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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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2016 elections • POSTED - 02.10.16 BY Louis Serino

Check out the brand new Party Time podcast!

Partiers, we know you’re some of the coolest people on the political scene — you always know where the most exclusive fundraisers are, after all. That’s why we wanted to share an exclusive look at our very first Party Time Podcast with you!

Each show, Sunlight’s insiders will highlight the best fundraisers for those who have money to burn, analyze the latest campaign finance stories and keep you updated on Election 2016 — all with that signature Party Time wit. In this edition, we analyze the horse race among 2016 presidential candidates, find out why Chelsea Clinton’s SoulCycle fundraiser didn’t go quite as planned and more.

Because this is our premier show, die-hard partiers, we’re looking for your feedback on how to make it better. Which parts rocked the house? Which parts felt like a wet blanket? What did you want to hear that we didn’t cover? Have a listen, and tell us what you think! Send us your comments here, or tweet at @SFPartyTime.

And, in case you missed it, we analyzed Jeb and Hillary’s favorite places to break bread with big donors across America. Check out our interactive maps that visualize just how far these candidates go to raise some serious campaign cash.


Wild Wednesday of fundraising feat. Bon Jovi, Billie Jean King, the Washington Capitals and more

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!

2016 elections 2016 presidential PartyTimeData Partytime Spending • POSTED - 12.16.15 BY Drew Doggett

The Top Holiday Gifts from 2016 Presidential Candidates

While Christmas is just around the corner, we know many of you are making the mad dash for last minute gifts. For the political junkie in every family, or that friend who needs an extra coffee cup, Political Party Time has you covered.

1: Rand Paul Fake Hard Drive

Probably your next paperweight, “Hillary’s Hard Drive with Wiping Cloth” promises a nonworking product with multiple wiping cloths. Currently on sale for only $59.95.

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2: Jeb Bush Guacamole Bowl

Are you tired of those boring guac bowls? Do you want to support your favorite GOP candidate without having his pesky name on the item? Look no further than Jeb!’s latest Guaca Bowl. Only $75.


3: Marco Rubio Airfare

Flights are expensive! Marco has talked at length about his financial struggles early on in his career, so now is your chance to sponsor his trip across the country to one of his big fundraisers. Only $500.

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4: Donald Trump Signature Hat

What began as a Reagan slogan, Trump’s Make America Great Again trucker hat has morphed into a signature totem and one of his biggest campaign expenditures. Only $25.


5: Bernie Sanders Schlep Bag
You know a loved one who carries around too much baggage. Help them out with this tote bag — guaranteed to help schlep around all their belongings/liberal agenda. Only $27.

6: Ted Cruz Coloring Book

He may want you to vote red come November 2016, but for now you can color him any way you’d like with his personal coloring book. Only $10.

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7: Hillary Clinton Spatula

Help your grillmaster brand your burgers a big ‘H’ with the Grillary Clinton Spatula. Only $18.


8: Bernie Sanders Coffee Mug

Bernie’s coffee mug offers a fair warning, reading, “Caution! Contents May Cause a Serious Bern.” Only $15.


9: Marco Rubio Coffee Mug

“There are definitely not enough coffee mugs with puns,” said many campaign managers (at least we assume). If your coffee mug is missing a cheesy pun, look no further than the “Freedom of Espresso” mug from Marco Rubio. Only $25.

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10: Ted Cruz Mugshot Poster

While we don’t know who the mystery body in the picture belongs to, this “Blacklisted and Loving It” poster shows off a different side of the Texas senator – one that you can’t unsee. Only $55.

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11: Hillary Clinton Pillow

She’s winning the wordplay with this throw pillow that reads “A Woman’s Place is in The White House,” and the website describes the pillow as “The perfect touch for any home, whether it’s 1600 Pennsylvania Ave or simply Pennsylvania.” Only $55.


12: Rand Paul Liberty Bear

Rand wants you to enjoy the right to bear arms — and the right for your bear to blare iTunes music. The “Liberty Bear” features a built-in Bluetooth stereo and the head even moves when it speaks! Only $50.

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And then there were 3: The latest fundraising activity from 2016 Democratic hopefuls

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)

2016 elections 2016 presidential • POSTED - 11.03.15 BY Drew Doggett

New stash of GOP invites reveals cross-country fundraising for 2016 hopefuls

As candidates ride their respective waves from last week’s CNBC GOP debate, Political Party Time is keeping track of the money flowing into their campaign coffers. Thanks to some shoe leather and some good sources, the Party Time team obtained a trove of fundraisers for some of the top GOP presidential candidates.

Next week, Marco Rubio will travel to Wisconsin for a luncheon (at one of his favorite Milwaukee restaurants, the Milwaukee Athletic Club), then to his home state of Florida for a star-studded reception. For the latter, you can enter the “Leadership Circle” for a cool $27,000.

Jeb Bush has been racking up frequent flyer miles as well, traveling across the country for various soirees. He recently spoke in the District alongside his brother, former President George W. Bush, and celebrated a family affair in Houston with his parents, former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush). After a reception in Philadelphia, Jeb will travel down south to Memphis, Atlanta and the Lone Star state for fundraising events.

In December, Jeb will head to rival Chris Christie’s home turf, the Jersey Shore, for a fundraiser alongside N.J. state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, R. But the special guest for the evening? None other than Woody Johnson, owner of the vaunted New York Jets. Johnson isn’t new to the partying world either — over the past few years, he’s donated thousands to GOP causes and hosted several fundraisers for the likes of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the RNC.

Also unearthed in this trove was an abundance of fundraisers for Ben Carson. His events, while located across the country, are low-key, featuring breakfasts, intimate receptions and courting plenty of country clubs.

For an update on the Democratic field check back on the blog later this week, or check all the invites on Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley on Party Time now.

As the 2016 campaign rolls on, we’ll strive to build the most comprehensive calendar of the presidential fundraising circuit. Please share any invitations you find by anonymously uploading or emailing them to us here.

(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)

2016 presidential • POSTED - 08.12.15 BY Nicko Margolies

Summer of Jeb: 36 newly uncovered fundraisers show big 2016 money race

A selection of fundraising invitations collected by Political Party Time for the 2016 presidential campaign of former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., over the course of the 2015 summer.

Political Party Time just got our hands on a stash of 36 summer fundraisers for former Gov. Jeb Bush, making it the most comprehensive, public place to research how his campaign is soliciting donations from wealthy donors. The events, criss-crossing the country from Lake Tahoe to Nantucket to Beverly Hills, document how the Bush campaign is ramping up fundraising as the 2016 elections approach.

The special events include breakfast, coffee, lunch, brunch, cocktail and evening receptions with the candidate, where attendance costs range from giving $75 to raising $54,000. Among the dozens of events are a few that monetize access to his wife, Columba, and son, Jeb Bush Jr. They include an event billed as an “Off the Clock” Happy Hour with Jeb Bush Jr. and a reception with Columba Bush at the private residence of Frank Mermoud and Ned Shannon in northwest Washington D.C.

Presidential campaigns are increasing their fundraising as they cater events to high-level donors to max out contributions and bundle money from their wealthy networks. These special events, not shared with the general public until now, show how large checks grant intimate access to Jeb Bush. The perks for an event on August 20 include enjoying “a sunset cocktail reception with Jeb in Nantucket” for $2,700 — and if you raise $27,000, you get a photo reception and an “Exclusive conference call with Jeb and the Nantucket Co-Chair Committee.”

Other perks for big donors include membership in regional campaign committees such as this Austin event, where those who raise $15,000 get to join the “Texas Leadership Committee” and those who raise $54,000 for this Sea Ranch Lakes event get to join the “Florida Leadership Committee.” Other perks include preferred seating or recognition at the events, as this Virginia Beach fundraiser touts.

Many events include a photo opportunity with Jeb Bush, but in this East Hampton fundraiser with Jeb Bush Jr., the top tier of donors get a “Photo Opportunity with Suzanne & Woody Johnson,” who are hosting the event. Woody Johnson serves as Bush’s National Finance Chairman and owns the New York Jets.

Eight of the newly uncovered events include tickets to Jeb’s “Policy Speech on Tuesday, August 11th at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA” where he criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq and terrorism. The perk of tickets to that event was only offered to the highest tiers of bundlers/donors at each fundraiser, often with requirements to raise at least $27,000.

These newly exposed fundraisers also reveal how the Bush campaign changes their messaging when communicating with big donors rather than the general public. When Jeb Bush announced his presidential run, he included a video of a graffiti artist unveiling the campaign’s slogan, “#AllInForJeb.” His campaign website features the phrase front and center with a sign up form at the bottom saying “#AllInForJeb Sign up to volunteer if you’re All In For Jeb.” However, in invitations to big money fundraisers, the slogan is used for donors who give $2,700, the maximum financial contribution an individual may give to a federal candidate’s committee per election. This messaging can be seen in the “#AllInForJeb Supporter” title for donors who max out in fundraisers such as this Sept. 9 event in Boston, Mass or this Aug. 29 event in Wilmington, N.C.

As the 2016 campaign rolls on, Political Party Time will continue to document and expose the fundraising circuit of presidential candidates. Please share any invitations you come across by uploading or emailing them to us. Thanks!

2016 presidential • POSTED - 07.07.15 BY Nicko Margolies

Hillary Clinton’s guide to throwing a house party

A sample invitation to a House Party for Hillary Clinton filled with fake data.

Hillary Clinton may be raising more than half a million dollars a day, but in a guide written by her campaign intended for grassroots event hosts the emphasis is on the collection of data about attendees. The document, obtained by the Sunlight Foundation’s Political Party Time and embedded below, tells hosts that sharing the sign-up data of the guests is “the single most important thing you can do for the campaign and for Hillary.”

The “House Party Host Guide” runs through the logistical process, legal hurdles and effective tactics for an event to transform potential voters into active campaign participants and donors. There is extensive sample language for every correspondence and design templates, like the invitation seen above to the right, to ensure grassroots communications match the tone of the general campaign.

The campaign encourages hosts in the guide to “Enter your information in at” That link goes to a form to enter attendees and offers an alternative if that is too burdensome: “Remember, if you don’t want to enter folks 1 by 1, you can email your guest list to”

While the guide does tell hosts, “If it makes sense for your party, feel free to ask for donations,” the downplay of money is markedly different than the dozens of large donor fundraising invitations collected by Political Party Time. An invitation to a series of “Conversations with Hillary” events in early June includes the dollar amount to attend (up to $2,700) and an event on July 2 requires a donation and RSVP to get the address.

Read the entire guide below, and help us follow the 2016 money by anonymously uploading any invitation you receive here.

House Party Host Guide

2016 elections Partytime • POSTED - 06.23.15 BY Idrees Kahloon

Candidates see green in Orange County

Surfers and swimmers standing on beach near bright blue water.

It’s a busy week in Orange County, Calif., where three Republican presidential candidates will be visiting to fundraise for a wide-open primary. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina are making the rounds at the multimillion-dollar homes and swank hotels in the conservative-leaning county.

Walker’s event, to be held tonight at the glitzy Newport Beach Balboa Bay Resort, asks couples for up to $2,500 to attend his VIP reception and $10,000 to be on the host committee. Walker, who has not yet announced his candidacy for president, is fundraising for his newly formed “testing the waters” exploratory committee. He would have full control over the money raised if he announces his candidacy for president, as is widely expected.

Fiorina will attend a reception tomorrow at a home in Laguna Beach worth an estimated $13 million, where her campaign will charge $2,700 per person to attend a private dinner with her, the maximum allowable contribution to a candidate’s committee under federal law.

Rubio’s fundraising schedule includes a dinner in Irvine on June 30, at the home of David and Michelle Horowitz. Guests must donate $2,700 to attend, while a couple must raise an additional $5,400 from other donors to earn a coveted spot on the host committee.

Rubio isn’t the only Republican contender courting the Horowitzes’ political network, however. The prominent Republican donors and private equity fund owners also played host to Fiorina and Walker’s Orange County fundraisers. According to the events’ invitations, a spot on the host committees for those three events could have cost the couple at least $23,500 — in just one week.

Of course, it’s not just Republicans hitting the fundraising circuit this week. Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender, is in St. Louis today for a fundraiser with the Busch brewing family, closed to the public and the media. She has another fundraiser scheduled in Chicago later in the day.

2016 elections • POSTED - 06.11.15 BY Idrees Kahloon

Clyburn’s cable conundrum

Here at Political Party Time, we depend on a network of reliable, anonymous sources to keep us (and you!) informed about where and with whom our elected officials are spending their time.

We got a notification about an event — the “Annual Tech, Telecom & Cable Dinner” — featuring Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., that’s being held Thursday. Curiously, the location was redacted, only to be revealed upon RSVP. To attend, one has to put up at least $1,500 to the Friends of Jim Clyburn committee. The suggested contribution for host status is $5,000.

Clyburn has been in Congress since 1993, and is the third-ranking Democrat in the House behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Normally, this wouldn’t raise many eyebrows — members of Congress throw these events all the time, hosting barbecues, baseball games and even parties at Taylor Swift concerts.

But Clyburn’s daughter, Mignon L. Clyburn, is commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the regulator in charge of the cable and telecom industries. Last August, Comcast and Time Warner Cable withdrew a collective $132,000 they had pledged to sponsor the Walter Kaitz Foundation Dinner, which was to award her with the foundation’s diversity advocate award. At the time, the FCC was reviewing the giant merger of the two companies to determine if it was in the public’s interest.

Comcast’s attempted takeover of Time Warner collapsed in April after it was reported that the Department of Justice was preparing to file an antitrust suit to halt the merger.

Of course, Commissioner Clyburn will still be responsible for regulating the nation’s cable industry — and contributions to her father from the very industry she’s to regulate might have a bearing on those decisions.

When we called Clyburn’s office, we were directed to a discreet Democratic fundraising firm with close ties to his office. It refused to divulge the location of the dinner.

Uncategorized • POSTED - 06.08.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Hillary Clinton does 5 more fundraisers, Sen. Rand Paul parties in Baltimore and California, Sen. Marco Rubio collects cash with Oracle founder Larry Ellison, and Sen. Lindsey Graham raises money for his leadership PAC

Politicians continue to crisscross the country for campaign cash this week, and Party Time is the only place with all of the details. We’ve got our finger on the pulse of the who, what, where and when of political fundraising from sea to shining sea.

As you look at what’s cracking on the party circuit this week, what are we missing, dear friends? If you’ve got a fundraiser invite or know of an event in the works, you know what to do: Share with Party Time! Upload invites right here, or you can email us whatever you’ve got.

Quick housekeeping note: Although political partying is the only kind of partying that never truly stops, PT is going to take a bit of a summer break. We will continue to collect invitations – so keep them coming! – but our blog won’t be updated as regularly.

With that out of the way, let’s take a quick look at your week in fundraising!

Hillary Clinton continues her breakneck pace of fundraising this week with five events in three days. The Democratic presidential candidate starts on Monday in the D.C. suburb of Bethesda with a fundraiser at the home of Susan Ness, the former head of the Federal Communications Commission. On Tuesday, Clinton parties at a $2,700-per-person D.C. funder, and then heads north on Wednesday for a trio of events in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She glad-hands donors in Boston and in its swanky suburb of Chestnut Hill before traveling to East Greenwich for a fundraiser hosted by long-time Clinton buddies Mark Weiner and Joe Paolino.

– On the heels of Sen. Rand Paul’s almost-filibuster of the PATRIOT Act and news that his presidential committee hasn’t yet snagged a deep-pocketed benefactor, the Kentucky Republican hits the road for a string of fundraiser appearances. On Tuesday evening, Paul delivers the keynote at the Baltimore County Republican Party’s Lincoln/Reagan Dinner, where tickets start at $100. And on Friday, he makes his way west to California, where he will headline the Republican Party of Orange County’s 16th Annual Flag Day Salute. But Paul isn’t just partying for others: On June 7, he had a fundraiser up in Massachusetts for his own campaign coffers.

– Speaking of Sen. Rand Paul and well-heeled donors, many eagle-eyed politicos thought he had the support of tech industry giant Larry Ellison, since the senator headlined a GOP fundraiser last October at the billionaire’s Bay Area home. But this week, Ellison shows he’s got his eye – and checkbook – trained on a different candidate. On Tuesday, Ellison hosts a four-figure fundraiser for presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

– Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced he is running for president and then quickly threw a fundraiser for that race. Come Wednesday, Graham will have another party, but his one is for his Senate leadership PAC, the Fund for America’s Future. Clearly this guy just loves a good party (and the campaign cash it brings)!

And that’s a wrap on your week in political parties! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!


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.