Next week Congress continues its extended Easter break, because, you know, members almost had to work a whole month straight! Luckily for you Party Time never takes a week off, but that does mean the calendar is still looking slimmer than usual. However, the parties that are scheduled for next week have some serious heavy hitters involved — Barack “Partier-In-Chief” Obama, Marco “I lost the presidency because I forgot how to drink” Rubio and Cory “What’s Newark?” Booker. Check out the highlights below.
Obama Cashes In While Out West
Last month the President announced he would be back on the fundraising trail, trying to help the Democrats take back a majority in the House in 2014 — now those high-profile funders have arrived. Next week the PIC has got four events crammed into Wednesday and Thursday, all occurring in the political gold mine of San Francisco. Obama will start things off with a $5,000 cocktail reception at the home of environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer — sounds normal so far, right? Well it turns out this party might get a little awkward due to Steyer’s firm opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, a project Obama may allow to go forward. To make matters worse, Obama’s environmental woes will follow him to his next event, and by woes we mean a crowd of about 2,000 climate activists in protest of the pipeline. They’ll be harassing the president at a $32,400 per plate dinner at the home of billionaire Gordon Getty, whose house hopefully has enough land around it to keep the protesters at bay. Both of these parties will benefit the DCCC, and it comes at a critical time — the group is currently listing more than $10 million in debt. PT hasn’t got its hands on these invites, so if you’ve managed to snag them upload them to us here!
The next day, Mr. PIC will be doing double sessions again, starting out at 9:30 with a $32,400 brunch somewhere in San Fran. The intimate affair is limited to only 30 seats, so it promises some serious quality time with the prez. Just an hour and a half later, Obama will hightail it over to an early lunch at the home of philanthropists John and Marcia Goldman. Prices are $1,000 to get in, at least $5,000 for a photo opp, and $20,000 to co-chair the event. Both of these parties will directly benefit the Democratic National Committee.
No Rest for Rubio
While many of his fellow lawmakers are relaxing from the hectic party schedule, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., actually decided to ramp it up by holding two funders next week. On Monday he’ll be in Chicago for a reception and private dinner at the home of business executive Judson Green. It’s $1,000 for a couple to attend the reception, but the private dinner afterwards will max out at $10,400. If you’ve got your hands on the invite you know what to do! On Friday, Rubio will head home to the Sunshine State for a Weekend at the Biltmore Hotel, a resort destination outside of Miami. For party-poopers only wanting to stay Friday (dubbed the “Havana Nights” package, even though it is only one night), it’s $2,500. But for party animals staying the whole crazy weekend, it’ll run you anywhere from $10,000 to $5,000.
Booker Still Won’t Admit It
Although the world’s worst-kept secret is still technically unconfirmed, the Cory Booker for Senate committee continues to travel the country raising copious amounts of cash. Booker is heading back inside the beltway on Monday for a Young Professionals Reception at the hip Adams Morgan bar Jack Rose. There’s sure to be fixed gear bicycles, cuffed jeans and lots of PBR to go around. And if that doesn’t get you, then maybe the prices will — the event is appropriately cheaper than most funders, with $40 tickets available. Don’t miss this chance to be hip with the hippest mayor (for now) around!
That’s all for now. Make sure to check back next week when the lawmakers — and the parties — return in full force!
Photo courtesy of Chuck Kennedy via Wikimedia Commons.Tweet
If you followed Party Time on Twitter (and you should!), you would have known about the fundraising monstrosity that is the Annual NRCC March Summit and Dinner. With asking prices stretching up to $100,000, it’s no surprise that the event picked up a staggering $12 million last year, but this year the NRCC surpassed that by raking in an astronomical $14.4 millions dollars! To put it in perspective, that’s more than the NRCC raised in the past three months, and almost seven times more than what the NRSC raised for the entire month of February! What could you do with all that money? If you were living in 1803, you could more or less snatch up the Louisiana Purchase. What a steal!
According to the invite obtained by PT, the 2013 installment of this esteemed financial tradition featured all the big guns, such as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker headlined the festivities as keynote speaker. It was an all-day event, including a luncheon and political panels at Hotel Monaco, photo ops with several high-profile House GOP members, a dinner at the National Building Museum and even an after-party.
The House GOP dinner acted as one last hurrah before the two-week long congressional spring break, which starts today. The PT calendar reflects the vacation with a noticeable drop-off in events over that time, but some Congress members remain steadfast in their party-hard ways. Check out the highlights below.
Markey Leaving His Mark
Even though almost every liberal group in the world is endorsing Mass. Rep. Ed Markey for the Democratic Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, he’s not letting up on his torrid fundraising pace. He’s continuing the campaign in the ATM state of California, where he’ll be the beneficiary of a Sunday Evening Reception featuring singer-songwriter Carole King. You might know King from her 1971 Grammy-winning album Tapestry, or when she absolutely killed it in the seminal 1979 film “Dynamite Johnson.” Either way, guests are in for a treat. The private event takes place at the Bel Air home of Cindy and Alan Horn, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios. Prices to co-host are $5,200, to attend $2,600. No word on whether King will perform songs like “It’s Too Late,” which older people have assured PT was indeed a hit in the 1970s.
Patrick Murphy Really, Really Enjoys Birthdays… Really
Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., is turning 30 next week, and he wants literally everyone to know about it. He’s having at least three separate parties over the course of four days next week, all of which are billed as his “30th Birthday Party.” The natal anniversary celebration starts with a Wednesday night Miami Beach party, with prices climbing to $5,200. The very next day guests will once again sing “Happy Birthday” for Murphy in Fort Lauderdale at another $5,200 bash. And on Saturday, March 30 (Murphy’s actual birthday), he’ll have annoyed supporters buy yet another cake for a Miami party hosted by Universal American Mortgage Company head Jimmy Timmons. Again, donation levels reach $5,200.
So why is Murphy turning his birthday into a weird 30-year-old version of a “Sweet 16″ and acting like an overprivileged teenage girl? It turns out that he’s one of the most vulnerable House Democrats in 2014, and needs all the monetary help he can get. Murphy barely won in 2012, narrowly defeating Republican Allen West in what has been called the “Dirtiest Race in America” — for proof of that, just Google “Patrick Murphy” and see what picture shows up on the side (for those who can’t see, it’s not exactly a Congressional portrait). That mug shot’s from a West attack ad last year, and Murphy will need money to compete with whatever the GOP throws at him in the next election. Just try not to let them catch you wearing this, Patrick — you might not be able to recover.
ICYMI – March Madne$$ funders
There are several other funders happening this week in PT, all of them related to the annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Lawmakers including Reps. Ducth Ruppersberger, D-Md., James Moran, D-Va., Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., are all throwing parties at Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games, some costing up to $5,000. If you want more info on these March Madness parties and more, check out the post PT wrote up earlier this week. Or listen to the dulcet tones of Sunlight’s own Kathy Kiely talk about these events on NPR’s Marketplace.
Until next time, Partiers.Tweet
When the NCAA men’s basketball tournament roars into DC next week, the scoring won’t be done solely on the court. At least eight March Madness-themed political fundraisers, some of which cost up to $5,000 a head, have surfaced in the Party Time database. Know about more? You know what to do.
The brackets are set, and lawmakers are taking advantage of the East Regionals — featuring No. 1 seed Indiana — tipping off at the Verizon Center in nearby Chinatown. With a single seat running upwards of $1,500 (and most already sold out), politicians aren’t letting such a hot ticket go to waste.
Unfortunately for Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., there will be no Maryland teams in the tourney for the second time in three years. But that isn’t stopping him from hosting two separate parties at the Verizon Center. On March 28, Ruppersberger will be hosting a Sweet 16 Doubleheader that will run PACs $2,000 and individuals $1,000. On March 30 he’ll break out his giant foam finger again to celebrate the Elite 8 Match-Up, again charging attendees $2,000/PAC and $1,000/individual.
Though his Pittsburgh Panthers made the tournament as a respectable eight seed, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., won’t get to root for his (graduate school) alma mater in person; Pitt’s playing 9th-ranked Wichita State in the West Region. But he too shall fundraise anyway, sticking to the same schedule as Ruppersberger: a Sweet 16 Doubleheader followed by an Elite 8 party. The events even have the same price points: $2,000 for PACs, $1,000 for individuals.
Two other representatives also have funders planned at the Verizon Center. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, will be the beneficiary of a $5,000 Sweet 16 Doubleheader (hey, that’s more than double the price of the others!). His 10th seeded Iowa State Cyclones are a popular pick to upset 7th seeded Notre Dame, but, like Moran, Braley won’t get to see his team in DC — the Cyclones are playing out West. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., doesn’t have a dog in the fight for NCAA supremacy, but he’ll be catching the second Sweet 16 match-up of March 28 at a $2,500 fundraiser nonetheless.
But the madness doesn’t stop there — other lawmakers have scheduled parties outside the Verizon Center’s hardwood court. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is hosting a March Madness Kickoff on Thursday at the townhouse of Diageo, the world’s biggest booze producer — the location seems odd, as Crapo is a Mormon and recently had a small drunk driving accident. As Crapo sips on his cranberry juice, PT bets the Harvard Law School grad will be rooting for the Crimson, a 14 seed playing a tough No. 3-ranked New Mexico squad later that night. Prices to the event max out at $2,500/PAC and $1,000/individual. If you are really crazy about college basketball, Sen. Dean Heller will be hosting an entire Weekend of Basketball for his supporters at the Palazzo in Las Vegas. There, fans can pay up to $2,500 to root for the hometown UNLV Rebels (a fifth seed) alongside Heller, as they play a stalwart 12th-ranked Cal.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who apparently likes to jump the gun, hosted his Gear Up for March Madness Reception on March 13, almost a week before the tournament actually starts. Taking place at Google’s Washington office and hosted by its own Google NetPAC, the event maxed out at $2,000 per PAC and $1,000 per individual.
And the National Republican Congressional Committee is taking a virtual approach, posting this fundraising video around a bracketology theme.
While recent studies show March Madness can lead to millions of lost dollars for businesses, PT’s own investigation has shown that it can also lead to huge profits — for lawmakers, that is.
Photo courtesy of YHoshua via Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Sure, there’s a new pope and he’s very humble and nice and all, but Party Time is more excited for the return of another nearly omnipotent figure — the Partier-In-Chief! Yes, President and heavyweight champion fundraiser Barack Obama is back, heading West for a Democratic gold rush in early April. The swing will retire some DNC debt and generate some cash for the DCCC as it launches into the 2014 midterm battle. Buzzfeed obtained an email sent by Bay Area Democrats Chair Wade Randlett describing the events: An April 4 brunch with a remarkable $32,000 price tag, as well as a lunch later that day that costs as much as $20,000. It seems like Obama hasn’t lost his touch — in fact, he looks better than ever.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; next week alone offers a bevy of quality parties to check out. See the highlights below.
Dingell raises funds with guns
After California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein’s verbal assault on Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a full ban on assault weapons yesterday — so what better time to have a fundraiser featuring guns! Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., will be having his Annual Pheasant Shoot on Monday in the small town of Boonsboro, Md. Dingell is an avid sportsman and vehemently pro-gun, receiving A+ ratings from the NRA. Prices are TBD, so if you’ve got the invite send it in here!
Cash Course for Crapo
Ever since Mormon Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, had that small drunk driving incident earlier this year, he’s been lying low in Party Time (and everywhere else). But that respite appears over, as PT picked up on eight upcoming parties planned in 2013 for his leadership PAC Freedom Fund, three of which are happening next week. He’ll be starting out with a Tuesday breakfast at top international law firm Faegre Baker Daniels on K Street, costing up to $2,500/PAC and $1,000/individual. Two days later, Crapo will be doubling up. First, he’ll celebrate the annual NCAA tournament with a March Madness Kick Off at the townhouse of Diageo — oddly enough, the world’s biggest producer of alcoholic drinks (Guinness, Smirnoff, Bailey’s, Captain Morgan, etc.). Prices for that event are also $2,500/PAC and $1,000/individual. Later that day, Crapo (pronounced CRAY-POE) will rush to Ruth’s Chris Steak House for dinner, again at the same price point. With all this partying scheduled, maybe Crapo should pump the brakes a bit.
Barrasso’s boys club
It’s going to be a boys night out for Senate Republicans on Monday, as Wyoming’s John Barrasso hosts his Leadership Reception. Riding along in the “Bro-jan Horse” will be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, John Thune, R-S.D., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan. It’s taking place right at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C. and will run guests as much as $5,000/PAC and $2,500/individual. The event will be benefiting his leadership fund, Common Values PAC (apparently the only value they approve of having in common is conservatism). And don’t worry, girls are allowed — as long as they bring the entry fee.
GOP forgives, forgets and fundraises for DesJarlais
Talk about forgive and forget — House Republicans forgave, forgot and are now fundraising for embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. Or at least some of them. As a practicing doctor, the pro-life, family-values oriented lawmaker encouraged not only his wife to have an abortion, but his mistress and patients as well, according to divorce proceedings. The controversy is apparently too much for one Republican, Minnesotan John Kline, who said this week he would not attend the event after originally lending his name to it. But other DesJarlais colleagues are evidently on board to help Tuesday at the Capitol Hill Club, such as House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa, Calif., and Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Frank Lucas, Okla., as well as Reps. Jim Jordan, Ohio, Tom Price, Ga., and Steve Scalise, La. The price to let everyone know you’ve truly forgiven DesJarlais is $1,000/PAC and $500/individual.
#Stand (and #fundraise) with Rand
Fresh off his filiblizzard of now-CIA Director John Brennan, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will be capitalizing on all that attention with a Reception and Dinner on Tuesday. It’s located at the UPS townhouse, and transportation industry groups like BNSF RailPAC are hosting. Also on the host committee are eye-popping groups like the National Association for Gun Rights (which sits to the right of the NRA, and has contributed to Paul before) and the PAC of the infamous nonprofit group Citizens United. And don’t forget the power lobbyists like Doyce Boesch, Kirk Blalock and Hunter Bates. If you’d like to stand with Rand, and use him as your personal sounding board, just pony up $5,000 per PAC or $2,500 per person.
Paul Ryan makes a “Schocking” appearance
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., released a new budget proposal that “changed the conversation” on fixing America’s economy… according to Paul Ryan. If you’d like to hear Ryan talk about his game-changing policies, catch him stumping for conservative young gun Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., at his Reception and Dinner on March 21. It takes place at the Five Points Washington — Washington, Illinois, that is. The fundraiser exhibits how highly the former VP candidate thinks of Schock — Ryan’s been in high demand since the election, but has largely stayed off the party circuit. Plus it’s only $250 to get in — all the more reason to attend.
In case you missed it
Mr. Indecision A.K.A. Newark Mayor Cory Booker also has three events this week benefiting his Senate campaign committee, but PT already covered his fundraising explosion with a detailed stand-alone post here. Also make sure to read up the surge of fundraisers for lawmakers involved in the debate over immigration reform, featuring corporate-sponsored funders for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, members of the “Gang of 8″ and more.
Until next time, Partiers!
Photo courtesy of Pete Souza via Wikimedia CommonsTweet
While Newark Mayor Cory Booker hasn’t explicitly said he’s running for a Senate seat in New Jersey, his party-hard actions indicate otherwise. Party Time has located at least ten cross-country fundraisers taking place in March and April where the beneficiary isn’t just “Cory Booker” or “Newark Mayor Booker” — it’s his FEC-approved committee “Cory Booker for Senate.”
The partying surges just next week, where Booker will attend two events in the same day. Hizzoner will start March 21 at the prestigious Madison Avenue law offices of Quinn Emanuel, where they’ll be treating donors to a $5,200 Lunch Reception. Later that same day, he’ll rush back home to Newark for a $1,000 Reception at the swanky Adega Grill.
Booker will then fly down for a tour of the Sunshine State, including a couple of parties at private residences. The first, a March 22 cocktail reception in F0rt Lauderdale, takes place at attorney (and modest Democratic donor) Ben Lap’s house with a maximum price tag of $1,000. The following day Booker will be at it again, scheduling a $5,200 Lunch Reception at the Palm Beach home of commercial property owner Scott Baker. Adding his Florida swing, that brings Booker’s total to four funders in just three days.
After a brief respite, Booker will head to the tried-and-true District of Cash. On April 1st he’ll be toasting with yuppies around the nation’s capital with an appropriately cheaper Young Professionals Reception. The event is taking place at the Adams Morgan hot spot Jack Rose, and will only run guests $100/$40. His next stop will be a return to NYC, where Rockefeller University Hospital head doc Barry Coller will open his Park Avenue apartment for a la-dee-dah cocktail reception. The price level for this event is a flat $1,000.
If you’re not impressed so far, Booker’s California gold rush in late April will probably do the trick. The $5,000 special evening event on April 26 may not sound special based on the price, but the guest list will leave your jaw on the floor. First of all, it’s located at the Beverly Hills (90210!) mansion of prolific film producer Jerry Weintraub, who already contributed $5,000 to Booker’s own CoryPAC in 2011 according to Sunlight’s Influence Explorer. He also gave $4,600 to N.J. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s last (and final) campaign in 2007-08, the seat Booker has his eye on; it seems Weintraub has moved on, despite Lautenberg suggesting that Booker deserves a “spanking” for having the temerity to ogle the Senate seat before the 89-year-old incumbent announced plans to retire. Which Lautenberg eventually did. Another former Lautenberg donor on the host committee was Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who, with his wife, Marilyn, were the 12th highest contributors in the 2012 election. Together they gave over $360,000 to Democrats in addition to $3 million for Obama’s super PAC, Priorities USA.
But he’s not the only Hollywood megastar/megadonor to be listed on the invite — many of whom kickstarted President Obama’s historically monstrous campaign. The host committee boasts director Steven Spielberg, actor Bruce Willis, producer JJ Abrams, director Rob Reiner and more. Other names on the list are lesser-known, yet remain significant sponsors. Ted Sarandos, the Chief Content Officer for Netflix, chipped in over $75,000 to liberals last election. Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger also contributed over $80,000 to Democratic causes, including Obama Victory. Sony America CEO Michael Lynton gave almost $90,000, including $55,800 to the DNC. Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco, donated to 100% blue candidates. And don’t forget the bundlers! James and Mai Lassiter, who have bundled $500,000 for Obama, will be on hand. As will HBO exec James Costos and his partner, the uniquely-named interior designer Michael Smith — first he revamped Obama’s Oval Office and then packed his coffers with $500,000+ worth of bundled goodness (read: other people’s money). Partiers, there’s so much star power at this funder it could energize the Sun.
But guess what — there’s more! Booker will head up the coast to the San Francisco offices of Keker and Van Nest LLP for an evening reception on April 27. It’s not the first time the law office has been the location of a Booker party, and both namesake partners, John Keker and Robert Van Nest, have each given tens of thousands to Democratic causes. Among the hosts are wealthy philanthropists Lisa and Doug Goldman, huge donors who have held fundraisers for high-level Democrats, including Obama. Bay Area Democrats founding board member Wade Randlett and his wife, Lorda, are both big Obama bundlers. Several Keker and Van Nest lawyers are co-hosting as well, including Quyen Ta, Jamie Slaughter, Jon Streeter, Michael Celio and Matan Shacham.
All this comes after two additional fundraisers that occurred earlier this month. On March 3, Booker traveled to nearby Summit, N.J. for an elegant Cocktail Reception. The event happened at the home of power couple Archie Gottesman and Gary DeBode, higher ups in Edison Properties LLC, both of whom donated modestly to Democrats in 2012. Other on the host committee include Summit Mayor Jordan Glatt and theater actor (and Summit resident) Harriett Trangucci. Price points were $1,000 for VIP status, and $500/$350 for less important persons. The second, a pricey $5,200 Special Dinner Reception in San Francisco, took place on March 12th at the home of investment banker John Scully. Booker and Scully have been in contact before, and it seems they’ve taken a liking to each other. Other hosts include billionaire son of Gap Inc. founders John Fisher, who has given to Booker in the past, as well as Steve Phillips, the director of PAC+ — an organization “powered by a bunch of really cool people” that supports Booker. Their website just might give away Booker’s very secret intention to run for Senate.
Booker is ramping up the fundraising efforts amid multiple polls showing him atop the heap of potential candidates. He may be using this surge to play cash catch up with competitor Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who has over $3 million in the bank to fund his campaign. Another possible candidate, Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., has about $800,000 cash-on-hand.
The fundraiser event pages were all located on Booker’s own public website; however, the specific pages were hidden from normal view and only accessible through searches. With so many fundraisers lurking behind the scenes, Booker may publicly be in denial — but privately it seems as if his mind’s made up.
Updated 3/15 — added two previous fundraisers in early March.
Photo courtesy of David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.Tweet
With the debate over comprehensive immigration reform well underway, naturally the time has come for lobbyists to barge in and take it over! Party Time has noticed a recent surge in fundraisers for some lawmakers holding influence over the immigration issue — including events at top private sector players — and PT knows throwing a party can be one of the best ways to access legislators and promote a particular point of view. So far, PT counts more than 50 such funders scheduled for 2013! While many of the soirees here could merely be run-of-the-mill campaign events, there is a possibility that they provide an opportunity for special interests to curry favor with Congress — and offer their two cents about how they’d like immigration reform to happen.
Several tech companies are lobbying on immigration, hoping to loosen restrictions on obtaining visas for science and skilled workers. Microsoft is at the top of list, posting 33 lobbying reports involving immigration in 2012. Microsoft’s D.C. policy center is also the site of two fundraisers this year — one a $2,500 breakfast for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the other a $5,000 dinner for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. The fact that Microsoft hosted events for these two may not be a coincidence: Cruz sits on the Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee, and Collins is seen as a crucial centrist swing vote in affecting how immigration reform plays out. Other tech lobbying groups that have hosted a fundraiser include Google, which is throwing a $2,000 March Madness Reception for Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Oracle, which hosts a $2,000 lunch on May 9 for Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.
The hospitality industry is heavily involved in immigration reform as well. Marriott International is a major employer of immigrants, so it’s no surprise to see that as the company’s top lobbying issue. Marriott’s political action committee has hosted two fundraisers for Collins: One is the aforementioned dinner at Microsoft’s D.C. office, while the other is a $5,000 Kick-Off Reception that includes Republican higher ups like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., and Sen. John Cornyn, Texas, who also happens to be his party’s top-ranking member on the and immigration subcommittee.
Also co-hosting Collins’ kick off is the American Hospital Association, another immigration heavy hitter. The healthcare industry hopes to loosen restrictions on medically skilled immigrants, as it employs many as nurses and physicians. More medical groups are also organizing events for Sen. Orrin Hatch, including a $5,000 breakfast thanks to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and another $5,000 breakfast thanks to the Advanced Medical Technology Association and others. Oh, and Hatch conveniently sits on the immigration subcommittee as well.
Leading the charge in legislating reform is the Senate’s “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group that is privately crafting a sweeping bill. Republicans in the gang have been partying it up, like newly-elected Jeff Flake, Ariz., who’s got at least five events this year. Flake, who also serves on the subcommittee for immigration, even had three funders in two days from March 12 to 13.
Another conservative on the gang is Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is emerging as his party’s spokesman on immigration. The son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio has had at least two fundraisers this year, including a weekend at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla. where prices rise to $10,000. One Republican who’s balancing reform and re-election is Lindsey Graham, S.C., who has three parties lined up in 2013 so far. Graham, who is also on the Judiciary Committee, has a campaign kickoff event at the NRSC costing a max of $10,000. The lone Republican without a PT event is Flake’s fellow Arizonan John McCain. He’s not up for reelection until 2016.
Of the four Democrats, only Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, who serves on the Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee, has a fundraiser posted in the PT database. His sole party is a March 15 breakfast co-benefitting himself and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. The other three — Sens. Robert Menendez, N.J., Chuck Schumer, N.Y., and Michael Bennet, Colo. — have been M.I.A. in PT.
Congressional members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees will also play a significant role in determining how immigration reform plays out, and several members have thrown multiple fundraisers where lobbyists could grab some face time. Ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has held three events this year and has another planned for late March, though none have hosts listed. In addition to the two medical industry-sponsored breakfasts mentioned before, Hatch has six others in 2013 so far, all hosted by a lobbyist or PAC.
PT has asked this question before but it bears repeating: What’s Hatch, who just ended a successful reelection campaign with no debts and who will be 84 when he next has to face the voters, going to do with all the campaign cash he’s amassing?
But we digress: Cornyn, the top Republican on immigration, is up for reelection next year. He has six parties of his own this year, including a $5,000 March 14 breakfast located at Pfizer’s D.C. offices and hosted by Pfizer and Lilly, a pharmaceutical company that lobbied on immigration last year. Other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee collecting cash this year include Texas Sen Ted Cruz (3 events), Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (1 event), and Utah Sen. Mike Lee (1 event).
Though conservatives have been partying hard, only one Democrat on the committee has a fundraiser in PT for 2013, Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The Minnesotan will be the beneficiary of a $5,000 reception on March 21 in D.C. Klobuchar is a member of the subcommittee on immigration.
On the House side, there isn’t much fundraising appearing in the PT calendar on either side. Reps. Mark Amodei (1 event), R-Nev., and Joe Garcia (2 events), D-Fla., are the only members sitting on the subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security to have PT events in 2013. Ranking member of the Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., had a Super Bowl party with prices up to $10,000, while fellow Democrats Jerrold Nadler, N.Y., and Ted Deutch, Fla., each had one event in 2013 so far. Aside from these PT has no funders on record for the rest of the committee, including Chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) will be a major player in passing immigration legislation, and certain members have been busy partying. The CHC’s own political action committee, BOLD PAC, is holding a Spring Kick Off Reception at the offices of Comcast, a lobbying titan that nevertheless hasn’t touched immigration policy. The highest ranking member of the CHC to throw a party in 2013 is 2nd vice chair Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, who benefitted from a $5,000 evening reception at the 21st Century Group townhouse on Jan. 15. Rep. Xavier Beccera, D-Calif., is another CHC player with significant clout, and he’s holding a March 15 breakfast that’s running guests up to $5,000. CHC members Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., Albio Sires, D-N.J., and Nydia Velasquez, D-N.Y., are all in the PT database benefitting from one party each, with no hosts listed.
Some instances may not seem like much, but all of these fundraisers provide an opportunity for immigration lobbyists to schmooze with lawmakers, especially events that are explicitly hosted by special interests. Let’s just hope that members of Congress are smart enough to make up their own minds.
(Photo credit: U.S. Border Patrol via Wikimedia Commons)Tweet
“Daddy, Mommy — where were you when the legendary snowquester hit?”
This is a question literally no one will ever be asked. Left with a grand total of zero inches of snow, Washington crumbled in the cruel wake of what could only be described as a pounding hard drizzle with an absolute torrent of breezy snow flurries. As always, D.C. proved its renowned wimpiness by shutting down everything, including the federal government, the second those fear mongers at the Capital Weather Gang mentioned the word “snow.” It even prompted several lawmakers to postpone their most sacred duty — fundraising, of course. At least three Washington area parties were rescheduled, including those of Reps. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Jim Himes, D-Conn. (note the time change at the top of each invite). One thing the snowquester (ugh) didn’t stop was Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., filibustering — excuse me, filiblizzarding (double ugh) – Obama’s nominee for CIA Director, John Brennan. Paul put on an inspiring display of inefficiency, holding the Senate floor for over 12 hours to question the legitimacy of America’s drone program. But that’s not all — the National Republican Senatorial Committee even took advantage of this display of moral principle to collect some cash on the side. We here at Party Time say “bravo” to that.
Spitzer Stumps for Markey
Senate hopeful Ed Markey, D-Mass., has become a staple in the PT database as the race to fill John Kerry’s seat heats up. Now he’s enlisting the help of Eliot Spitzer to raise some necessary cash for his campaign. Spitzer and his long-suffering (to put it mildly) wife, Silda, are listed as hosts for a March 13 reception at his sister Emily’s house. This association has come under fire from the GOP, which suggests that Markey shouldn’t pair up with the disgraced Spitzer, who lost his job as New York governor after an earlier visit to Washington that didn’t work out quite so well. Markey’s campaign has held firm about the event, however, retorting: “If the Massachusetts GOP really cared about campaign finance issues they would take its potential nominees to task for refusing to sign the people’s pledge.” The reference is to a proposed deal to bar the use of funds from outside groups like super PACs. Tickets to the event run from $5,000 to $500.
Markey will also be the beneficiary of a March 11 reception at Regis College. He’ll be seeking votes in the wealthy town of Weston, Mass. — among the 100 most affluent towns (with at least 1,000 households) in the entire nation, in fact. Sounds like a great place to party! Tickets to this event run from $5,200 to just $100.
The Billionaire and the Bubba
Terry McAuliffe, who’s running as a Democrat for Virginia governor, partnered with Bill Clinton just last week to fundraise, and now they’re already back at it. The home of hedge fund billionaire Marc Lasry in New York City is the spot for this March 13 reception, where Clinton’s former Chief Advisor Doug Band will also be hosting. Turns out that all these guys are longtime friends: Band, Clinton and McAuliffe have all worked together for the Dems, while Lasry has opened his home for multiple blue funders that Clinton and others have attended. It’s been effective in the past, so it’s no surprise they’re performing an encore. Prices are TBD for this one, so if you’ve got the details let us know by uploading it here!
Campaign Kick-Off Craze
Springtime is often seen as a time of rebirth or new beginnings, and since it’s right around the corner, what better symbolic time to hold a campaign’s first funder! PT’s got a grand total of five parties next week with the word “kick-off” in the title. Without further ado, let’s kick off this list of kick-offs:
After all those kick-offs, it seems lawmakers need a new way to say that. At least Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., used the word “debut” for a March 14 luncheon benefitting his brand new “Healthcare Freedom Fund.” Located at Republican hotspot the Capitol Hill Club, this meal runs anywhere from $5,000 to $500.
Legislative Ladies Do Lunch
It’s appropriate that today, International Women’s Day, PT covers Rep. Terri Sewell’s 2nd Annual Ultimate Ladies’ Power Lunch on March 14. She’s teaming up with special guest Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to celebrate the women in Congress and around the country. It’s taking place at the Credit Union House, owned by every statewide credit union trade association. Tickets for lunch cost up to $5,000/PAC and $2,500/personal. But wait — is Sewell skirting the laws of “annual?” She’s also hosting an event billed as a “2nd Annual Ultimate Ladies’ Power Lunch” today! This one is in her home state Alabama and features Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., costing only $1,000 to $100 for entry. Two “annual” lunches in one week? What gives, Terri?
Catsimatidis Crowds the Theaters
In this week’s unusual department, NYC Republican mayoral candidate, and supermarket/oil billionaire, John Catsimatidis has brought some innovation to the partying game. He spent upwards of $60,000 buying up all the tickets to 10 performances of “The Little Flower,” a one-man show by Tony Lo Bianco about former New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Catsimatidis is giving away all the tickets to schools, senior centers and GOP groups — but is turning one of them into a fundraiser (which show is still unknown). The reason for this play: “About six, seven years ago, [the] first time I saw the play, it inspired me and I said, ‘I want to become mayor and make the difference in this city the way Fiorello LaGuardia made,’” said Catsimatidis. PT has certainly never seen anything like this.
Until next time, Partiers!
Photo credit: Rehman Abubakr/Wikimedia CommonsTweet
After Mitt Romney took a nosedive and his campaign collapsed on Election Day, many pointed to the GOP’s widening fracture for its downfall. This rift between the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement and “establishment” Republicans has led to bitter friendly fire: The party couldn’t agree on how to deal with the sequester, tea partiers have alienated rising stars like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and now Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., has viciously set his sights on fellow GOPer and potential 2016 presidential nominee Marco Rubio. More specifically, the Florida senator’s fundraising habits. Rubio first voted against the federal Hurricane Sandy relief package (which already made King furious, and you can see why by getting a load of some of the damage in his district, pictured above), and then the Floridian proceeded to court Wall Street for campaign cash. This prompted an eruption of Vesuvian proportions from King:
“It’s bad enough that these guys voted against it, that’s inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, ‘We screwed you now make us president?’… Rubio and these other Republican candidates are coming to New York to raise money… I don’t think any senator or congressman who voted against aid for Sandy should get one nickel from New York.”
Yikes — it looks like the GOP chasm just got a little deeper. But it certainly won’t stop Republicans from fundraising, and next week PT’s got some lucrative parties from both sides of the aisle. Check them out below.
Terry McAuliffe ran in the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial race, but came up just a tiny bit short; all right, he lost by 23 points in the Democratic primary. But now he’s back with a vengeance — and with fundraising MVP Bill Clinton! McAuliffe is enlisting Bubba’s support for a March 5 reception at the Palm Beach area home of liberal fundraiser John Morgan. The event will costs guests up to $10,000, or as little as $500. McAuliffe is a long-time friend of (and fundraiser for) the Clintons; he co-chaired Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and chaired Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2008 bid for the presidency. This might be just Bubba’s way of saying “Thanks.”
Colbert Busch Comes to D.C.
In what’s becoming a regular segment here at Party Time, candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the older sister of fake-conservative Stephen Colbert, is hosting another fundraiser — but this time she’s left the Palmetto State for the District. In a tip from our friends over at the Center for Public Integrity, Colbert Busch’s first Washington party is a March 4 reception with S.C. Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn. Tickets stretch to $5,000 per PAC and $2,600 per person, and little bro Stephen isn’t scheduled to be on-hand. Fun fact (from Politico): Unlike Stephen, “Lulu” pronounces her last name with a hard “t.” With the primary just 18 days away, look for more ColberT Busch funders coming up!
Markey Forges Onward
As soon as Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., announced he was running for the newly opened Senate seat, his fundraising calendar heated up. This week is no exception, as he continues to generate some serious campaign cash at a March 7 reception in Boston. Taking place at the law offices of Kearney, Donovan and McGee, the “Clean Tech Community” event will cost attendees a maximum of $2,600.
Hatching a Plan
In the fiscal cliff deal, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, defended a provision that saved the biopharmaceutical corporation Amgen millions. Now it seems he’s cozying up to a larger swath of the medical world as AdvaMed, WellPAC and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement PAC host a breakfast for him on March 7. The $5,000/$1,000 price tag will benefit Hatch’s leadership PAC, ORRIN PAC, and seems to be one of the first steps in a larger fundraising push — he’s got at least six funders coming up. Unusual for a senator who just ended a successful campaign with no debt. Could Orrin already be planning a bid for an eighth term? He’ll be 84 on his next Election Day.
Cornyn Getting Nervous?
The Lone Star State’s senior Republican senator, John Cornyn, recently was declared the second-most conservative member of the Senate, but that still might not be good enough for Texas voters. Up for re-election in 2014, Cornyn may be targeted by the Tea Party in the primary — and opposition candidates are popping up already. To prepare for this attack, Cornyn is doing two things — undergoing an extreme makeover to appeal to ultra-conservatives, and raising boatloads of cash! He’s got two events planned next week: The first is a PAC-only Financial Services Dinner on Monday, costing a flat $5,000. The second is a lunch at Capitol Tax Partners right on the Hill, with a maximum price of $1,500/PAC and $1,000/personal.
New DCCC Finance Chair Himes Shows Off His Skills
As the 2014 midterm elections draw nearer, the Democrats’ fundraising machine, the DCCC, has chosen Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., as its new national finance chairman. Himes has connections and knows how to work them — he was employed on Wall Street for 12 years at Goldman Sachs, and took home over $3.2 million for his own 2012 campaign. He’s getting started for the next election already, hosting a small dinner at Fiola on March 6. Prices run up to $2,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals. The DCCC came off a great month in January, out-raising the NRCC by $1.7 million — we’ll see if Himes can keep up the torrid pace, and also pay off the substantial debts still remaining.
Capito Ready to Run
It seems as though the Republicans have already chosen their candidate to fill the Senate seat in West Virginia that retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller is vacating. The seemingly chosen one: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., daughter of the state’s former Gov. (and ex-con) Arch Moore. With Rockefeller gone, no significant Democrat yet in the race and Republican challengers backing down, it seems like an ideal climate for the GOP to steal a seat in 2014. Because of this, the NRSC has promoted several Capito fundraisers in the coming weeks to further their advantage. On March 5, Capito will be holding a $1,000/PAC, $500/individual dinner at the offices of Navigators LLC. And there will be a second fundraiser the very next day, a Pharmaceutical Industry Meet and Greet on Wednesday with industry giants Pfizer and Eisai. Welcome to Washington, Shelley.
Until next time, Partiers!
Photo credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency via Flickr
As February turns to March, isn’t spring supposed to melt away the snow and warm the air? Not exactly, it seems. (Oh, and thanks for nothing you stupid groundhog.) We may not be able to count on Mother Nature anymore, but another, more predictable season is in full-swing — fundraising time! PT’s calendar is once again stuffed with parties as politicians awake from their winter slumbers, primed to rake in the big bucks like a newly-awakened bear foraging for honey. It’s a busy week ahead, so without further ado, check the highlights for next week.
The Colbert Bump: Part 2
Just one day after stumping for big sis Lulu in the Big Apple, Stephen Colbert will be at it again on Saturday — this time in their home state of South Carolina. The first part of the night includes a private reception and bowling at The Alley in downtown Charleston, with prices up to $2,600 to get in. If you’d like a more intimate experience with the Rev. Dr. Colbert, follow the pack to a private dinner at a restaurant-to-be-named-later — you could even get your copy of America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t personally signed! Expect to shell out $5,200 to attend this event — and watch out for those just out of hibernation, newly-awakened bears!
Welcome to the Club, Tim
“Hey there, freshly-appointed Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and welcome to the upper chamber! It’s so nice to have you. Now get fundraising.” This is the message Scott received, and he heard it loud and clear — he’s got five fundraisers coming up in the next few weeks already. His first forays come at a luncheon on Feb. 26 at the townhouse of Fluor Corp., a global engineering and construction firm. Looks like Scott has picked up on the senatorial partying habits just fine! Price for admission is up to $2,000 PAC and $1,000 personal.
Go West, Emanuel!
Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has recently seen his approval ratings suffer — only 2% of Chicagoans surveyed said they strongly approve of his performance. Although the invite merely says it’s “honoring” Emanuel, maybe the mayor should whisk himself away to the Bay Area for a dinner reception at the home of Doug and Lisa Goldman, the uber-rich founders of the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund. Attendance is $500 across the board. Perhaps the brief respite would heal his aching feelings — or maybe he just doesn’t care at all.
Fitzpatrick Tries Again — This Time With Boehner
Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., hasn’t had the best of luck with partying. During the 2011 inauguration of Congress, he missed the official swearing-in ceremony to attend a reception that was possibly for fundraising. This ran afoul of certain rules in the Constitution, one of them requiring that the oath be taken within proximity of the Speaker. Well, Fitzpatrick isn’t going to let the speaker out of his sight because Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is going to be at his Feb. 27 reception at the Capitol Hill Club. Prices for admission run from $5,000 to $500.
Rubio Takes a Swig
You may have seen Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., giving the rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union — one part in particular, at least. The infamous “water bottle” incident, where Rubio awkwardly paused to quench his thirst, looked bad at first, but he’s turned this one around by selling over $100,000 in “Rubio” branded water bottles. And he’s adding to that by hosting a Feb. 27 dinner benefitting his Reclaim America PAC at Wolfgang Puck’s The Source. Attendees will have to pony up $5,000 to get in — and please, don’t slurp your water.
…And Markey’s Off!
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the frontrunner to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by John Kerry, is officially starting the race by hosting a Kick-Off Reception on the last day of February. He’s been campaigning for several weeks, but everyone knows it’s not a race until the partying begins. Look for many more Markey fundraisers to pour in the next several weeks as this heats up. In fact, the PT database already has several lined up. The Boston-based party includes a luxurious 30-minute pre-reception, where prices rise as much as $10,000, but sticking to the normal deal only goes for $500-$100.
Christie Keeps Up the Pace
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie has been keeping a relatively active fundraising schedule, including a stint out west that included a high-profile party with Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg. And all this money-grubbing comes despite his overwhelming odds to win re-election and his already healthy pile of change. Even so, he’s showing little sign of slowing up — on Feb. 28, Christie is enlisting the help of fellow Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia for a dinner reception. The McLean, Va. event has an asking price of $3,800.
Only the intrepid will venture out to Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s latest fundraiser — three days traveling through the Alaskan tundra following the 41st Iditarod dog-sled race. Called the “Last Great Race on Earth,” the course travels over 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, and competitors face wind chills as low as -100 degrees. And the record time to complete this event is about 8 1/2 days. Is it worth the $3,000 PAC/$1,000 personal to attend? Count us out.
Wasserman Schultz Takes You Out to the Ballgame
If you’d rather enjoy the sunny weather of Florida instead of freezing cold of Alaska, then Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz may have the fundraiser for you! She’s hosting a Spring Training Weekend to celebrate the start of America’s pastime. Unfortunately, the two teams playing are the Phillies and the Yankees, so most every baseball fan will probably be booing both teams. Either way, this weekend trip also includes a welcome reception and spa events that will be more enjoyable than seeing the Yankees play. Prices for this event run up to $5,000 for PACs and $2,500 for individuals and will benefit Wasserman Schultz’s leadership PAC, Democrats Win Seats. Is there a way for both teams to lose?
Until next time, Partiers!
(Photo credit: iStockphoto.com)Tweet
Former Democratic Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. pleaded guilty this morning of using over $750,000 of campaign funds to buy personal items. At least he risked his career and illegally used the money to buy really important things though, right? Not unless one thinks Michael Jackson’s old fedora ($4,600), or a reversible mink parka ($1,200), or even Bruce Lee memorabilia that belonged to Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of life’s necessities!
Jackson, Jr., the son of famed civil rights leader, and failed presidential candidate, Rev. Jesse Jackson, raised a substantial amount of his campaign cash through political fundraisers. The PT database shows him as a prolific partier, throwing nearly 30 fundraisers stretching back to 2007. However, starting with the run-up to Jackson, Jr.’s medical leave for exhaustion in June of 2012 there is no further fundraising activity. His record of nine events occurred in 2009, and he was fundraising as late as February of last year at a reception with DCCC chair Steve Israel, D-N.Y. According to the Washington Post, Jackson, Jr. spent hundreds of thousands from 2005 through April of last year; this means all the invites in PT fall into that period of time, and funds from them could possibly have been used to purchase personal items illegally.
Many of these events are run-of-the-mill Capitol Hill fundraisers: Quick meals or receptions, three-tiered price points ($5,000/$2,500/$1,000) and located at the usual high-end D.C. restaurants (Johnny’s Half Shell, Art and Soul, Charlie Palmer’s, etc.). Jackson, Jr. didn’t have any (relatively) extravagant, high-dollar parties — the tallest asking amount was $5,000, which was the price tag on 11 events (one donation at that level and he’s already 1/9th of the way to buying a new watch!). It seems Jackson, Jr. had the usual recipe down.
The former lawmaker also loved to combine his love of sports in his partying, everything from bowling to fishing. He supported his hometown Chicago Bulls when they came to town, hosting a pair of $2,500 events at the Verizon Center on Feb. 22 and Feb. 28 of 2011. The first fundraiser on record is a $2,500 Chicago Bears versus Washington Redskins game in 2007, when they still played at FedEx Field. Jackson Jr. even had an Inaugural Bowling Night in 2008 set to the theme of a certain Coen Brothers’ movie (hint: one of the price levels was “The Dude”).
21st Century Group lobbyist Jocelyn Hong, Party Time’s #1 all-time host, has also offered her services to Jackson, Jr. Twice Hong has hosted birthday celebrations at the 21st Century townhouse, for his 44th birthday in 2009 and his 45th in 2010. He also held a Taste of Chicago Reception at the townhouse, located at 434 New Jersey Avenue, SE, in December of 2011 where no host was listed. All three of those had a maximum asking price of $5,000.
One thing PT did not find in it’s vast data: Raghuveer Nayak, an ex-Jackson, Jr. fundraiser who was connected to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s plot to fill President Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. Nayak was arrested in June of last year for a host of fraud and tax violations.Tweet
Beneficiary: congressional candidate, lawmaker, or entity which collects funds raised at party
Host: person who is hosting party-often, but not always, a registered federal lobbyist
Venue Name: where the party is
Entertainment Type: type of gathering, such as "breakfast," "ski trip," "bowling"
Other Lawmakers Mentioned: lawmakers mentioned on invitation who are used as a draw for the event
Sunlight's Party Time is a project to track parties for members of Congress or congressional candidates that happen all year round in Washington, D.C. and beyond. (read more)
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.