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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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PartyTimeData Partytime Uncategorized • POSTED - 10.22.13 BY Peter Olsen-Phillips

Toot! Toot!! All aboard the de Blasio train!

It seems like everyone is jumping on the Bill de Blasio bandwagon these days.

The NYC mayoral candidate who started out as an also-ran in the Democratic primary, de Blasio surged to capture his party’s nomination and is currently throttling his Republican opponent in the polls. His ‘tale of two cities’ platform has made his campaign exhibit A for progressive success stories.

However, while de Blasio has cast himself as a champion of the Big Apple’s underclass, an invitation for his Oct. 21 fundraiser with Hillary Clinton and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., at midtown Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel shows that he’s not having any trouble finding support amongst the city’s elite.

While the presumptive mayor’s populist rhetoric has irked some of Wall Street’s major players, at least one of the financial world’s biggest players is throwing his weight behind the de Blasio camp. The invite lists Sandy Frucher — Chairman of NASDAQ among the reception’s “Chairs” meaning that he and his wife raised at least $25,000 for the campaign. Others included in this list of high rollers are a restaurant magnate, a prominent state lobbyist and several legal professionals.

In sharp contrast with outgoing mayor — billionaire Michael Bloomberg – De Blasio has capitalized on the ‘99 percent’ sentiment that accompanied the Occupy Wall Street Movement and even stated that he supported efforts to “build spaces” for an Occupy Wall Street forum (though he has since clarified that he did not mean physical structures). However, there comes a time when every politician needs a little help from some deep-pocketed friends.

In total nine supporters earned the rarified distinction of event chair, while 35 others raised the requisite $10,000 for a chance to take a photo-op with the would-be mayor and the former State Department head. The New York Daily News reports that the event raised over $1 million for de Blasio’s camp.

The seven-figure soirée was not the first political encounter between de Blasio and Hillary Clinton — the candidate managed Clinton’s successful bid for U.S. Senate in 2000. Which just goes to show that it really does pay to have friends in high places. De Blasio went on to represent part of Brooklyn on New York City Council and then won election as the city’s public advocate, a high profile office that has allowed its occupants to cast themselves as defenders of the taxpayers against big government.

The invitations in Party Time’s records show that Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota’s fundraisers have mainly targeted smaller contributions, though he has also received a helping hand in from some of the city’s wealthiest — Lhota’s birthday funder featured the CEOs of both the American International Group and the Loews Corporation.

As always if one of our intrepid partiers finds the deets on other mayoral fundraisers, send ‘em this way. We love New York parties!

Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 10.21.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Clintons tag-team in New York, Cruz to have an Iowa weekend

America, congratulations: Your government is up and running again! Feel free to check out the reinstated panda cam, visit your nearest now-open National Park, and call the Environmental Protection Agency, you know, because you can.

After 16 days of shutdown-induced uncertainty, the government is sprouting to life again, and politicians and the lobbyists who love them are celebrating with fundraising events. The Clintons are getting busy in New York for a handful of local races, and President Barack Obama will follow them there to help Democratic House candidates. Meanwhile, Iowa lights up for Republicans looking to raise some campaign cash.

Busy Bill

Bill Clinton is wading into the waters of several local races in New York.

The Democratic Party’s favorite social butterfly will fundraise for David Fried, running for Rockland County Executive, at 5 p.m. Oct. 21 at Nyack Seaport. Fried, an aide in the Clinton administration in the late ’90s, secured the former president’s endorsement in April during the six-person primary race. Tickets range from $500 to $5,000 to party on the Hudson.

Organizers for Noam Bramson’s campaign will be keeping their fingers crossed that that event finishes on time, seeing as Clinton is headlining a 7 p.m. fundraiser for their candidate across the river. Bramson is running for Westchester County executive, and hopes to raise up to $10,000 per person Monday night. Last Friday, a local organization of African-American and Latino leaders called on Clinton to cancel the funder, stating Bramson “is not deserving of the honor of standing with a real leader that respects the black community.” As of press time, the event is still a go.

On Wednesday, Bill heads to Leonard’s Palazzo in Great Neck to raise some cash for Tom Suozzi, candidate for Nassau County Executive. Not sure what the ex-prez’s vegan diet will permit him to snack on at the Italian eatery that skews toward meat and cheese, but we heard he’s broken the rules every once in a while.

And, not to be outdone, Hillary parties with N.Y.C. mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio on Monday at the Roosevelt Hotel. The event will put you back between $1,000 and $25,000, the latter of which gets you into a private reception and photo op with Clinton and de Blasio.

Looks like a week of multitasking for the Clinton clan.

Obama travels to the Big Apple

The shutdown caused Michelle Obama to cancel a West Coast tour of fundraisers a few weeks ago, but her husband will be back on the trail this week.

Obama’s been bopping around the country quite a bit this year, raising funds for Democratic candidates in next year’s congressional races. Obama will attend a Friday night funder for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in New York City.  He has another one scheduled for the end of the month in Weston, Mass., to raise money for House races.

However, a reported Oct. 21 trip to Dallas doesn’t show up on Obama’s White House schedule for the week, available here thanks to Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, a major friend of PT. According to an earlier Politico report, the president was to have been the headliner for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the Texas dinner and reception.

Raising money, talking issues

Thursday and Friday find Obama and a fistful of other Democrats and their operatives at the Grand Hyatt in downtown D.C. for the National Issues Conference. This is the 20th annual conference for the DNC’s Women’s Leadership Forum.

Students can attend for $25, but general admission starts at $250. For $32,400, you can be a forum board member, and partake in two – yes, TWO! – photo receptions on Friday. What a deal.

Dinner at the Iowa Fair

Iowa, always a popular hangout for politicians hoping to increase their national profile, is a busy hotspot for Republicans this weekend. Sen. Ted Cruz, who said last week that he “will continue to do anything I can to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” will headline the Ronald Reagan Commemorative Dinner in Des Moines on Friday night.

The Iowa State Fairgrounds, home of fried butter on a stick, will host the two-hour event with Cruz and other GOP luminaries (Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen. Chuck Grassley). People can attend the dinner for $100, or pony up $750 for a VIP reception and a ticket to sit at Cruz’s table for dinner.

Hunting for dollars … and pheasants

For those aiming (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) to make a weekend of it in the Hawkeye State, a two-day hunting excursion may be in order. Rep. Steve King is holding his annual pheasant hunt and “Defenders of Freedom” lunch talk in Akron on Saturday and Sunday. The hunting starts at 8 a.m.!

Sen. Cruz is making the most of his Iowa trip, stopping in on Saturday to speak at the luncheon. While the lunch is $30 per person, $2,500 will get attendees the full weekend of events at the Hole N’ the Wall Lodge. Apparently, it also means “membership in King’s Inner Circle for 2013.” What does that even mean?

What a week, partiers! Let us know if you hear of anything good happening out there.

Photos courtesy Gage Skidmore, Flickr and Roger Goun, Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 10.14.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Reid heads to Florida, Hillary goes to N.Y.C.

Hello, faithful partiers! We are in week three of the government shutdown, and powwows between President Obama and congressional Republicans still dominate the headlines. In the midst of it all, we’ve kept our eye on which lawmakers pulled the plug on their parties and which ones opted to keep on keeping on.

The shutdown scrapped Michelle Obama’s West Coast tour during the long weekend. It was scheduled to feature a fistful of pricey funders in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, including an “off-the-cuff” discussion with the first lady at the private home of “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Philip Rosenthal and a “women’s brunch” with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in downtown San Francisco. No matter your political leanings, let’s all agree that canceling brunch is terrible news.

Between the shuttered government and the truncated week, the schedule is lighter than normal on events. But never fear – there are still opportunities to party on.

Reid Raises Dough

As the country marches toward the debt-ceiling limit on Oct. 17, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., marches down to Florida, hoping to raise some serious cash. The reception, in Heathrow, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 18, will benefit the Reid Majority Fund. For a cool $35,000, you, too, can host the event with John Morgan.

Morgan and his wife, Ultima, have hosted high-roller events at their home for Dems before, including a star-studded reelection fundraiser for President Barack Obama in 2011 and a reception with Bill Clinton in March for Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s Democratic candidate for governor.

As of press time, Reid was still advocating to push the next debt limit fight to 2015. If he doesn’t get his way, will he still go on with the event?

Florida Friday

Florida popped up on our radar again on Oct. 18 for a fundraising lunch for Carl Domino, the conservative businessman running against freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy. If you’ll recall, Murphy came to Capitol Hill after Allen West – an outspoken tea party favorite who rode the anti-spending fervor of 2010 to Congress – conceded that tight race for Florida’s 18th District seat in 2012.

Well, Domino wants to reclaim that seat for the GOP, and is hoping an hour long, $5,200-per-head lunch at D.C.’s Capitol Hill Club will help. Ready that checkbook.

Golfing for Dollars

On Tuesday, you can catch Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., on the golf course for two days of fun and fundraising at the Prairie Dunes Country Club.

Last week, the senior senator from Kansas learned of a from-the-right challenger in next year’s primary. Milton Wolf, a tea party activist and Obama’s cousin, dusted off the family jewels as he suggested it is “time for a change” when he announced his race against Roberts. The senator has been in Congress since 1981.

This is the third outing in as many years for Roberts at Prairie Dunes, where he’s hoping to raise $2,000 per person for a “golf outing.”

Hillary in the Big Apple

The Clintons have been diligent fundraisers for Terry McAuliffe in his run for governor of Virginia, with Bill heading to Florida in March and the couple hosting a shindig at their D.C. home at the end of September.

On Tuesday, Hillary heads to N.Y.C. to help raise some cash for McAuliffe, who recently picked up the much sought-after endorsement of former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. A recent poll put the former DNC chairman 8 points ahead of Republican Ken Cuccinelli four weeks before the election.

That does it for this week, you partying fiends. If you hear of any other shindigs, you know the drill – let us know!

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 10.09.13 BY Nancy Watzman

Despite shutdown, skiing resorts open for political fundraising

Good news for politicians who enjoy fundraising on the slopes! As winter nears, they can rest assured that some of the nation’s most celebrated ski areas are expected to open despite the government shutdown.

The famed resorts of Vail, Jackson Hole, Sun Valley have all been sites of congressional fundraisers–and are also are among the 121 nation’s ski areas that operate on U.S. Forest Service land. A National Ski Areas Association spokesperson said that the group expects no major impact from the shutdown, according to an Associated Press report published Monday. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell himself told the group that the ski area leases were not immediately affected, and most of the construction projects that required government approval for the new season are already complete. However, some projects that are under development may get slowed down because Forest Service staff are on furlough.

Party Time has not received any skiing-themed invitations for the coming winter yet–if you find any, please pass them along. But here are some notable skiing fundraisers past:

  • Vail resorts has attracted Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Rep. Edwin Perlmutter, D-Colo., Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and former Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.
  • Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev, has headed to Heavenly Valley on Lake Tahoe.
  • Rep. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, has chosen Sun Valley.
  • Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy0., hosts an annual Winter Snow Fling fundraiser in Jackson Hole.
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Mike Lee, both Republicans of Utah, like Deer Valley, as does Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska (Though this resort sits on private land, and so is not regulated by the Forest Service.)
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PT Round-up: Partying in the era of uncertainty

Salutations, party people! Another week of government shutdown means another week of uncertainty for furloughed workers, political pundits and those tracking the political fundraising scene.

Last week, as congressional haggling over budget and healthcare issues dragged on, party after party was postponed or cancelled. Apparently, members were concerned about the bad “optics” involved in raising money for their own reelection efforts while government workers were going without paychecks.

However some valiant pols held out hope that the government — and the fundraising — would continue as planned. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, waited until the last possible minute to cancel his shindig because he was “hoping for a miracle,”  while Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas partied on as planned.

As of publication, the upcoming week features at least 10 fundraisers with sitting members of Congress that have yet to be postponed or cancelled.  However, the coming days may bring with them a fresh batch of cancellations should the gridlock on Capitol Hill continue.

Here’s a rundown of the members who will be soldiering on in their pursuit of hard money this week:

A Kennedy-Sarkozy cash connection? Oh là là!

Members of two powerful political families from either side of the Atlantic will be joining forces Monday at a high-priced affair in the Big Apple.

Olivier Sarkozy, half-brother of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is a banker with dual citizenship and a penchant for contributing to candidates on both sides of the political spectrum. The funding fête will support Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., the 32 year old scion of the fabled political dynasty. He won the seat of retired Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., in 2012.

The New York Post reports that Sarkozy’s e-mail invitation praises Kennedy as “pragmatic, principled and willing to look past party labels in the interest of getting things done.” Suggested contributions range from $1,000 to a $5,200 maximum.

Should the young Kennedy be able to pry himself away from Capitol Hill and carry on with the party as planned, his bash may benefitting from a little star power: Sarkozy is romantically involved with former child star Mary-Kate Olsen.

Garden State green

In a Senate race that was once considered to be all but decided, lately there have been some glimmers of hope for New Jersey Republican Steve Lonegan. While Newark Mayor Corey Booker still has a commanding lead in fundraising figures, recent polls show that Lonegan is eating away at what used to be a seemingly insurmountable lead for Booker.

The former mayor of Bogota is fresh off of a feisty debate with Booker that took place Friday night. The contest has become increasingly testy in the final weeks before the election: while Lonegan has long criticized his Democratic counterpart’s record as mayor, the Booker campaign just released its first overtly negative ad Oct. 1.

Monday evening, the Jersey conservative will hold a low dollar event with a planned appearance by Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J. For just $150 supporters have the chance to partake in “refreshments, hors d’oeuvres and discussion” with the Garden State GOPpers. A cancellation by Lance could be a serious blow to the Lonegan camp, which has finally gained some momentum in the final weeks leading up to the Oct.16 vote.

California Dreamin’

Seven members for the price of one?

If you’re a fan of nifty deals — or the California GOP — then you’ll be thrilled to hear about their Wednesday reception at that venerated fundraising locale, the Capitol Hill Club.

While $250 would generally buy a donor no more than a few minutes of banter with ONE politician, the Oct. 9 funder offers wealthy Capitolites the chance to mingle with the entire California House Republican delegation.

For $5,000 you can even be listed as a co-chair (what an honor!) All proceeds will benefit the San Diego’s Carl DeMaio, who briefly flirted with a run at his home town’s mayorship, before turning his sights back to Congress.

Golf with Graham

Has all this talk of shutdowns and furloughs got you down? Perhaps Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., can interest you in a round of golf at the swanky Kiawah Island Resort.

This is the second annual Ocean Course golf fundraiser on the South Carolina island that’s benefiting Graham’s leadership PAC, Fund for America’s Future. (Spoiler alert: it sends money to Republicans and the committees that campaign for them.) Fork over $2,500 for two days of seaside links.

Graham has been off the party circuit for a few months, despite multiple from-the-right challengers hopping into the primary fight for the 2014 Senate race.

More recently, he’s donated his salary to a vets’ service organization during the shutdown and been vocal about getting paychecks to active military personnel. Last week, he told Roll Call that people who get in the way of those paychecks are “going to make an enemy of me for life.”

Our question: Does that threat extend to the golf course?

First Lady Fundraiser

First Lady Michelle Obama is logging some frequent flier miles as she heads to California at the end of this week for fundraisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Obama will headline a one-hour event benefiting the Democratic National Committee at the house of “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Philip Rosenthal on Friday. For a cool $32,400, you can take part in an “off-the-cuff discussion” with the first lady … and get a picture.

On Sunday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Obama will join forces at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Francisco for a “Women’s Brunch.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will reap up to $32,000 per couple at the 9 a.m. meal, which, if everyone’s being honest, definitely makes this breakfast.

That’s all for this week folks, as always, let us know if you hear of any new comings or goings in the par-tay world.

Contributing: Palmer Gibbs; Photo credit: Flickr user Will Palmer

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Shutdown shutting down some parties

Update 2:18 p.m. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., has joined the ranks of shutdown party poopers. Her $500-and-up Autumn Reception has been postponed.

It’s truly a sad day in the nation’s capital, party people. The right to ‘get down’ — and raise campaign dough — is one of the most inalienable tenets of life inside the Beltway. Sadly, it appears that nothing is immune to the harsh specter of government shutdown: the mass canceling of pre-planned fundraisers for this week illustrates just how dire the situation really is.

On Monday, Party Time reported that there were at least seven congressional fundraisers scheduled to take place this week. Some savvy pols were even using the healthcare debacle as fundraising fuel for grassroots money grabs: rabble rousers Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, both make appearances in online funding asks for the Senate Conservatives Fund, the staunchly anti-Obamacare super PAC associated with former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

It makes PT all aw-shucks and red-faced to share this, but our reporting was cited by, among others: USA TODAY and National Journal and Huffington Post and San Francisco Chronicle and The Columbus Dispatch and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

We’re sure it’s just a coincidence, but as of this morning, reports began trickling in of the parties being (sob!) scrubbed. Politico’s Anna Palmer reports that GOP fundraising organizers were advising members’ to cancel their events in light of the “bad optics” arising from our nation’s representatives raising thousands at a high-price events while around 800,000 ‘inessential’ federal workers have been placed on furlough.

According to Politico, at least one Democratic fundraiser fretted over the unrecoverable costs incurred from funders cancelled at the eleventh hour. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, will be donating the food from his “Taste of Cincinnati” event to a Washington shelter for homeless and battered women. Chabot — ever the optimist — waited until this morning to postpone the event, telling the Plain Dealer that he was “hoping for a miracle.” Ten other members of Ohio’s Republican delegation were schedule to co-host the event.

Thus far, at least three of the events in Party Time’s database have been affected. Aside from Chabot, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. postponed a bash for his Healthcare Freedom Fund leadership PAC and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., was forced to reschedule his “Small, Convivial Dinner” which offered “stimulating conversation” and a selection of California’s finest wines for those who made the $1,500 minimum contribution.

So, what is the rationale for those still holding their fundraisers, when most other government activity has ground to a halt? In an interview with the Huffington Post Rep. Gene Green, D- Texas, defended his decision to carry out his $1,000-and-up lunch at a Capitol Hill eatery by stating, “[w]e had a year to be able to see what we can to solve this problem, and I assume there are lots of members who are having fundraisers.”

Perhaps some things will never change. As always, let us know if you hear of other fundraising happenings here.

Photo credit: Graffizone via iStockphoto.com

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Government teeters on the verge of shutdown, but the fundraising must go on

Updated 10/1 at 2:43 PM

A government shutdown would sabotage the country’s economic growth, put 800,000 federal workers on furlough and further damage Congress’ standing in the eyes of their electorate at a time when approval of the legislative branch is already at an all time low. However, PT records prove that there’s one thing a shutdown would not stop:

Congressional fundraising.

‘The show must go on’ appears to be the motto for members of Congress in the days following post-midnight, when government services will start to wind down should Congress be unable to reach a budget deal. Party Time data reveals that at least seven different members have planned fundraising bashes that will occur on, or directly after, the potential shutdown.

And something tells us there’s more. Let us know (anonymously) here.

Reps. Gene Green, D-Texas, along with Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, and Lois Capps, D-Calif. all have funders scheduled for Tuesday, the very day the shutdown would go into effect.

**Update: Chabot’s fundraiser has been canceled according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Chabot’s offers PACs and other individuals a chance to enjoy a “taste of Cincinnati” with the entire Ohio Republican delegation. Truth in advertising compels us to caution that contributors may be robbed of the presence of the delegation’s top dog: Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. The Republican leader already had a fundraising retreat fall victim to budget negotiations (see below for more details), and will likely still have his hands full parlaying with Dems — not to mention his own caucus members — come Tuesday.

***Update: Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., has postponed her “Autumn Reception” scheduled to take place at the Erickson & Co. Townhouse.

Other fetes on the social docket include a $500 and up reception for longtime Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. — which will feature a bevy of the New Yorker’s congressional allies — as the 83-year-old New Yorker raises money for a race in which he does not yet have a challenger.

For those seeking a nice capstone for your weekly social calendar, Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. has his Second Annual Trout Fishing retreat scheduled for this weekend. For $2,500 you too can join the senator at Gaston’s White River Resort in Lakeview, Ark., for a weekend of fishing tackle and trout filets — what better way to unwind from a hectic week of closing up Uncle Sam’s shop?

And then there’s what you might call the shutdown profiteers:

Healthcare ire means big bucks for pols’ campaign coffers

**Update: Roe’s fundraiser has been canceled according to a source at the Huffington Post. The never-ending debate over health care that’s causing the potential shutdown may be threatening the paydays of government workers, but, hey it’s turning out to be a money-making opportunity for some of our enterprising pols. For instance, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., is hoping to capitalize on the furor over “Obamacare” with a Thursday fundraising breakfast.

Party Time has obtained an invitation for the bash, which will benefit the Healthcare Freedom Fund –Roe’s “new” leadership PAC, established “to help elect federal candidates seeking office to add to the debate here in Congress to establish healthcare freedom and reform,” according to the invite. The term “new” may be a stretch, as FEC filings show that HFF first registered in Sept. 2012.

The veteran and former doctor is asking for contributions from $250 to $1,000 for attendees of the party, which also features Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.

Not to be left out of the Obamacare bashing, the Koch brothers-led Americans for Prosperity — a conservative dark money group — is using the bill to stir up support for a three-pronged canvassing session just outside of the beltway in Northern Virginia. A recent e-mail from the group urges supporters to join a door-to-door canvassing effort aimed at upending healthcare overhaul, Medicaid expansion and, not so coincidentally, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee in next month’s Virginia governor’s election.

In a fundraising countermove, Organizing for America — President Obama’s own dark money operation — sent out a similar e-mail asking for funds and urging supporters to “[pick] up a phone, [get] the facts out to friends on social media, or [show] up at your local congressional office.” Of course, clicking the helpful the link to “Add your voice” directs you to a web page asking for contributions from $15 to $1,000.

To check out the e-mails for yourself, head on over to PT’s own Tumblr. Of course, if any of our friends in the party-sphere catch wind of other Obamacare-themed fundraising efforts, do us a solid and send ‘em this way.

All work and no play

Obviously, not everyone is able to raise dough off Congress’ healthcare shenanigans.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio – the man of a thousand fundraisers — had to postpone a high-dollar retreat scheduled to take place last weekend at a posh resort in northern Virginia.

As reported by the Washington Examiner, the House Republican leader will reschedule the kickoff event for his “Capitol Program” — a fundraising campaign aimed at pulling contributions of $10,000 or more from major DC donors.

Bringing donors on a retreat is a common tactic of politicians seeking to squeeze a little more scratch out of supporters than they could at a regular, humdrum breakfast reception near Capitol Hill. The increased access that comes from spending multiple days with a member can be appealing to lobbyists and other deep-pocketed donors hoping to make their issues heard with the relevant party.

Peter, Paul and Martha

Beyonce, The Eagles and Justin Bieber are just some of the pop music superstars that have been graced by the presence of congressional funders in the past.

It appears that Democratic congressional hopeful Martha Robertson is aiming for an older, more nostalgic cadre of contributors. On Monday, the New York Dem will raise money with an exclusive performance from folk music legend Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. Yarrow is perhaps best-known for penning the whimsical 60’s hit: “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” The Robertson campaign is charging $250 to $1,000 for the event.

Unfortunately for Robertson, media interest in the event has not centered on the musical stylings of Yarrow, but rather his past conviction as a sex offender — Yarrow pleaded guilty to “taking indecent liberties with a child” in 1970. State and national GOP reps have harped on the Yarrow appearance, pressuring Robertson to disinvite the singer from the event.

The event was still on as of press time.

A giant in Hoboken

With the NFL season in full swing, the New York Giants are still in search of their elusive first win, and the offense in particular has come under fire for its poor performance in the first three games of the season.

Maybe that’s why the quarterback, Eli Manning, is testing out the political fundraising game.

The younger Manning brother will appear Monday at a benefit for Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Dawn Zimmer, where the entertainment will be — what else? — watching a football game: the 8:40 p.m. tilt between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints.

Suggested contributions range from $500 to $1,500. While that might sound like a bit of a hefty price tag for a trip to the local sports bar, how often do you get to show off your football IQ with a real-life professional player?

An NC Insurance Commissioner in NYC?

A midtown New York City fundraiser charging contributors donors thousands for a little more than an hour of face time with a pol? It sounds like a classic Big Apple funder for a Senate or House bigwig. Not in this instance.

On Wednesday, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin will join insurance executives at a reception at Tavern 29.  For $4,000, you have the chance to join the exclusive ranks of Goodwin’s Platinum Sponsors, though it’s anyone’s best guess what that distinction will earn you.

Insurance commissioners may be an increasingly hot commodity as insurance corporations explore ways to profit from the federally-mandated state exchanges that come with the Affordable Care Act. If it ever gets funded, that is.

Till next week, partiers! Remember: government or no government, the fundraisers must go on!!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Christie body slams fundraising expectations, but where will the money go?

Garden State Gov. Chris Christie is on a fundraising tear. The (Newark) Star-Ledger reports that his campaign has already raised more than $12.4 million, which begs a question: Since New Jersey state law limits what gubernatorial candidates who accept matching funds can spend to $12.2 million, why is he still out chasing campaign cash?

New Jersey is one of ten states that offers a system of public financing for gubernatorial candidates in an effort to limit the role of big money in politics. Any candidate who raises at least $380,000, and agrees to participate in public debates is eligible to receive two dollars of public money for every dollar they receive in private contributions.

Christie (pictured right) has benefited handsomely from the public money, largely because he unleashed an all-out fundraising blitz to defend his place in the governor’s mansion from Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. Of course, being among the frontrunners for the 2016 potential Republican presidential nomination is a boon to any candidate’s fundraising appeal.

Party Time records show that the governor has  raised dough from New York to California, benefiting from appearances by major political players like Rudy Giuliani and Mark Zuckerburg along the way.

This aggressive pace has paid dividends. The governor is leading Buono in the polls by a wide margin and his campaign’s receipts have outpaced Buono’s by a margin of 10 to 1.

But ‘the Boss’ has showed no signs of slowing down.

As reported by the Connecticut News Blog, the Garden State governor will attend yet another big name funder on October 9, hosted by wrestling exec Linda McMahon, husband of WWE royalty Vince McMahon and former candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut (she ran twice). The event also boasts appearances by former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Charles Glazer, and would-be governor of Connecticut Tom Foley, among others.

For any political partiers who want to stop by and rub shoulders with some of the biggest Republican players in New England, just know that it’s gonna’ cost you. Suggested minimum contributions are $3,800, which means that tens of thousands more dollars are likely to flow into Christie’s campaign war chest.

While the governor’s campaign would run afoul of state campaign finance law if it exceeds the $12.2 million mark in spending, some expenditures are not included in this tally. According to a representative from the Public Financing Department of the New Jersey Election Law Commission, these permissible expenses include the somewhat vague “reasonable costs” of campaigning, travel expenses and food and beverages for campaign events. But big ticket expenses like political advertisements are subject to the spending cap.

The Christie campaign would either need to use the surplus cash on overhead costs, or simply ’sit’ on the cash and wait until the gubernatorial cycle ends — at which point it could transfer the excess funds into other different political committees.

A bulging campaign war chest can be a great way for a lawmaker to shore up partisan support — particularly for a pol with an eye on the White House.

Should Christie end the race with excess funds, he would not be able to transfer it to a federal political action committee, though he could make contributions to other state level candidates and party committees.

The Christie campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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PT round-up: Booker keeps busy, Biden parties with son and Rick Scott hopes to rebound with big bucks

Good morning party people. The party circuit is starting to get crowded as incumbents and would-be elected officials rev their fundraising engines in advance of the looming close of the books on the third quarter. We’ve noticed a distinct pattern in partying fever; everyone wants to fatten the bottom line that will be reported in a few weeks to the Federal Election Commission.

This week’s round-up has a host of goodies for political partiers including a Cory Booker trip to Tinseltown, a Biden family reunion and even the return of Party Time favorite, Governor Rick Scott.

Booker’s been busy

Another week, another jam-packed social calendar for the most famous mayor in New Jersey. Cory Booker raised some eyebrows (along with cash) last week when it was reported that he was partying in San Francisco with local pols and Silicon Valley-ites the same day as a planned Jersey City rally in his honor. Ultimately, the event was cancelled at the 11th hour as the headliner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, had to return to the Windy City in the wake of a mass shooting.

This Monday, Booker will take the coastal cruise down south to join celebrity A-listers at a Hollywood fundraiser at the home of major Democratic donor Ron Burkle.

It’s not often that the stars of Hollywood and Capitol Hill align, but it seems that Booker has a special affinity for attracting big-name supporters. In the past he has partied with Ivanka Trump and Oprah Winfrey.

This week’s funder features both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (pictured above) — who has been quite vocal about his political views in the past.

Affleck and Booker will likely have plenty to talk about, as the actor was recently announced to be the new face of the Batman film franchise, and Booker is a self-styled superhero in his own way.

Grounds with Rounds

Would you pay $500 for a cup of joe?

Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds certainly hopes so, as the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate will be charging $500 and up of attendees to the first Washington fundraiser of his campaign.

The morning event will take place at the MacFarlane Group Townhouse and features veteran K Streeter Dan Gans.

Rounds is considered to be one of the Republicans most likely to pick up a Democratic Senate seat in the upcoming 2014 elections and is currently enjoying a slim lead in most polls. We can only speculate as to whether the coffee warrants the $500 contribution.

More Mowrer

When the Partier-in-Chief is unavailable, the second in command will do in a pinch.

This week, Vice President Joe Biden will appear at a private townhouse for a fundraiser benefiting Jim Mowrer, who is challenging conservative Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for the state’s fourth congressional district.

Mowrer may have cashed in some sort of political two-for-one deal, as the Vice President’s son Hunter will also be in attendance.

The VPOTUS fueled talk of a potential 2016 bid during Sunday trip to Mowrer’s home state for the annual Steak Fry hosted by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. As they say, no one visits Iowa without a good reason.

Hosted but not endorsed

In a prime example of political parlance, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. recently told the Associated Press that his co-hosting of a reception for U.S. Senate candidate and current North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis should not be viewed as an official endorsement of Tillis. In an interview Burr stated that he has always been happy to “help any North Carolina Republican who wants to come to Washington to raise money.”

Burr may be wary of allying himself with Tillis due to recent controversy stemming from campaign finance finagling.

North Carolina law prohibits any serving state representative from accepting donations from current North Carolina lobbyists or companies with lobbyists currently lobbying the Assembly. However, as the law does not cover Tillis’ federal campaign committee, the Speaker has legally raised money for his Senate bid from lobbyists and other groups with business before the state legislature.

Suggested contributions for the Tuesday evening event run from $500 to $2,500. If he clears the Republican primary, Tillis will face incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. in 2014.

Rick Scott

After a rough few days on the fundraising circuit, it looks like Florida Gov. Rick Scott is looking to rebound with a Saturday shindig in lovely Belleair, FL.

Unburdened by those pesky federal regulations that prohibit candidates from directly coordinating with their associated super PACs, as a candidate for state office in Florida, Scott may ask for $1,000, $10,000 or $50,000 from attendees for his 527 organization Let’s Get to Work.

Time will only tell if it will live up to the hype of his previously scheduled gator hunt.

Check ya’ later partiers. Make sure to send us those invites!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Booker misses rally to party in San Fran

When your social calendar is as full as Senate candidate Cory Booker’s, there’s bound to be scheduling conflicts. An RSVP may go unreturned, wires get crossed and you may show up 15 minutes late for a stump speech. And then there are the times when you have to blow off a rally with the voters back home because you’re fundraising on the other side of the country.

NJ.com reports that Booker will miss a Jersey City campaign rally featuring Democratic heavy-hitter Rahm Emanuel and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop today to attend a fundraiser at the Temple Night Club in San Francisco.

In case you were wondering what sort of high-class soiree would be so enticing that the ‘Book-man’ would miss spending time with his fellow Jerseyites to hoof it all the way to California, Party Time has obtained a copy of the invitation for your perusing pleasure.

Update 11:49 am: Politwoops caught a deleted tweet from the Booker campaign asking supporters to join them in Jersey City. Apparently, some of Booker’s staff did not know he wasn’t planning to be there.

Update 12:08 pm: The rally has been cancelled as the headliner Rahm Emanuel will stay in Chicago to deal with the aftermath of a mass shooting in the city that took place late Thursday evening.

The funder, which is still going on as far as we know, features local Golden State political types, like Keesa Ocampo, of the San Mateo County Commission on the Status on Women and Jill Habig of the California Department of Justice and features a  wide array of contribution options, ranging from the economical “Young Professional” at $50 to a chair position at $1,000.

While Rahm may understand the priority of campaign cash, it’s not as if Booker is hurting for dough right now. FEC reports from July show the Senate hopeful had more than $4 million on hand.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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PARTYFINDER™ Hints

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.