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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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PT Round-up: Alison Lundergan Grimes fundraises in D.C., Michael Bloomberg hosts Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, and Dems line up for Hillary Clinton

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.

Manhattan money
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.

What a week party people – and those were just some of the highlights! But if you know we’re missing something, feel free to email us or upload those invites right here. Until next week, party on!

Photo courtesy Flickr

Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.27.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Joe Biden hits the fundraising trail, Rick Perry parties in Iowa, and Chris Christie heads to New Mexico, Tennessee

Hey, party people, hey! We hope you are enjoying this long weekend of sunshine, BBQs and (hopefully) red, white and blue-themed rooftop get-togethers. Your hard-working legislators are taking a three-day weekend, too, stepping away from Capitol Hill and, with one exception, even holding off on political partying. But the Memorial Day BBQ that Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., had a at her downtown Santa Barbara headquarters was a private morale-booster for hard-working volunteers, not a fundraiser, a Capps’ campaign staffer told PT.

As for the rest of this week, our social calendar revs up with some big-name headliners partying for friends in high places. We’ve got you covered with this week’s partying particulars in our roundup below.

But what have we missed, PT faithful? Let us know what you’ve heard about by emailing us or uploading invites here. We want to know all of the juicy details, so if you’ve got pictures from an event or newspaper clippings with rumors of an upcoming party, we want it! Send whatever you’ve got right here.

Joe goes a-fundraising
He’s not the Partier-in-Chief, but he comes in at a close second. While the media have a grand old time with President Barack Obama’s hectic fundraising schedule, Vice President Joe Biden has been doing quite a bit of partying himself. Party Time records show that Obama has appeared at nine fundraisers so far this month, while Biden has checked in at seven parties.

The second-in-command wraps up his busy May with two more fundraisers this week. On Tuesday, Biden heads to Denver for a reception for Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and the state’s Democratic Party. Then, on Wednesday, the VP makes his way farther west to San Francisco for a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Billionaire Dem donor and climate change activist Tom Steyer will host the DNC event at his Pacific Heights brownstone.

It’s an interesting one-two punch for the people involved in the two events. Late last week, Steyer announced his super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, would spend $100 million on seven Senate and gubernatorial races in 2014 – and that he would throw in $50 million from his own wallet to get things started. One of those seven highlighted races just happens to be the tight contest between Udall, who opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, and Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who is for it. The Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity recently put out an ad that high-fived Gardner for supporting Keystone.

This week’s parties may not technically be connected, but there sure is a common theme.

Rick Perry parties in a primary state
Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, has come a long way from his painful-to-watch-but-you-just-can’t-look-away “oops” moment during the 2012 Republican presidential primary campaign. He’s got glasses! He killed it at the Conservative Political Action Conference! He’s touting job growth in Texas in out-of-state TV commercials!

Does this all amount to a superficial, licking-his-wounds makeover? Or is something more at play here? A few weeks ago, Perry went on “Meet the Press” and talked about how “America is a place that believes in second chances.” Hmmmm. When you combine comments like that with his political partying schedule, it’s hard not to see another presidential run in his future.

And it only continues this week. On Thursday, Perry is slated to attend not one, not two, but three fundraisers in Iowa for Gov. Terry Branstad. The Hawkeye State not only is a key early  battleground for any politician with presidential aspirations, it’s also the site of Perry’s fifth-place finish in the 2012 caucuses.

Christie shakes the money tree for fellow guvs
Gov. Chris Christie continues his fundraising blitz for the Republican Governors Association. Last week, the New Jersey governor went to the Sunshine State to raise funds for Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and the RGA, and this week, Christie has two more parties on the books.

First stop: New Mexico, for a fundraiser on Thursday for Gov. Susana Martinez. It’s the second time in recent weeks that Martinez has gotten a big-name attendee at a fundraiser for her reelection campaign – on May 21, a ton of GOPers and lobbyists feted the New Mexico governor during a D.C. area reception.

Next on Christie’s calendar is a pair of events in Tennessee. Christie headlines a fundraiser for Gov. Bill Haslam, R-Tenn., and then delivers the keynote at the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner. Tickets to the dinner go for $250, but for $1,000, you could get two tickets and a commemorative photo. Math may not be our strong suit, but somehow that just doesn’t sound like a good deal.

E. Warren in Oregon for buddy Jeff Merkley
Oregon is heating up. Last week, voters came out for their state’s primary, picking Portland pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby as the Republican candidate to go up against Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley in the fall. The Oregonian reported that the two candidates wasted no time pivoting to the general election, trading barbs and slinging mud the day after the primary.

This Wednesday, Merkley gears up with a fundraiser with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. The $100-per-person event at Portland’s Hilton is the latest example of the progressive lovefest between Merkley and Warren: Last month, during a book tour stop to promote her latest tome, “A Fighting Chance,” Warren name-checked Merkley as a “particularly helpful” Senate colleague.

And that’s your week in parties, friends! What have we missed, and what do you want to share? Let us know by emailing us or uploading invites right here.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.19.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Obama continues fundraising frenzy, Republicans rally for Gov. Susana Martinez, and Jeb Bush parties with Iowa Gov. Branstad

Happy Monday, party people! It’s another busy week on the political fundraiser circuit, with big-ticket shindigs happening across the country. Some non-D.C. highlights? Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is partying with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday at a huge convention center in Greenville. And Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes throws a funder in Ohio with Democratic operative James Carville a few days after her state’s Republican candidates duke it out in their primary.

Back in D.C., at the Convention Center on Wednesday evening, the Aces and Angels Foundation hosts the always-bipartisan Congressional Poker Classic, where members of Congress, lobbying shops and other organizations will gather for a night of cards. Curious what California Rep. Darrell Issa’s poker face looks like? Now’s your chance!

Have we missed anything, partying fiends? If you’ve heard of something good going on, you know what to do – email us whatever you’ve got, or upload official invites here. We want it all: Send us the goods on state-level races and federal contests, and remember that we keep our sources completely confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.

And now, for your week in parties!

President Obama, aka the Energizer Fundraising Bunny
The Partier-in-Chief just can’t help himself. In the last few weeks, President Barack Obama has been hitting the partying scene hard, fundraising at seven different stops in California and New York (where he suggested that some of his devotees might move to North Dakota) for the Democrats’ House and Senate campaign committees. And Obama’s hectic schedule continues this week, with two more pricey outings.

On Monday, Obama – along with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y. – makes his way to Potomac for an “intimate dinner.” Tickets start at $10,000 per person and climb to $32,400 per couple for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event. Party Time data show that the dinner’s hosts, Lora and Jeff Drezner, threw a fundraiser for Van Hollen in 2011.

Obama will then jet off to his hometown of Chicago on Thursday for a reception and dinner benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That group’s chair, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, will be on hand to help chat up donors, as will Illinois’ own Sen. Dick Durbin.

It’s another high-dollar event, with tickets to the reception starting at $1,000 and going up to $15,000. The 5 p.m. reception is at the home of energy industry guru Michael Polsky and his wife, Tanya. Dinner, at the home of Newsweb Corporation owner and big-time liberal donor Fred Eychaner, goes for a cool $35,000 per couple.

Ring my bell
The last few weeks of political headlines have had a bit of a throwback theme to them – Monica Lewinsky wrote a first-person account of her affair with President Bill Clinton, and Marjorie Margolies is ramping up her campaign for the House seat she held in the ’90s.

Jeff Bell continues the trend, if pushing back the nostalgia a few more years to the late ’70s, when he last ran for Senate in New Jersey. The Republican is making another go at Capitol Hill, challenging Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., some 36 years after his first – and unsuccessful – run in the Garden State.

In February, Bell – a Republican political consultant who lives in Virginia – rented a house in New Jersey and announced he would run against Booker this year. And we all know what that means: It’s time for a party! PT records show Monday evening’s funder in Manhattan is Bell’s first of this campaign.

Booker is a fundraising powerhouse, with the likes of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck queuing up to throw him parties. But Bell’s got connections, too; CNBC personality Larry Kudlow is listed as a “special guest” on the invite to Monday’s event. Hosts Sean Fieler, Robert P. George and William Mumma are all big names on the conservative Christian scene: Fieler started American Principles Fund, which encourages Republican candidates to talk about opposition to abortion and gay marriage; the New York Times called George the “country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker”; and Mumma heads up the Becket Fund, a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases.

Money for Martinez
Republicans are rallying on Wednesday evening at a fundraiser for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. An overflowing invite to the event boasts a boatload of governors, senators, representatives … and lobbyists.

The reception is at the Chevy Chase home of American Beverage Association CEO Susan Neely. Neely and her soft drink lobbying outfit will co-host the event with, among others, Artemis Strategies founder Ari Storch, BGR Group founder (and former governor) Haley Barbour and BGR lobbyist Loren Monroe.

One governor missing from the list of notable attendees? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who, as the Washington Post pointed out, has gotten some post-bridgegate support from Martinez. Don’t read too much into his absence, though, since the Garden State head honcho will headline a New Mexico fundraiser for Martinez next week.

Jeb Bush + Iowa + Florida = 2016?? (Maybe.)
Like many other politicians called out as possible 2016 contenders, Jeb Bush is still playing the will-he-won’t-he game. Although he won’t say for sure what his plans are, Politico reported last month that Bush told the crowd at a Catholic Charities fundraiser that he is “thinking about running for president.” His comment came right in the middle of a spate of spring fundraisers that had the former Florida governor rubbing elbows with donors and party operatives.

It continues on Thursday, when Bush throws a party in Coral Gables for Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa. It’s a savvy tip of the hat to the primary voters in the Hawkeye State, all without leaving the sunny shores of South Florida.

And that just about wraps up your week in political fundraisers, party animals! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

2014 elections 2016 presidential Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.12.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Hillary Clinton hits the fundraiser circuit; President Obama, Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker in New York for Wall Street-hosted parties

Most of the time, Party Time is a great place to work. And then sometimes, it’s totally awesome.

It’s been a phenomenal few weeks over here at Political Party Time – fundraising season is picking up, invites and tips are coming to our inbox, and some truly noteworthy parties are keeping us busy.

Last week we told you about President Barack Obama’s hectic midweek party schedule in California, with five fundraisers in two days. Before the trip, we learned of some specifics, but the juiciest tidbits came afterwards, when the reporters who cover the president when he travels, sent back details from the road.

For example, we learned that the site of one fundraiser – the expansive Bel Air home of Disney Studios head Alan Horn – includes a chicken coop near the property’s guest house. This, fundraising friends, is a Party Time first: chicken coops and campaign cash. The reporter said the coop contained “perhaps a rooster,” which makes us giggle to think of fancy-pants Bel Air folks waking to the sound of a rooster’s crow.

During a San Diego luncheon with Obama, the group of traveling reporters was stationed near a bathroom that contained a ToTo toilet, an engineering phenom that has – among other perks – a heated seat. Using all of our investigative reporting skills, our Google search found that these spiffy toilets can go for around $5,000. (And for a bit of perspective, tickets to this funder started at $10,000. Buy two toilets or go to an Obama-headlined lunch? Decisions, decisions!)

Before we get to this week’s gems, give us a minute to deliver that friendly reminder to send us whatever party goodies you’ve heard while out and about. We want it all – newspaper clippings, hot tips and gossip, official invites. Email us, or upload what you’ve got right here. And we keep our sources 100 percent confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.

And now, party people, your week in political fundraisers!

More money for Marjorie
Marjorie Margolies, running for the Pennsylvania House seat she held for one term in 1993, has Clinton connections to spare. One of the reasons Margolies only served one term is that she cast the deciding vote for then-President Bill Clinton’s budget – not the most popular move in the Republican wave of 1994. And her son, Marc Mezvinsky, is married to Chelsea Clinton, who announced in April that she is pregnant with their first child.

Last week, the New York Times ran a story that wondered about the Clintons’ lack of involvement in the Pennsylvania race. But over here at Party Time, we were left scratching our heads. After all, last October, Margolies benefited from a Madeleine Albright-headlined party, and in April, Bill Clinton went to Philly for a fundraiser.

Yes, but what about headline-grabbing, potential presidential candidate Hillary? Well, the wait is over, folks – the Margolies campaign is having a fundraiser May 15 with H. Clinton herself. And although Clinton has been making plenty of political comments during paid speaking gigs, this is her first step into officially political territory this year (PT records show her last fully political outing was an L.A. lunch for Terry McAuliffe during his successful campaign for Virginia governor).

Now for the good stuff, party people: Thursday’s four-figure funder is at the Upper East Side home of Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Aside from having one of the toniest names PT has ever come across, de Rothschild is definitely one of the more colorful iconoclasts to grace our columns. An ardent Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, de Rothschild opted to endorse Sen. John McCain over Obama in that year’s general election, saying at one point of the Democratic nominee: “I feel like he is an elitist.” This from a billionaire who runs a private investment company and who, during a remodel of a London home once owned by artist John Singer Sargent, made sure the property’s new gym had “a mirrored ceiling for Lynn’s stretching sessions,” according to a story in W Magazine.

In fact, de Rothschild’s zingers are so good that, on the heels of the fundraiser announcement, Mother Jones compiled a list; Slate, meanwhile, collected her best video clips because, yes, they are that good.

So, to recap: Marjorie Margolies, running for a House seat representing suburban Philadelphia, is having a fancy fundraiser with Hillary. And Lady Lynn. On Thursday. In Manhattan.

We couldn’t make it up, even if we tried.

GOP-ers go head-to-head in Big Apple
Two top-tier Wisconsin Republicans are slated to attend separate fundraisers in New York City as part of what Politico dubbed the “Wall Street primary.” Tuesday’s parties will allow Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, both often called out as potential presidential contenders, to glad-hand financial bigwigs and test the 2016 waters.

Ryan, who chairs the House Committee on the Budget, will party with hedge fund heavyweights Paul Singer and Cliff Asness, as well as New York Jets owner Woody Johnson. Although the crux of the get-together likely will be economic issues, it’s worth noting that Singer and Asness are outspoken supporters of gay marriage. In 2012, Singer threw down $1 million to start American Unity PAC, which urges Republican politicians to support marriage equality.

A few blocks away, Walker will be the headliner at a Republican National Committee fundraiser. It’s yet another step into the national spotlight for the Badger State governor, who rather famously beat back a recall challenge after he cut collective bargaining rights for most of his state’s public workers. More recently, he’s been partying with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and other bold-named Republicans at American Enterprise Institute’s three-day forum and the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Spring Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas.

Obama keeps the money train going for Dems
You know it’s a busy week when the president’s jaunt to Manhattan for a fundraiser isn’t the most significant highlight. On Wednesday, Obama will headline a party benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and hosted by investment banker Blair W. Effron and private equity guru Jamie Rubin. No, not the ex-State Department flack and hubby of CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour. The Jamie who will be partying with has some pretty sweet connections, though: His dad is former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, a longtime banking exec who is no slouch in the campaign giving department himself. The move certainly doesn’t help to squash comments, like the ones just made by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., about the president’s coziness with Wall Street.

Effron’s Upper East Side mega-apartment – which, post remodel, contains a unit once owned by etiquette expert Emily Post – is the site of the super pricey reception and dinner. Businessweek reported that Effron bought the property for $24.5 million two years ago.

Rand ramps up in Ohio
In just a few short years, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. – aided by name recognition, spot-on messaging skills and a rising and boisterous bloc of libertarian-leaning voters – has moved from the “long-shot” to “presumptive” category in the list of potential 2016 presidential candidates. And Party Time has been watching this shift happen as he, not coincidentally, kicks into high gear his fundraising appearances in key states.

Paul’s Friday role at the Hamilton County Republican Party’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner is just another example. His keynote speech at the Cincinnati fundraiser will get Paul in front of swing state voters, and give him a chance to chat with key Ohio operatives, like Sen. Rob Portman and Gov. John Kasich.

And that’s your busy week in fundraising, partiers! As always, let us know what we’ve missed by emailing us or uploading invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

2014 elections 2016 presidential Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.05.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: President Obama heads to the Left Coast and Gov. Christie gets back to fundraising

Party people, spring is in full swing and fundraisers are in the air. With Congress back in session, members are having their fair share of D.C.-based fundraisers, but the big story this week is what’s happening off Capitol Hill. President Barack Obama heads west for a California tour of political parties and Gov. Chris Christie gets back to the business of fundraising for fellow Republican governors.

But what have we missed, faithful partiers? We know there’s more happening out there, and we need a little help from our friends. Send us whatever you’ve got – newspaper clippings, rumors from your home state, official invites. We want it all! You know what to do: Upload invitations here, or email us. (And we keep our sources 100 percent confidential, so you can always feel comfortable sharing.)

And now, onto the week!

Obama goes very, very big in California
On the heels of a new poll that shows President Obama scoring his lowest approval ratings yet, the Partier-in-Chief hits the road to do what he does best: Inspire deep-pocketed donors to write some hefty checks.

The president makes his way to California on Wednesday, with his first stop a gala event in L.A. for the USC Shoah Foundation. Steven Spielberg will give Obama the Ambassador for Humanity Award, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Then, let the real partying begin!

Obama, known for being a tireless fundraiser, starts off a very busy party schedule with dinner at the Bel Air home of Disney Studios head Alan Horn. Horn and his wife, Cindy, are big-time Dem donors, and the May 7 shindig benefits the House Senate Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee for congressional Democrats. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are also slated to attend the $10,000 per person, or up to $65,000 per couple, party.

On Thursday, Party Time counts four – four! – fundraisers on the books for Obama. He starts off with an invitation-only roundtable discussion in the morning at the Beverly Hilton. Tickets to the Democratic National Committee funder go for $32,400 per person. Then, it’s down to the San Diego area for an expensive (as in, seats start at $10,000 per person and climb to $32,400 per couple) lunch. Pelosi and Israel are also slated to attend the DNC fundraiser at the La Jolla home of Irwin Jacobs, founder of telecommunications giant Qualcomm.

It’s not the first time Jacobs has come through for Obama, either: A 2012 New York Times story reported that Jacobs and his wife gave $2 million to the pro-Obama PAC Priorities USA Action, and the couple also hosted First Lady Michelle Obama for breakfast in October 2012. And Sunlight’s Influence Explorer tool shows that Qualcomm and its employees have contributed almost $180,000 to Obama. (And just to keep things spicy, a group called Impeach Obama Now! is planning a protest at Jacobs’ home during the luncheon.)

The president then heads up to the Bay Area for back-to-back fundraisers for the DNC. He’ll hold court at a Tech Roundtable for 20 at the Los Altos home of Anne Wojcicki, founder of 23andMe, a DNA testing and analysis company. Since tickets go for $32,400 per person at the event, this one party could raise $648,000, assuming all 20 seats are filled.

And Obama still has one more to go! Next, the president makes his way over to the Silicon Valley start-up funder Y Combinator for another pricey fundraiser. The party, hosted by Y Combinator president Sam Altman and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, originally was supposed to be at Mayer’s house, which can seat 200. But the San Francisco Chronicle reported that planners had to change locations because of high demand for the event. Apparently no donor fatigue there.

Chris Christie back on the trail
After a quiet April, Gov. Chris Christie returns to the moneymaking circuit with two parties this week. On Monday – happy Cinco de Mayo, folks! – Christie goes to Hackensack to headline a fundraiser for Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan. The county’s Democratic group called on Donovan to cancel the event after the governor called political contribution limits “ridiculous” during a town hall meeting, but Donovan won’t be deterred. Seats at her funder start at $250 and go up to $5,000.

On Wednesday, Christie returns to his duties as chairman of the Republican Governors Association with a fundraiser in Maine for that state’s Republican leader. Gov. Paul LePage needs all the help he can get: The incumbent is in a three-way battle with current Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud and lawyer Eliot Cutler, running as an independent. Polls show a tight race, and the Democratic Governors Association called out LePage as one of the country’s most vulnerable Republican incumbents.

Lucky for LePage, Christie is a proven fundraiser, despite that nagging bridge scandal that just won’t go away. The RGA announced it raised an eye-popping $23.5 million in the first three months of this year.

Bubba comes out for Dem governors
On the other side of the aisle, Democratic governors will get a lift from Bill Clinton on May 6 during a Miami Beach fundraiser. The governors’ organization and Charlie Crist, Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, will benefit from the party. A local TV station is reporting that those mischievous Sunshine State Republicans will mark the occasion by airing a tape of Crist, when he was a Florida Republican, calling on then-President Clinton to resign over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Clinton, ever the social butterfly, is keeping us on our toes, with Party Time records showing that Tuesday’s event is his 10th fundraiser so far this year. He’s been all over the place, headlining events in Kentucky for Senate candidate (and old family friend) Alison Lundergan Grimes, in Pennsylvania for House candidate (and ’90s political ally and Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law) Marjorie Margolies, and in Arkansas for gubernatorial candidate (and Clinton’s ex-driver) former Rep. Mike Ross. Notice a pattern? Clinton likes to help out his buddies.

(Know of any other Clinton-headlined events? Send us what you’ve got right here.)

New Hampshire calling
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has been quiet on the fundraiser circuit, with Party Time showing that so far this year he’s only attended the American Enterprise Institute Forum and the Conservative Political Action Conference. But come Friday, he’ll headline a gala dinner for New Hampshire Republicans at the super swanky Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle.

It’s a significant foray into primary state territory for a politician just about always listed as a potential 2016 presidential nominee. Last week, the Washington Examiner reported that it’s all part of the Rubio team’s long-term plans to avoid the early-on rat race between GOP-ers, aka “becoming the flavor of the month.”

And that’s your jam-packed week in parties! What have we missed? Let us know what you’ve heard about by emailing us or uploading invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

2014 elections 2016 presidential Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.28.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Politicians – and their fundraising parties – head back to D.C.

Good morning, party people, and happy Monday! As Congress slinks back into town this week, politicians return to their favorite pastime of D.C. partying, mixing and mingling with the people willing and able to throw down major cash for a little bit of face time with an elected official.

But one congressman isn’t quite ready to be done with his two-week break. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., will be on the golf course Monday morning, hitting the links and squeezing in one more opportunity to collect some campaign cash before getting back to Capitol Hill. A day of golf with Rooney at Virginia’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Club will put you back $1,000, or $2,000 for PACs.

As we look at this week’s social calendar, we can’t help but think there are other fundraisers happening out there. What have you heard about, faithful partiers? Let us know! Email us whatever you’ve got (newspaper clippings, photos, the menu and guest list from an event, etc.), or upload an official invite right here.

And now, for the week’s highlights!

Friends in high places
Amanda Renteria has Washington contacts and she’s not afraid to use them. The California Democrat is running to unseat Rep. David Valadao in the Golden State’s 21st District, a predominantly Latino section of the Central Valley. In the 2012 election, voters came out for Valadao, a Republican, and for President Obama, who scored 55 percent of that District’s vote. This cycle, the Rothenberg Political Report calls the seat “Toss-Up/Tilt Republican,” but national Dems see a red-to-blue opportunity in Renteria.

After stints as a teacher, investment analyst and city employee, the San Joaquin Valley born and bred Renteria made her way to D.C., working first with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Renteria then moved over to the office of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., where she became the first Latina chief of staff in the Senate.

Stabenow returns the favor on Monday when she throws an evening reception for Renteria at D.C.’s Lounge 201. And Stabenow isn’t the only District denizen lending her name to the invite. Renteria’s Capitol Hill connections mean Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., along with Reps. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., Linda Sanchez, D-Calif.,  Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.,  Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Jim Himes, D-Conn., and Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., are all slated to attend the party. Tickets start at $250 and go up to $1,000.

McKinley: more money, please!
In his run for reelection in West Virginia’s 1st District, Republican Rep. David McKinley has a whopping $1.4 million on hand, according to Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker. He’s far outpacing his Democratic opponent, State Auditor Glen Gainer, who has $166,964 in the bank.

But no matter: McKinley wants more! The seventh-generation Wheeling, W. Va., native – who scored big for his coal-rich state when he landed a seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee – will party it up on Tuesday. His breakfast fundraiser is hosted by the American Chemistry Council’s PAC, whose organization has lobbied heavily (to the tune of $79 million, according to Influence Explorer) on energy and the environment, and has given at least $4,000 to McKinley since 2011. The group is currently lobbying for a revision of of a 40-year-old law regulating toxic substances, a bill that’s before the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Chemistry Council’s party should bring in the big bucks, too, with a spot at the breakfast starting at $500 and topping out at $2,000 for PAC attendees.

Spicy party
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., isn’t up for reelection until 2016, but that isn’t stopping him from throwing a party. On Wednesday, Nutmeg PAC will have its third fundraiser in as many months, with a pricey lunch at Fiola.

Nutmeg is Blumenthal’s leadership PAC, meaning that he can dole out money he collects for that group to fellow politicians and their campaigns. The Center for Responsive Politics found that Nutmeg has given $27,500 so far this cycle to his Democratic friends in the Senate (including $2,500 contributions to vulnerable Sens. Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu, both in already-close races in North Carolina and Louisiana, respectively). Blumenthal chairs a couple of key subcommittees and keeping those plum posts — or getting even plummier ones — depends on his party holding onto its control of the Senate.

On a side note, Party Time hopes that Blumenthal takes a minute or two to relax and enjoy Wednesday’s lunch. Last week, the senator had a close call with a train that zoomed through the station as he held a press conference on – we aren’t making this up – commuter rail safety.

Democrats party in South Carolina
Palmetto State voters lean Republican, with Rep. James Clyburn the only Democratic member of the state’s delegation on Capitol Hill. And, in 2008 and 2012, the state overwhelmingly opted for the GOP candidate over now President Obama. But no matter: South Carolina Dems are rallying the troops on Saturday for their annual convention in Columbia. On the docket? Prepping and strategizing for the 2014 elections, officially. But this is an event that could attract 2016ers too: South Carolina every four years hosts a key early presidential primary.

Hmm. So what are we to make of Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., kicking things off on Friday night when he keynotes the Jefferson Jackson Dinner. Since the theme of the evening is When Governors Govern, expect Kaine to regale attendees with anecdotes from his four-year term as Virginia’s head honcho.

And that’s your week in parties, friends! What have we missed? Let us know by emailing us any tips or suggestions, or by uploading invites here.

Photo credit Wikimedia

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.21.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Politicians stay on their home turf and throw homegrown parties

As the Senate and House continue their two-week vacation – oops, we mean “constituent work week” – Party Time’s social calendar continues to look quite thin. But with Passover and Easter celebrations winding down this week, politicians are starting to get back into the swing of things, partying for dollars while in their home districts. Our schedule, usually overflowing with D.C.-based shindigs, boasts of fundraisers from New Hampshire to Arizona, from New York to Louisiana.

That reminds us, faithful party people: Let us know what’s happening in your home states this week! Is your senator or representative shaking the local money tree? Send us whatever you’ve got by emailing us or uploading invites right here.

And now, here’s your week in parties!

Big Apple, big party

New York Republican Lee Zeldin, vying for his state’s 1st District U.S. House seat, got a big bump last week when the National Republican Congressional Committee named him to its Young Guns “Contender” list. That means more national-level support for his challenge to the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Tim Bishop, and provides another indication of just how much the GOP establishment is getting behind Zeldin’s campaign.

Zeldin, currently a state senator representing Shirley on Long Island, has been in good with national Republicans for years now:  Party Time records show he helped host fundraisers in his home state. And he’s tight with local folks, too, rubbing elbows with New York’s Republican Party chief Ed Cox (who is married, by the way, to the late President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia) and its finance head, Arcadio Casillas.

It’s all coming together Tuesday, when Cox and Casillas host a reception for Zeldin’s campaign. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is the “special guest” at the Manhattan fundraiser, which hopes to raise between $1,000 and $5,200 per person. And Zeldin needs to collect all the cash he can: He may be an establishment favorite, but he still has to face off against the deep-pocketed George Demos (who already loaned his own campaign $2 million) in a June 24 GOP primary.

McCain Money

After his quick trip to the Big Apple, Sen. John McCain heads back to Arizona on Thursday for his first home state fundraiser for his 2016 reelection campaign. The state’s best-known politicians, past and present, are slated to attend the party at Phoenix’s Ritz-Carlton: Gov. Jan Brewer, Sen. Jeff Flake, former Sen. Jon Kyl, former Gov. Fife Symington, former state Attorney General Grant Woods and Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring will mingle with guests who paid upwards of $5,200 a seat. And sports fans can get in on the excitement, too, seeing as Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick and Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver will also be there.

A recent poll indicates McCain may be susceptible to a from-the-right primary challenger in his run for a sixth term in the Senate. Although that primary – and the general race – is still quite a ways off, the Citizens United Political Victory Fund’s poll did find that 64.2 percent of Arizonans think it’s “time to give a new person the chance to do the job.” PT’s records show that McCain started stockpiling his campaign war chest in December because, as he told the Arizona Republic, he wants to be sure he’s “fully prepared” for the race.

Ted Cruz hearts New Hampshire

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, makes his way to the East Coast a few days before the Senate is back in session to hobnob with the locals in New Hampshire, further stoking speculation about his 2016 aspirations. He may be saying it’s too soon to be sure about a run for the White House, but Cruz’s strategic partying schedule begs to differ.

This upcoming weekend, Cruz stops first in Carroll County on Saturday for a Lincoln Day Dinner, where attendees can throw down $100 for dinner and a photo with the senator. Then, on Sunday, he’ll attend a fundraiser for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, the group blasting Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., with radio ads that tie her to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.

The Texan sure does love that Granite State air – he was just in Manchester for the Freedom Summit a few weeks ago! And a report from that event found that the predominantly Tea Party crowd preferred Cruz to another conservative favorite, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Keep your eyes peeled for these two to continue duking it out on the early primary states’ fundraiser and speaker circuit (and let us know what you hear about).

Old home week

A handful of extremely savvy partiers are taking advantage of their time back at home and throwing local fundraisers with an eye toward what makes their state unique. So, Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., is having a Trifecta Weekend in Louisville with tours of Churchill Downs, site of the Kentucky Derby, and events at whiskey purveyors Makers Mark and Jim Beam. Bottoms up!

Starting on Friday, New Orleans comes together for Jazz Fest, the city’s annual celebration of music and arts, and wouldn’t you know it, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is throwing a fundraiser to celebrate. Tickets to her Big Easy Weekend start at $5,000 for two people. (And looks like Landrieu could use a jazzy weekend: She’s already engaged in a bit of an advertising war in Louisiana, with some back-and-forth on footage she used in a TV spot.)

And, finally, Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis rounds out the weekend with a Backyard BBQ at the Houston home of lawyer Steve Mostyn (who recently hosted President Obama for a swanky DNC fundraiser). The Democrat, raising funds for her run at the governor’s mansion, knows what her constituents like – BBQ will be served, and Willie Nelson will perform at Sunday’s event.

And that’s a wrap, party people! If you hear of anything happening out there, let us know.

Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.14.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

Political Party Time Gone Wild: Fundraisers go on spring break, and so do we

Hello partiers! Congress is out for the week, members are back in their home districts and our social calendar is very, very thin. It’s a week full of holy holidays – or spring fun, depending on your inclination – and politicians seem to be taking a break from the fundraising hustle and bustle.

That being said, if you hear of any under-the-radar parties, you know what to do: share! Let us know what’s going on out there by emailing us or uploading invites here.

But before we call it a day and take a little spring break ourselves, we couldn’t help but pass along this winner of a fundraising idea/ploy/genius move. Rob Ford, everyone’s favorite Toronto mayor, is running for reelection and his campaign is selling bobbleheads to bring in some dough prior to the October election. Yes, bobbleheads.

Canada’s Sun News reported late last week that Ford’s brother and campaign manager, Doug, showed off two of the bobblehead models and promised that two more will be ready in the next few days. A “limited edition” model, of the mayor in a tie covered in footballs, goes for $100, meaning that if all 500 of them sell, the campaign will pocket $50,000.

Tuxedo Rob and Kimmel Rob (featuring the mayor in the outfit he wore during his “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” appearance) will go for $30 each and be available at Ford’s campaign launch on April 17, according to the Sun News.

Last year, Ford lent his likeness to bobbleheads sold for charity, and sales from one of the four new models will benefit a local hospital. But the rest of the money raised will go straight to helping keep the I-did-not-smoke-crack-oh-wait-maybe-I-did mayor in office. File this in the “so crazy it just might work” folder.

Enjoy your fundraiser-free week, party people. If you hear of anything good, let us know!

Photo courtesy Flickr

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.07.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Après McCutcheon, le party deluge?

Party people, welcome to the first Monday after McCutcheon.

We are bracing ourselves for an influx of fundraiser invites, seeing as the Supreme Court gave a heave-ho to that pesky cap on aggregate contributions. Now, anyone can dole out big-time bucks to federal candidates and political parties, limits be damned! Get ready to make it rain, K Street.

This only means more parties, friends. As politicians’ call lists grow, expect more invites to receptions at Johnny’s Half Shell, meet-and-greets at Tortilla Coast, and luncheons at Bistro Bis. (In the market for a creative way to get out of writing another check? We’ve got you covered with this list of excuses.)

And as your inboxes get flooded with invites, you know what to do – send them our way! We are dying to know who is taking advantage of the new no-limit rule and clamoring to get more money into their campaign coffers. Special Party Time kudos (hey, we may even get you a special PT hat!) for the intrepid soul who snags us the first invite to a funder for the-lid’s-off, post-McCutcheon committees that Sunlight’s own Jacob Fenton has dubbed “a super-joint.”  We think that makes him a contender in the contest over at The Fix!

Meanwhile, about those like-bunnies-multiplying invites: Email us, or upload them here (and, as always, rest assured that it’s a totally confidential process).

Let’s dig into this week, party people. And remember to send whatever you’ve got right here!

Obama heads to Houston

Another Wednesday, another fundraiser. After doing a twofer in Chicago last week, President Barack Obama hits up donors this Wednesday in Houston at a pricey fundraiser. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will also attend.

Pharmaceutical lawyer John Eddie Williams and his wife, Sheridan, will host the partier-in-chief at their fancy-pants River Oaks home. This feels like a perfect matchup: The Williams couple knows how to throw a successful fundraiser and Obama knows how to get people to write a big check. (For those keeping track at home, PT records show this is the president’s 14th party since February.)

GOP = Going Out to Party

New Hampshire and Iowa are always popular party destinations for politicians with an eye toward higher office. Getting in good with the locals and the state’s party leadership usually pays off come voting time in these early primary states – and people mentioned in conversations about 2016 (see: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.) drop by strategically and often.

The upcoming weekend is no different, as Party Time has four big-time (and big-name) events on the books for both states. The Republican Party of New Hampshire kicks things off on Friday evening with a Rally with Rand in Dover. It’s 50 bucks for what’s billed as a “casual reception” with the Kentucky senator. But that’s just the warm-up to Saturday’s conservative gabfest in Manchester at the first annual Freedom Summit.

Paul and Cruz are slated to speak at the daylong meeting, as are Donald Trump, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Newt and Callista Gingrich, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, Iowa Rep. Steve King, and American Enterprise Institute head Arthur Brooks. A couple of groups you may have heard of – Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity Foundation – are hosting the sold-out event.

Meanwhile, over in Iowa, that state’s Republican Party will have its Lincoln Dinner Friday night in Cedar Rapids. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is the keynote speaker, and a fistful of Hawkeye State politicians will hobnob with donors paying between $75 and $1,000 for the dinner.

In a noteworthy nod to New Hampshire, Iowa’s King won’t be sticking around for the Lincoln Dinner’s after party. After that event wraps up, King will make his way over to New Hampshire where he’s a confirmed speaker at the Freedom Summit.

And Ryan will make the most of his westward trip, stopping in Chicago en route to his evening gig in Iowa. Friday afternoon, he’ll work the crowd at a luncheon fundraiser for Bob Dold, who is looking to reclaim his old House seat.

Georgians go for green

Turns out, it’s the week for GOP state delegations to party hard. On Monday evening, Georgia Republicans get together in Atlanta for the state party’s Spring Gala. Gov. Nathan Deal and a bunch of state pols will celebrate with T.W. Shannon, a “rising GOP star” running to replace retiring Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. Also invited to attend the event? The full complement of Georgia’s GOP congressional delegation, which may make for an interesting evening.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is stepping down this year, will be there, as will three of the people hoping for a chance to replace him. Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston continue to duke it out in a crowded primary race, which will be held in May.

Rep. Austin Scott, who represents Georgia’s 8th District, is also invited to the event. But Scott’s got some of his own fundraising to do, thank you very much. Monday afternoon, the National Maritime Manufacturers Association’s Boat PAC hosts a Cherry Blossom Cruise for Scott, with tickets starting at $500. The cruise should wrap up by 4:30, so if he hustles, he might be able to make dessert and coffee at the Spring Gala. Busy day!

Bill steps up for Marjorie

In a bit of a ’90s flashback, former President Bill Clinton rallies the faithful in Philadelphia this week for Marjorie Margolies. Margolies is running in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 13th District seat, which she held in 1992. But she only served one term, getting the boot from constituents after she delivered the last vote Clinton needed to pass his 1993 budget.

So Bubba is returning the favor and bringing some star power to Thursday’s noontime fundraiser.

It’s not the first time Margolies is calling on her Clinton connections, either; last October, she had an event with Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Oh, and did we mention that Margolies is Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law? We anticipate a fair bit of good-natured ribbing about picking up the pace on grandchildren.

McConnell money

The Kentucky Senate race continues to keep us on our toes. This week, in a grab bag of hosts, various PACs representing car companies, chemical manufacturing and alternative energy production are throwing a party for Sen. Mitch McConnell. Tickets to Thursday’s dinner at the Toyota HQ in downtown D.C. start at $1,000 and go up to $5,000.

The minority leader is a prolific fundraiser, and a recent peek at how one of his fundraising dinners goes down gives a little insight as to how he became so formidable on the social circuit. Looks like McConnell uses the silent treatment to his advantage, telling party attendees that they have to give the maximum amount and then simply waiting until they do.

This is the first fundraiser on the books for McConnell since the McCutcheon ruling, which makes us wonder just how much – and how – he’ll make donors pay up. Yikes.

Party people, that wraps up your week in fundraising! As those invites start really rolling in, keep us posted on what you hear about. Email us, or upload those invites right here.

(Photo courtesy Flickr)

Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.31.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Old home weeks for Obama and Clinton; Oprah comes to Virginia, Rick Scott parties in Florida

Hello, party people, and happy Monday!

Are you still exhausted from last week’s frenzied fundraising schedule? In our last update, we reported that 28 parties were keeping politicians busy, but after a little help from our friends (hint: that’s you!), that count bumped up to 40 parties. That’s a lot of schmoozing, folks.

The legislators asking for your money seem to need a bit of a breather, too. The social calendar really hit the breaks this week, although some big names are still on the schedule. After his extensive travels in Europe and Saudi Arabia, President Barack Obama hops on a plane again, this time heading to Chicago. He’s slated to have a “Small Dinner” fundraiser on Wednesday for the Democratic National Committee at the home of big-time bundlers Grace Tsao-Wu and Craig Freedman.

But we bet there’s a whole lot more going on in fundraiser-land than what’s on our calendar – after all, politicians never pass up an opportunity to party hard for cash. Over here at Party Time, we will keep digging around for more details and more invites, but if you hear of anything, shoot it our way! Double check those mailboxes and email lists, and send anything and everything you’ve got right here.

Clinton cash machine

Bill Clinton loves to help out his friends. The former president has been hopscotching the country to raise some big bucks for his buddies now running for office. In February, he stumped for Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, a longtime family friend. A few weeks ago, he rallied the troops in New York for Seth Magaziner, who is running for Rhode Island treasurer and whose father is a longtime Clinton adviser (and current head of the Clinton Health Access Initiative).

This upcoming weekend, Bubba makes his way back to his native Arkansas for two fundraisers for Democrats running for House seats. On Saturday, Clinton will work the crowd for James Lee Witt, running in Arkansas’ 4th district. Witt led the Federal Emergency Management Agency during Clinton’s presidency, and Clinton is retuning the favor with a $250-per-person party at Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa in Hot Springs. Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, considered a star since winning the 4th district in 2012, currently holds the seat but is challenging Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in November.

On Sunday afternoon, Clinton makes his way over to the Argenta Community Theater in North Little Rock for a fundraiser for Pat Hays. Hays, who worked on Clinton’s campaign in 1992 and was the mayor of North Little Rock for 24 years, is running for the 2nd district seat. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., is hanging up his hat after two terms in the House.

Not to be outdone, Ready for Hillary, the super PAC set up to encourage Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016, is throwing a pricey fundraiser at Capitol Hill hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell this week. The organization usually sticks to events with a $20.16 price tag (it’s clever and subtle), but tickets to Thursday’s party are going for $1,000 to $2,500.

DeMoney for DeMaio

Carl DeMaio caps off a bit of a fundraising spree on Monday with a reception in Southern California. During the past week or so, the Republican House candidate, running in California’s 52nd district, has held four fundraisers in attempts to bolster his campaign coffers. DeMaio, a former member of San Diego’s City Council and a mayoral candidate in the city in 2012, has his sights set on November, when he’ll likely face off against Democratic Rep. Scott Peters. (There’s an open primary in May, but our Real-Time tracker shows DeMaio and Peters are the top two candidates when it comes to cash on hand.)

DeMaio, who is one of three gay Republican House candidates in 2014 and made waves in February with an ad that featured him holding hands with his partner, has been a busy fundraising bee. Since last June, Party Time has 30 funders on the books for DeMaio.

Oprah comes to Virginia

The ever-influential Oprah Winfrey arrives in Alexandria on Saturday to party with Lavern Chatman, who is hoping to replace the retiring Rep. Jim Moran in Virginia’s 8th district. In her announcement about the Oprah-headlined event, Chatman said, “Oprah is a good friend and we both share a passion for empowering women and girls for leadership.”

It’s a good friendship to have, especially since Chatman faces a crowded Democratic primary field. Although the media mogul doesn’t often get involved in politics, when she does, it tends to have a winning effect. Remember that time when Oprah got pumped up for one Mr. Barack Obama? Or when she threw a party for New Jersey’s Cory Booker? She’s two for two!

Rick Scott rakes it in

It’s been a tough few weeks for Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign. The Florida chief executive, running for reelection in November, recently lost his campaign committee’s co-finance chairman, health care bigwig Mike Fernandez. Fernandez abruptly resigned his post, and leaked emails reveal big-time internal issues, including concerns about outreach to Florida’s Latino community.

Then, last Thursday, Scott’s team got wind of another resignation: Gonzalo Sanabria, a board member of the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, quit as a result of the Fernandez episode.

Sounds like it’s time for a party. Scott will have a private reception in Tampa this week, with tickets starting at $1,000 and climbing to $10,000 for a VIP reception. (Fun fact: One of the event’s hosts, Brent Sembler, heads up a shopping center development company and is a reliable GOP donor. In 2009, PT shows Sembler and his wife hosted a shindig for Charlie Crist, back when he was a Republican running for Senate.)

And those are the highlights, party people! Let us know if you hear of anything good going on out there – email us, or upload those invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia


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.