’s what’s happening this week on the political party scene — which this week, features a few other rising political stars:

“I’ll not yield”

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, D, has become a hot commodity following her 12-hour marathon filibuster of a Texas abortion bill, and upcoming fundraising events in Washington could indicate the new star of the pro-choice movement is testing the waters for support for a run for the Texas governor’s office.

She is enjoying a huge spike in contributions following her June demonstration. As reported by the Texas Tribune, Davis raised nearly $1 million in the two weeks immediately following the filibuster. She will be holding two events in the District this Thursday, a breakfast at Capitol Hill eatery Johnny’s Half Shell with a suggested contribution of $500, and a more economical happy hour starting at $25.

The morning fundraiser features a whopping eight U.S. senators, suggesting the state representative could count on some high-profile support should she take the plunge and run for governor in 2014.

Christie shakes the trees

As reported by the Star-Ledger, the New Jersey governor is making an aggressive push to stock his campaign coffers in advance of his bid for re-election this November. While his fundraising has greatly outpaced that of his challenger, New Jersey state Sen. Barbara Buono, the popular Republican shows no signs of slowing down. Does he have another race in mind?

Christie will traverse the country for three different events in this week alone. On Tuesday, he visits the West Coast for a private par-TAY in his honor, after which he will jet set back to Pittsburgh for a fundraiser at the posh Duquesne Club. His week concludes in his home state with a private event in New Vernon, Morris County, but he will be back on the trail August 1 for a shindig in Las Vegas. As reporter Jenna Portnoy points out, this seems to contradict his 2011 affirmation that “[t]here is no reason people should go to Las Vegas in the summer.” Except, of course, cold, hard political cash.

Chris! Don’t you like us? PT has looked high and low but somehow our invitations to all these swell events seem to have been lost in the email. So c’mon partiers: share. We’ll love you more than Christie loves his governor fleece.

Life in the cash lane

While partisan divide has reached near-toxic levels in Congress, you can take comfort in the knowledge that all Americans are still united in their need to rawk.

Indeed, if an evening spent jamming out to the tunes of a 42-year-old Americana band and a Republican senator from South Dakota sounds like your cup o’ tea then head down to the Verizon Center Monday where you can enjoy the festivities with Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. All proceeds will benefit Thune’s Heartland Values PAC.

While Eagles’ concerts may not be as popular among fundraising politicians as Bruce Springsteen’s, members of the American super group can count at least two other members of Congress in their fan club:

In da’ club

On Tuesday Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., will attend a fundraiser at the National Democratic Club townhouse hosted by Matt Brown, Geoff Werth and the US Oncology Network PAC. According to data compiled by Project Vote Smart, the congressman has earned a 100% rating from both the National Breast Cancer Coalition and the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

PT records show that the Oncology Network PAC has a left-of-center tilt in its fundraising efforts, generally hosting such events for Democratic members, although the group has partied alongside Rep. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
Suggested contributions for the party range from $1,000 to $5,000 for PAC guests and $250 for regular attendees.

Inouye family backs Hanabusa

The passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii did not mean the end of his family’s involvement in the the Aloha State’s political scene.

On Wednesday Inouye’s widow and son will host a morning event in support of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, who is running in the 2014 special election to fill Inouye’s term. Sen. Inouye personally recommended that Hanabusa replace him in a letter written before his death, but in a surprise move Gov. Neil Abercrombie chose Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz instead. He and Hanabusa are vying for the Democratic nomination in next year’s special election.

Hanabusa has been collecting cash, and endorsements, for the 2014 showdown. Besides the Inouye family, she can count the powerful pro-choice group EMILY’s List among her backers and it is co-hosting the reception.

While $1,000-$5,000 may sound like a lot for coffee and small talk, just remember that Early Money is Like Yeast. That is to say, it raises dough.

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons)


PT Round-up: checks, shrugs, and rock ‘n’ roll

It was a contentious week both on and off the Hill, my party compatriots. Are we in for another?

While Congress’ upper chamber teeters on the edge of “nuclear” combat, the news that prominent climate change denier and senior Republican senator from Oklahoma, James Inhofe was holding a lunch funder at Google’s Washington headquarters was met with shock, indignation and petitions by various liberal leaners in the green movement.

Elsewhere on the fundraising scene, former DNC Chairman and current Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is showing off some serious star power as he makes his rounds of the party circuit. A review of McAuliffe fundraisers reads like a who’s who of Democratic politics. Notable attendees include: the first lady, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, and Bill Clinton, who, as of July 11, has already appeared at three such events for the would-be governor.

McAuliffe has longstanding ties to the Clinton clan, and in his past life as a Democratic booster he raised around $275 million for the former president. His steadfast allegiance appears to be paying dividends. In addition to lending his name to McAuliffe’s events, Bill contributed $100,000 to McAuliffe’s bid in the perennially purple state.

While the fundraising season has yet to reach its peak, rest assured that this week brings us a plethora of fun new activities to enjoy with our elected officials. Here’s what’s happening:


Start your week off with some time on the links with Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc. The Tuesday golf outing and reception will take place at the scenic Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport, Calif. and will benefit the Republican Governors’ Association. Suggested contributions for entry to the all-day affair range from $2,500 to $25,000. While that may strike some partiers as a tad on the pricey side for a golf outing, I must remind you that the contribution includes breakfast, a “shotgun tournament” AND a post-golf reception.

If gettin’ your schmooze on with a cheesehead governor in Southern California while supporting the RGA sounds like your bag, then this event could be perfect for you. Just remember not to mention anything about unions.

Bam! It’s a PAC!

If partying with the Democrats is more to your liking, be sure to stop by Bistro Bis on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The ever-popular Capitol Hill eatery will serve as the backdrop of a reception and dinner benefiting BAMPAC, the leadership committee of  Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

Apparently when she’s not presiding over committee hearings, fielding Twitter criticism, or doing both simultaneously, the senior senator from the Old Line State delights in la gastronomie française. The July 16 fundraiser will be Mikulski’s 11th Bistro Bis fundraiser in Party Time’s records.

If you’re not enticed by the invitation’s totally rad clip art, perhaps you will be drawn to the restaurant’s delectable beef  bourguignon or sweetbreads (calf and/or sheep innards) served in the bretonne tradition. Suggested contributions for the event range from $1,000-$2,500 to attend just dinner, while a dinner and reception combo will set you back $5,000.

We built this city on rock ‘n’ roll

This year’s PT award for excellence in PAC naming goes to Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn, for his Rock City leadership PAC. Well… it would go to Corker if such an award existed.

You can personally congratulate the Tennessee senator this Wednesday evening, as you enjoy some time with Nashville songwriters at the Recording Industry Association of America’s downtown office.

Corker may be of particular interest to the RIAA thanks to his past role as original co-sponsor of the Performance Rights Act, which would have mandated radio stations pay artists a royalty for playing their tunes on their station — a policy effort close to the hearts of thousands in the Nashville music community. The senator was even honored by the Grammy Association for his work on the matter.

More recently the senator fought against the Pandora-backed Internet Radio Fairness Act, a measure which would slash royalties to musicians from internet radio stations that stream their music.

Suggested contributions to the event range from $1,000-$2,500 for PAC attendees, and $500-$1,000 for individuals.

DeMaio gets big ticket backing

Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio is taking his congressional fundraising efforts to the East Coast, where he will be joined by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

The Georgetown grad made a splash by becoming the first openly gay man elected to the city’s council. Undeterred by his unsuccessful follow-up campaign for the mayor’s office, DeMaio has already held at least three major fundraisers for his effort to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to PT records.

The Log Cabin Republicans endorsed DeMaio, who calls himself a “new generation Republican,” and his invitation emphasizes DeMaio’s crossover appeal to women, independents, youth, and Latinos — all demographics that Republicans are desperate to make inroads on. The seat DeMaio wants is currently held by Scott Peters, a a freshman Democrat. As of March 31, Peters had raised more than $250,000 for his re-election campaign, Federal Election Commission records show.

The going rate for DeMaio’s luncheon with House leadership ranges from $250 for individuals to $5,000 for PACs.

Stormin’ the Book of Mormon

As reported by Politico Influence, Congressman John Shimkus, R-Ill., will bring the party to the Kennedy Center this Thursday, treating his guests to a performance of the Broadway hit, the Book of Mormon.

The play, written in part by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, takes a satirical look at the Church of Latter Day Saints. Such lighthearted fun could be just what the congressman needs to take his mind off his recent health setback.

PT has yet to obtain an invitation to this event (insert sad-face emoticon here). As always, if you come across an invite please remember that sharing is caring.

That’s all we have for this week, keep those invitations coming. Until next time folks!


Season tickets, a presidential roundtable, a Google hangout, and a skeet shoot

Political fundraisers may serve many purposes, my fellow partiers.

While a politician’s chief concern at these soirees is generally stuffing the campaign war chest, parties also provide lawmakers with a chance to announce future campaign plans outside of the harsh glare of journalists’ cameras, as Maine Gov. Paul LePage just did, or to show support for their partisan compatriots.

That’s what New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns PAC are up to as the Big Apple independent and the PAC he’s underwriting continue to throw political muscle behind supporters of stricter gun control legislation. As reported by Buzzfeed, Bloomberg will play host July 22 to a $1,000-and-up benefit for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va..

Manchin, seen at right, has a complicated past with gun laws. The blue dog Democrat received campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association as recently September 2012, but later clashed with the guns group over his role in spearheading Senate efforts to mandate universal background checks. Tossing in with Bloomberg likely means Manchin will be one of the NRA’s chief targets should he run for reelection in 2018.

A New York fundraiser hosted by the billionaire mayor offers beneficiaries a chance to cash in on Bloomberg’s Wall Street connects. Party Time records show that past honorees have included former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.

Now, on to what’s happening this week on the political party scene.

Barrasso’s season pass

Perhaps borrowing a page out of the Redskins’ marketing strategy, some politicians are wagering that fervent supporters will pony up for a season pass.

At least that’s what pols like Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., are hoping.

This Wednesday, Barrasso’s Common Values PAC will throw an Italian wine tasting happy hour at the Rowland Tasting Room in Southeast Washington. Suggested contributions range from $100 to $1,000 for individuals and PACs, but for those who hold a “season pass,” the event is free!

Such tactics offer politicians a means to get large, lump sum contributions from supporters, instead of relying on repeated requests. On the flip side, holders of a “season pass” get increased access to the recipient via ‘free’ access to fundraisers and retreats throughout the year.

This year’s going rate for season tickets to Barrasso events was $5,000 for PACs and $2,500 for individuals, according to a March 12 invitation. We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it’s worth the dough.

Obama Roundtable

When he’s not touring South Africa or navigating the intricacies of healthcare reform, our Commander in Chief enjoys many of the same wholesome activities as any other red-blooded American, namely partying (or ’roundtabling’ in this case).

Any fundraiser featuring the Leader of the Free World is sure to cost some serious dough. But, if you have an extra $32,400 lying around, you could join President Obama and 24 other lucky participants at an undisclosed location this Thursday for a roundtable discussion benefiting the Democratic National Committee.

Similar events in the past have gone for as much as $60,000-$100,000. So, just think of this as the half-off sale.

Google hangout

The tech industry is not known as a hotbed of conservative support.

Indeed, the leftward leanings of Silicon Valley were supposedly a contributing factor to the Dems technological edge in the 2012 presidential campaign. That hasn’t stopped Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., from throwing a lunch fundraiser this Thursday in Google’s Washington office.

Influence Explorer data shows that the tech giant tends to favor Democrats with its campaign contributions and PAC money. However, a quick search through the PT database reveals the illustrious search engine’s Washington headquarters has served as the venue to at least five Republican fundraising events since September of last year.

Google’s political action committee, Google NetPAC, has also served as host for at least four events benefiting Republican lawmakers.

If you have any other invitations to political fundraisers by Google, please share with us here (we also accept fundraisers involving Bing, if that’s more to your taste).

Stick to your guns

Finally, if you need to blow off a little steam this Friday, grab your 12 gauge and join Idaho Sen. Jim Risch for a morning of skeet shooting and grub at the Prince George’s County Trap & Skeet Center in Maryland.

Sen. Risch has the distinction of holding an A+ grade from the National Rifle Association and for $500-$1,000 for an individual attendee or $1,000-$2,500 for a PAC, you can see for yourself how good of a shot he is.

Bucking the stereotype that all such fundraisers are elegant affairs held at upmarket townhouses and glitzy hotels, the Maryland shooting range has been an exceedingly popular spot for such events over the past several years.

That’s all for this week, folks. As always, if you come across an invitation to a political fundraiser, share the love and send it this way.


Boehner travels to the Gem State, Harris parties with pharma pals, and Sanchez rocks out with the Rolling Stones

Good morning partiers! Who knows what this busy pre-recess week in Washington will bring, given the surprises of the last? The 2013 iteration of the farm bill was defeated Thursday, with many Democrats revoking their support over cuts to food stamps. As reported by Sunlight, this failure comes in spite of strong backing by the agricultural powers that be.

The farm bill has long been one of the few policy matters that consistently garners strong bipartisan support, and the Republican leadership’s difficulties securing the necessary votes (there were 62 Republican defectors) has added some fuel to the fire of growing conservative discontent with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

On the bright side, being House speaker does come with certain advantages, including lots of parties, and trips to places like Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. As reported by the Coeur d’Alene Press, Speaker John Boehner made the trip out to the Gem State Friday on behalf of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and the Republican National Committee. Coeur d’Alene is part of Idaho’s First District that boasts part of Boise, breathtaking views, and Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, who interestingly will not be in attendance. The congressman is known as a bit of a ‘maverick’ in the GOP and was one of the few Republican House Members to not vote for Boehner as speaker. Labrador’s office maintains that he received an invite, but was simply too busy to attend.

Thus far, PT has been unable to track down an invitation, but if you find yourself in possession an invite, send it this way.

Now on to what’s happening this week.

NYC mayoral field grows; partying doesn’t stop

Back East, the  NYC mayoral race is warming up, and the pool of candidates continues to grow. Tech guru and political independent Jack Hidary is the latest to dive in. He hosted an explicitly non-fundraising meet and greet on Thursday in San Francisco (which is practically a suburb of the Big Apple). Given Hidary’s background as a co-founder of Dice he presumably used this event to gauge the interest for his candidacy among his tech industry connects.

In other news regarding the City that Never Sleeps, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., is pressing on in his own quest for the mayor’s office. This Thursday, Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, the former aide to Hillary Clinton, will attend a “Women for Anthony” cocktail party at the home of Democratic activist and TEDx speaker Jill Iscol. Weiner will have to dig himself out of a hole to win the female demographic, as a Quinnipiac University Poll showed a slim majority of New York women were against a Weiner comeback. The recent hubbub about his response to a voter’s lesbian slur may not help his case.

Ain’t no party like a pharmaceutical industry party

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., will attend a rooftop terrace reception in his honor this Tuesday. The reception is to be hosted by Chris Frech and Allen Shofe who represent pharmaceutical company Emergent BioSolutions. Health professionals appear to be big fans of Harris, as Influence Explorer shows that contributors from this industry (which includes pharmaceuticals) has been Harris’ largest contributor of campaign cash since 2007.

If you want to join the festivities, the event is bargain-priced at only $500 for an individual , or $1,500 or $2,500 contributions for a PAC. The party will be held at the law offices of Davis & Harman LLP, which appears to be a beacon of bipartisanship in our increasingly polarized Capitol.

Gimme’ shelter

If you are bored with the endless finger food and clinking glasses of normal political fundraisers, why not join Rep. Linda Sanchez at the Verizon Center this Monday to catch the still-rocking Rolling Stones in all of their bluesy brilliance. A ticket to this once-in-a lifetime experience will cost you a $2,500 donation to the Committee to Re-Elect Linda Sanchez, which is unlikely to be much more than a normal ticket to a Rolling Stones concert.

If you find yourself tied up in a previous engagement fear not, for Sanchez appears to have a penchant for unique fundraisers (and terrible puns), including a spooky Halloween party, a night of bowling, and a “Cuatro de Mayo” party for those who just could not wait for the fifth.

Early Independence Day

Speaking of those who can’t wait for holidays, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, along with its “friends on the hill” is holding its Independence Day BBQ bash this Wednesday, June 26. There is no word yet as to whether the ribs will be of the Texan or Carolinian tradition, but if you are willing to roll the dice it will cost you a cool $1,000 to attend as a “friend” of the Committee. Bringing in $2,000 for the DSCC will earn you the haughty title of “host.”

Marine Manufacturers’ PAC stays busy

As Party Time’s records show, the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Boat PAC has a full plate this summer. The NMMAB PAC will host at least five different politicians’ fundraisers from June through July, including an afternoon cruise with Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) this Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these pols hail from coastal states, though Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) somehow managed to secure a boat trip fundraiser in his honor as well.

The Marine Manufacturers may want to branch out in their event planning however, as their parties seem to always follow a consistent theme.

That’s it for this week in the political party scene. As always, at PT we depend on the kindness of strangers (and friends!) so if you come across any invites to political pahr-TAYs, please send them this way.

2012 Elections 2012 Presidential Race venues of interest • POSTED - 03.29.12 BY Breanna Edwards

Obama campaign woos France-loving elites tonight

If conservatives like to charge that liberals are chardonnay-sipping, France-loving elites, they’ve got some extra ammo today, with the Obama campaign turning directly to Francophiles for campaign cash.  The Obama Victory Fund is holding a Parisian cocktail reception in a wealthy Left Bank neighborhood this evening, at the famous “Glass House,” which has been called the best house in Paris.

Paris Professionals for Obama is putting on the event, which features David Simas, the campaign’s director of opinion research, and asks supporters for $500 or $1,500.

As a rule, donors to U.S. election campaigns must be U.S. citizens or green card holders, although that does not prohibit politicians from asking for donations all around the globe from citizens abroad. Ex-pats are asked to send a copy of their passport if they have a foreign address and wish to contribute.

This isn’t the first fundraiser the Obama campaign has had abroad. Last month, Americans were able to tap into their Swiss bank accounts for a chance to have cocktails and a light supper with former White House counsel (and now the campaign’s general counsel) Bob Bauer in Geneva, Switzerland. This event brought in contributions from guests ranging between $100 and $35,800–the federal limit for contributions to a campaign and party committee.

The president was not scheduled to personally attend either event.

Lindsay Young contributed reporting.

Congressional Getaways venues of interest • POSTED - 11.08.11 BY La Toya Gratten

Where will politicians fundraise during an NBA Lockout?

Since the cancellation of the first two weeks of the NBA season—then another two weeks—many have expressed their anger and disappointment at the league. If a deal is not reached by tomorrow, the deadline imposed by the NBA for the players’ union to accept its offer, much of the season may be lost.

There is one group of fans who may have cause for frustration beyond not seeing their favorite teams play. That would be members of Congress, who use NBA games as a opportunity to fundraise for their campaigns.

David Stern announcing NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles
NBA Commissioner David Stern

Going back to 2008, there have been at least 45 fundraisers at NBA games, all but four of which were held at the Verizon Center, home to the Washington Wizards, according to an analysis of Party Time records. Right now, perhaps because of the lockout, there are no upcoming NBA fundraisers on the schedule. Rep. Albio Sires, D-N.J., hosted the most recent one: a Boston Celtics versus Wizards game in April. (Since Party Time invitations come from lobbyist sources, as opposed to official reports, there could be events scheduled that are not in the database.)

Members of Congress sometimes hold these swanky events back in their home states. Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., held one at the Prudential Center, home to the New Jersey Nets, in April. Just in case donors weren’t sure, the invitation clarified that “Food & Beverages will be served in Luxury Box.” Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., included a Phoenix Suns game in his “All Sports Weekend” fundraiser back in March.

Fundraising at NBA games, as with other sporting events, is a very good way for lawmakers to bring in thousands of dollars per supporter. The ticket prices on invitations ranged from $500 for an individual ticket to $5,000 for a PAC to be named a ‘host.’ In federal reports, there is no way to track how much a particular politician rakes in at a specific game–contributions reported later to the Federal Election Commission do not indicate where the money was raised.

What can politicians do if a deal is not reached? There’s always college hoops. Plenty of fundraisers—at least 26—have been centered around the NCAA Tournament, known as March Madness, in March and early April, according to an analysis of Party Time files. These events include both watch parties held at bars and luxury suites at the games. Eleven such events were held earlier this year alone, when part of the tournament was played at the Verizon Center. Another nine congressional fundraisers have been scheduled at Georgetown Hoyas games, also played at the Verizon Center, over the years. Former Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., whose old upstate New York district encompasses fierce Georgetown rival Syracuse University, scheduled fundraisers in 2009 and 2010 when the Orange came to the District.

Hockey is also an option. So far this season, three congressmen (Sander Levin, D-Mich., Sires, and Mike Quigley, D-Ill.) have booked fundraisers to watch the Washington Capitals play. The invitation to Quigley’s event, scheduled for Nov. 29, features a photo of the congressman hoisting the Stanley Cup when his favorite team, the Chicago Blackhawks, won in 2010. This will be the fourth consecutive season that the congressman is hosting a hockey moneymaker at the Verizon Center.

It is also still NFL season and lawmakers have planned at least three fundraisers at football games this year. Rep. John Larson, D-Conn. will be having a leadership PAC fundraiser at FedEx Field on Dec. 11 when the Washington Redskins take on the New England Patriots. On August 25, Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., hosted one at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore for a preseason matchup between the Ravens and Redskins. On Oct. 9, Tom Rooney, D-Fla. had a fundraiser at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh featuring the Steelers and Tennessee Titans. Politicians have even held tailgating fundraisers.

In the spring and summer, baseball has also been a popular option for legislators’ fundraisers. Two such events stand out. In 2009, the Leadership PAC for Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa,. hosted an exclusive event at the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training complex, including a brunch with players and broadcasters and a private tour with the team owner (tickets could be had for $2,500 or $5,000). In 2008, James McGovern, D-Mass., offered a tour of Fenway Park to go along with a Boston Red Sox game. Tickets went for $5,000 and $2500 for PACs and $2,300 for individuals.

Finally, there’s always tennis, at least for one lawmaker. Congressman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, has used the US Open in Queens, N.Y. to hold events each of the past two summers, attempting to raise $2,500-per-head for his leadership PAC.

If the NBA season ends up being canceled altogether, members of Congress will be sure to find other sporting events—or other attractive forms of entertainment—to raise money.

venues of interest • POSTED - 03.16.11 BY Keenan Steiner

Congressmen scoring at the bank during March Madness

At least five congressmen do not need to fill out a bracket in an office pool to make money off the N.C.A.A. tournament.

A spot in a luxury suite to watch the first two rounds of the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament in the nation’s capital can cost as much as $1,000, and lawmakers’ re-election campaigns are not letting such a hot ticket go to waste.

The lawmakers are using the suites to hold fundraisers at the Verizon Center on Thursday and Saturday, where part of the tournament is taking place. Although the members’ staff have not yet returned phone calls asking how the tickets were purchased, buying a suite for all three sessions would cost either $18,000 or $20,000, according to the Verizon Center ticket office. The more expensive suites fit 24 spectators while the others allow for 18.

According to the two invites collected by Party Time, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., appears to be setting up shop for all three game sessions (there are two sessions on Thursday) and is charging PACs $1,000 to attend each.

Two other congressmen will likely be rooting for their home state schools, with the University of Connecticut Huskies and University of Missouri Tigers both playing games in Washington, D.C. House Democratic Caucus chairman John Larson, D-Conn., is charging $5,000 per ticket for Saturday’s matchup while Russ Carnahan, D-Mo., is asking for $2,500 for Thursday’s games.

To obtain the suites, Larson and Carnahan’s campaigns may have had to shell out considerably less than Ruppersberger’s. Purchasing the suite for solely Thursday’s night session would cost $7,500, according to the Verizon Center ticket office.

Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, is another congressman using March Madness to stuff his campaign account. Tickets are going for between $1,500 and $5,000 to watch the Thursday afternoon games with him, according to the invitation. On Saturday, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., has asked donors to join him for the games, and the suggested contribution is $2,500.

It is unclear whether the congressmen will be attending the events, as their staff have not yet returned phone calls.


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.