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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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Uncategorized • POSTED - 06.08.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uncategorized • POSTED - 06.01.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Hillary Clinton headlines 8 fundraisers, Sen. Marco Rubio keynotes a party in Connecticut, Democrats throw their support behind Ted Strickland and Sen. Joni Ernst makes ‘em squeal at a pig roast

Welcome to June, party people! As summer heats up the nation’s capital, the party animals who are your elected representatives continue to go big on the campaign cash circuit. This week’s social calendar features shindigs from the Lone Star State to the Empire State.

We’ve got a pretty comprehensive list of goings-on, but what are we missing? If you know of a political fundraiser in the works, or have an invite, please share with your friends at Party Time! You can upload invites right here, or email us the goods.

Let’s take a quick spin around your week in political fundraising!

Hillary Clinton keeps us on our toes over here at Party Time. The Democrat announced seven weeks ago that she’s running for president, and PT already counts 35 HRC-headlined events for the presidential campaign – that’s about one fundraiser every 36 hours! Clinton keeps up the hectic schedule this week with four very full days of fundraising. She starts in New York on Monday with three parties: a fundraiser at the home of Jay Jacobs, the former head of the New York Democratic Party; a noontime get-together in Manhattan that’s hosted by Silda Wall Spitzer, the ex-wife of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer; and a $2,700-per-person “Conversations with Hillary” event in Queens. On Wednesday, Clinton hits up donors in the Southwest, first at a breakfast in Albuquerque and then at two stops in Texas. She has breakfast in Austin on Thursday morning, and then makes her way to Greenwich, Conn., on Friday for a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of investment manager Malcolm Wiener and his wife, Carolyn.

– Although Clinton will be partying with Connecticut Dems on Friday, the state’s GOP faithful plan to go big Thursday evening at the Prescott Bush Awards Dinner. The annual confab – named for the Connecticut senator who was former President George H. W. Bush’s father, and therefore grandpa to George W. and Jeb – gives the coveted keynote speaker slot to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. (FYI, this doesn’t indicate an internal Bush family dispute: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke at the event last year.)

– Bold-faced Democrats come together at Capitol Hill restaurant Bistro Bis on Wednesday evening to fete former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. In February, Strickland announced he would challenge Republican Sen. Rob Portman, and since then, the former governor has collected high-profile endorsements from former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. In a show of congealed party support for Strickland’s candidacy, Brown, as well as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, congressman-turned-lobbyist Dick Gephardt, lobbyist Steve Elmendorf and lobbying partners Jeff Forbes and Dan Tate will all be on hand Wednesday.

– It started with a low-budget ad that likened cutting government waste to castrating hogs, meant to set apart Joni Ernst’s fledgling Senate campaign in Iowa. But more than a year after the ad ran, and several months into now-Sen. Ernst’s first term, she can’t seem to shake the hog theme. On Saturday, Ernst throws her first annual Roast and Ride event at the Central Iowa Expo. It’s a motorcycle-ride-meets-pig-roast-meets-fundraiser for the Republican senator’s leadership PAC, the Jobs, Opportunity and New Ideas PAC (JONI PAC – get it?), but it’s also a see-and-be-seen gathering of Republican presidential hopefuls. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson will all be vying for face time at the daylong affair. Make ’em squeal, Joni!

And that’s your busy week of political partying! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.25.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Gov. Chris Christie does fundraisers in New York and New Jersey, GOP hopefuls come out for Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, Hillary Clinton is a fundraising fiend and Martin O’Malley parties pre-announcement

Party people, this long weekend of BBQs and sunshine marks the unofficial start to summer, and politicians are celebrating the seasonal shift with some good, old-fashioned political partying. While us regular Janes and Joes are thrilled to enjoy a Monday holiday, Congress heads home for a full week, which can only mean one thing: lots of non-D.C. shindigs fill up Party Time’s social calendar this week.

As we do our best to keep track of the who, what, when and where of fundraising, if you, dear friends, hear of anything in the works, let us know! Upload official invites right here, or you can email us whatever you’ve got.

Now let’s take a quick spin around your week in fundraisers!

– Gov. Chris Christie thumbs his nose at the ever-increasing field of potential presidential candidates with a pair of fundraisers this week. The New Jersey Republican, who hasn’t yet committed to a White House run, will lunch at the ritzy Metropolitan Club in Manhattan with GOP mega donor Paul Singer on Tuesday afternoon. Come Thursday, the people behind America Leads PAC, the super PAC supporting Christie, will throw a high-dollar fundraiser in the Garden State.

– It’s good to be a Hawkeye State politico! Sen. Chuck Grassley continues to cash in on his status as an Iowa Republican with fundraisers with two presidential hopefuls this week. He parties for his reelection bid on Tuesday with Sen. Marco Rubio in Rubio’s home state of Florida. On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., headlines a fundraiser for Grassley in Davenport. A few weeks ago, Grassley partied in Iowa with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and on June 15, Grassley will make his way to New Jersey for a fundraiser that Gov. Chris Christie is slated to headline. And yes, that makes for four potential presidential candidates in four weeks. Whew!

– When it comes to fundraising, Hillary Clinton’s motto seems to be “can’t stop, won’t stop.” Since her mid-April announcement that she’s running for president in 2016, Clinton is on the books for throwing more than 30 fundraisers for her presidential committee, according to PT’s count. This week, she does a two-states-in-two-days swing that takes her through Atlanta and then to Miami on Thursday. She stays in the Sunshine State on Friday with a fundraiser in Parkland and another one at the home of big-time Dem donor John Morgan. Incidentally (or not), Morgan hosted two fundraisers in 2013 for now Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., a longtime friend and fundraiser for the Clintons.

– The Democratic field of presidential candidates isn’t as crowded as the Republican side, but this weekend, another left-leaning White House hopeful is prepping to throw his hat into the ring. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley looks likely to announce his candidacy Saturday morning in Baltimore, but the day before, he’ll be partying for his presidential committee. It’s all about the money, honey!

And that’s your week in political partying, friends! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy

Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.18.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Jeb Bush parties for his PAC, Sen. Amy Klobuchar celebrates her birthday, and Sen. Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Marco Rubio fundraise for their presidential committees

Politicians keep up the cash collecting contest this week, with presidential hopefuls, members of Congress and local politicos hitting the money trail hard. When it comes to political partying, the partying never stops!

We’ve got a good number of fundraisers on this week’s social calendar, but what are we missing? Friends, if you know of a political party in the works, let us know! Upload invites right here, or you can email us whatever you’ve got.

It certainly takes a village to build up the database of fundraiser invites Party Time houses, and we really hope that political watchers continue to use the great gems on the site. In fact, the Wall Street Journal just did a deep dive into Jeb Bush’s fundraiser rolodex, using Party Time data to look at 326 donors who have hosted events for Bush’s Right to Rise PACs. If you are interested in digging into PT’s data and want to talk about the ins and outs of political fundraising, shoot us an email – we’d love to work with you!

With that little plug out of the way, let’s take a quick look at this week in political fundraisers.

– Speaking of Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who still hasn’t officially announced that he’s running for president continues to party for his PAC. On Monday, Bush will headline a Miami reception with Columba Bush, his publicity-averse wife who is inching her way into a more public role. By PT’s count, this is Columba’s second fundraiser appearance; for her party animal hubby, on the other hand, this marks Jeb’s 70th event so far this year. And, at $25 per person, Monday’s event is – by far – one of the more reasonably priced parties for Bush’s PACs.

– What’s a good birthday present for the woman who has everything? Campaign cash, of course! Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is having a birthday celebration and dinner Tuesday night in downtown D.C., where a b-day cupcake could set you back as much as $5,000. For that much dough, you could buy 1,667 treats from Georgetown Cupcakes! Either way, we recommend something with sprinkles.

– Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, makes his way to his home state on Tuesday for a reception for his presidential committee. Tickets start at $100, but you’ll have to throw down $1,000 if you want to attend the 30-minute VIP portion of the evening.

– You may think of Wednesday as “hump day,” but over here at PT, we think of it as “party day.” We’ve found that it’s a popular day to party, since most politicians are in D.C. in the middle of the week. It’s no different this week, with Wednesday showing a significant spike in fundraising events:

  • Hillary Clinton will make it rain in Chicago, first at a fundraiser at the home of mega Dem donor Fred Eychaner and then at a fundraiser at the home of private investment guru J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K. Worth noting that Penny Pritzker, J.B.’s sister, is the Commerce Secretary under President Barack Obama and a major bundler for his campaigns.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio looks to cool off with a midweek adult beverage … and some campaign donations. The Florida Republican throws Mojitos with Marco just in time for happy hour on Capitol Hill. But this summertime staple will cost you: Tickets are $250 a pop, or $1,000 to play host.
  • Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., throw dueling events at the Nats-Yankees game at Nationals Park. Nothing like a little fundraising over America’s other favorite pastime.

And with that, party people, we wrap up another busy week in political fundraising! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy Wikimedia

Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.11.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Gov. Chris Christie parties for his PAC, Jeb Bush fundraises in Nevada and Iowa, Hillary Clinton looks for Manhattan money, and Sen. Harry Reid throws a fundraiser for his hoped-for successor

Another day, another fundraiser or five! This week’s social calendar is bursting with parties for presidential hopefuls, Senate candidates and groups in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Before we dive into this week’s highlights, what are we missing, party people? If you have an invite or know of an event that’s in the works, share with your friends at Party Time! You can upload the goods right here, or email us the details.

Now here’s a quick roundup of your week in political partying!

– PT noted last week that Gov. Chris Christie hit the road for some fundraising fun almost immediately after former Port Authority senior official David Wildstein pleaded guilty in the latest development in the Bridgegate scandal. This week, the New Jersey Republican parties hard for his leadership PAC, Leadership Matters for America. Christie gets started on Wednesday with a reception in his home state. He then heads to Virginia to party with GOP heavyweights (and big-time backers of Mitt Romney in 2012) Bobbie and Bill Kilberg. On Thursday, Christie heads to the Peach State for a fundraiser for his PAC in Atlanta, and on Friday, he headlines a breakfast that’s part of the Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Athens, GA.

– Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush keeps up his hectic social schedule this week, headlining events in Nevada and Iowa. Unlike most of his other fundraising stops, these events won’t pump money into his Right to Rise PACs; instead, they’ll be an opportunity to glad-hand donors in early-voting states. On May 13, Bush headlines the Lincoln Day Dinner in Las Vegas for the Clark County Republican Party. Come Saturday, he’ll party with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, before heading over to the state party’s Lincoln Dinner. It’s $100 for general admission and $150 for premium seats at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. (Bush won’t be the only presidential wannabe in attendance; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump will all be on hand on Saturday.)

Hillary Clinton keeps her fundraiser train moving after a very busy schedule in sunny California last week. On Wednesday, she headlines three fundraisers in Manhattan for her Hillary for America presidential committee. Clinton will party at the home of Erica and L.A. Reid, the head of Epic Records; the home of Cathy and Marc Lasry, a hedge fund manager and the CEO of Avenue Capital Group; and the home of economic analyst Steven Rattner and his wife, Maureen White. White has long ties with the Clintons: She worked in President Bill Clinton’s administration, was the national finance co-chair for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid and worked in the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure there.

– Despite what newspaper headlines (and, for that matter, PT’s blog posts) may tell you, the presidential contest isn’t the only thing on the ballot in 2016. With longtime Democratic Sen. Harry Reid retiring at the end of this term, his Nevada seat is up for grabs, making for a must-watch race next fall. Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada’s Attorney General from 2007 to 2015, announced in April that she would run for the open seat, and got an immediate thumbs-up from Reid. On Thursday morning, the support continues when Reid headlines a four-figure breakfast for Masto just a few blocks from Capitol Hill.

And that’s a wrap on the week’s highlights! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy Flickr user Michael Vadon

Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.04.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: President Barack Obama parties in New York and Oregon, Gov. Chris Christie hits the road for fundraisers, Hillary Clinton goes on a fundraising swing in California, and Carly Fiorina touches down in Iowa

Party people, if you feel like you’re in the throes of spring fever, you’re not alone. A quick look at this week’s social calendar shows that politicos are itching for a change of scenery, hitting the road for non-D.C. dollars.

As the traditional ATM states (looking at you, New York and California!) are hopping with political partying, D.C. looks relatively quiet. And that makes Party Time think there must be more events happening out there that we don’t know about it. If you’ve got an invite or have heard of a political party in the works, share with your friends at PT! Upload the goods right here, or you can email us whatever you’ve got.

Now let’s take a quick look at your week in political partying!

– The partier-in-chief is back! President Barack Obama returns to the Party Time calendar this week with a handful of events for the Democratic National Committee. On Monday, Obama heads to New York City for the launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a nonprofit spinoff of the White House project of a similar name. Later that day, Obama will headline two parties for the DNC. On Thursday, he heads to the West Coast for an evening reception in downtown Portland, Ore., where tickets start at $500 and climb to $10,000.

– Fresh off the latest development in the constantly simmering Bridgegate scandal – former Port Authority head David Wildstein pleaded guilty last week, admitting that he conspired to “punish” the mayor of Fort Lee because the latter didn’t endorse Gov. Chris Christie in 2013 – Gov. Christie is hitting the road for fundraisers. On Tuesday, the Garden State governor pops in at a lunch in Jackson for the Mississippi Republican Party. On Thursday evening, Christie returns to the Northeast, where he will headline the Lincoln Day Dinner for the Cheshire County Republican Committee in New Hampshire. By Party Time’s count, this makes for Christie’s 24th fundraiser appearance this year, and his second stop in the Granite State.

Hillary Clinton continues her mad dash for cash this week with three days of Golden State partying. Clinton crams in six parties in deep-blue San Francisco and Los Angeles from Wednesday to Friday: a fundraiser at the S.F. home of HRC bestie Susie Tompkins Buell; a “conversations with Hillary” event at the home of environmental moneyman Tom Steyer; a breakfast in L.A.; a luncheon with California Sen. Barbara Boxer and entertainment industry folks; a dinner at the home of longtime friends Cheryl and Haim Saban with Dem donors Jeffrey Katzenberg and Casey Wasserman; and a fundraiser at the home of John and Eileen Donahoe, the CEO of eBay and the former ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council in Switzerland, respectively.

Carly Fiorina, who continues to flirt with a presidential run this cycle, will touch down in Iowa on Thursday for the latest installment of the Dallas County GOP Spring Speaker Series. This is the fourth time Fiorina – the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and a California Senate candidate in 2010 – has visited Iowa in 2015.

And those are the highlights, party people! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.27.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Presidential wannabes continue partying hard, with fundraisers this week for Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise super PAC, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton

Party people, we are still in the first half of 2015, but politicians are partying like it’s a big-time election year. Our social calendar this week is dominated by fundraisers for politicians with their eyes on the White House.

– Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gets things going on Monday, with a fundraiser in his home state for his presidential committee. On Wednesday, he parties in D.C. with Chuck and Debra Cooper, who hosted an event for Cruz back in 2013. For those keeping track of the which-GOP-candidate-would-attend-a-same-sex-wedding storyline, here’s an interesting nugget: Chuck Cooper defended California’s Proposition 8 at the Supreme Court a few years ago, but has since said his views on same-sex marriage “evolve[d]” when he learned his stepdaughter is gay. Cruz recently dodged a question about whether or not he would attend a same-sex wedding.

– Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush continues his quest for cash this week, with two more stops along the money trail. After a weekend of hobnobbing with his best/biggest donors in the Sunshine State, the Republican heads to Puerto Rico on Tuesday for a reception. On Thursday morning, Bush travels to downtown D.C. for a coffee and discussion benefiting his Right to Rise super PAC.

– Bush’s fellow Floridian, Sen. Marco Rubio, follows in some similar fundraising footsteps this week with a handful of events. After a Sunday party in West Palm Beach, Rubio returns to D.C. on Thursday for a fundraiser at the home of mega lobbyist Wayne Berman and his wife, Lea Berman, both of whom worked with the Bush/Cheney camp in the early 2000s. On Saturday, Rubio goes back to Florida for a fundraiser in Miami.

Hillary Clinton makes her presidential Party Time debut this week, and she does it with a bang, with five fundraisers on the books. She goes big in the Big Apple on Tuesday, with a reception with investment banker Doug Teitelbaum, a reception with art gallery owners Arne and Milly Glimcher and another reception at the home of Lisa Perry, the wife of hedge fund manager Richard Perry. On Thursday, she goes to D.C. for two more fundraisers.

And those are your highlights, party people! It’s a busy week, but what have we missed? If you know of a fundraiser in the works, send the goods to your friends at Party Time! Upload invites right here, or shoot us an email.

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.20.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Jeb Bush has five fundraisers, baseball brings out the bucks, politicians party during JazzFest, and Republican presidential hopefuls head to Iowa

Spring is in the air, party people, and D.C. is starting to blossom and bloom. The trees are green, birds are chirping and parks are buzzing with people excited to shed those winter coats. And wouldn’t you know it? Politicians are coming out of the woodwork, too, throwing parties left and right.

Our social calendar this week shows plenty of activity, but what are we missing? Do you know of a fundraiser in the works? Share with your friends at Party Time! You can email us whatever you’ve got, or upload invitations with our easy and confidential tool right here.

Now let’s take a look at your week in political parties!

– Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a money magnate! Our records show the Republican has headlined 47 parties for his Right to Rise groups since he announced the PACs’ formation in January. And the presumptive presidential candidate continues to collect the cash this week with five more events. He’s got a roundtable and reception in Seattle on Monday, then a reception and dinner in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday. On Sunday, Bush heads home to Florida for a two-day retreat with his top fundraisers.

– Two lawmakers combine their favorite pastime (partying for dollars!) with America’s favorite pastime (baseball!) this week. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., takes his favorite donors out to the ball game Tuesday evening, and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., follows suit on Wednesday at Nats Stadium.

– If you are in a jazzy and generous mood, consider heading down to New Orleans on Friday, where politicians will be partying during JazzFest. Hold the Center PAC (which is the new name of former Sen. Mary Landrieu’s, D-La., leadership PAC) is throwing a three-day shindig with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., as the special guest. And Rep. Cedric Richmond – a Democrat who represents Louisiana’s 2nd District, which encompasses New Orleans – will have his own long weekend get-together.

– Iowans should plan for yet another invasion of presidential wannabes this weekend when a bunch of Republicans head to the Hawkeye State for the Faith and Freedom Coalition event. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are all slated to speak on Saturday. (Walker is making the most of his trip – on Friday night, he’s going to headline a fundraiser for a handful of local Republican parties.)

Those are your highlights, party people! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.13.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Republicans descend on New Hampshire, Rep. Barbara Comstock has a D.C breakfast, Illinois Senate race features dueling fundraisers, Rep. Joe Kennedy bowls for dollars, plus a long weekend in California

They’re baaaaaaack!

Party people, the congressional spring break has come to a close, and perhaps the best indicator is the uptick in political partying in our nation’s capital. That’s right – the politicians are back from their home districts, and that means it’s time to hunt for some dollars in the District.

Our social calendar is popping with Washington events, but we are sure there are more parties happening out there. What have you heard about? Share with your friends at Party Time! You can email us, or upload invites using our easy (and confidential) tool right here.

Now let’s take a quick look at this week’s parties!

– In the latest installment of where-in-the-world-are-Republican-presidential-hopefuls, Party Time brings news of the New Hampshire GOP’s First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit. For two jam-packed days, politicians, media and activists will descend on Nashua to hear from Republican movers and shakers. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New Hampshire Rep. Frank Guinta, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Donald Trump, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are all slated to speak at the sold-out event.

– Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., has been in office for a few months, but she’s already logged a good amount of time on the fundraiser trail. At the end of March, she trekked to Manhattan for a party hosted by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer. But on Tuesday, she’s got a shorter jaunt – she just has to walk across the street from her office for a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club. Fellow Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte is listed as the event’s special guest.

– The fight for an Illinois Senate seat hits the moneyed streets of D.C. on Wednesday, when Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Tammy Duckworth have dueling fundraisers. A few weeks ago, Duckworth – an Illinois Democrat serving her second term in the House – announced she would challenge Kirk, a Republican who is in his first term in the Senate. Duckworth will have her spring reception Wednesday evening at the Democrats’ Capitol Hill townhouse, while Kirk will party at a private home just a few blocks away.

– Rep. Joe Kennedy gets right back into the swing of things with back-to-back political parties on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday evening, the Massachusetts Democrat bowls for dollars at Lucky Strike in Chinatown, where you’ll have to spend a lot more than the going rate for shoe and lane rental: Tickets for 90 minutes of bowling go for $1,000 to $2,500. Bright and early Thursday morning, Kennedy will breakfast at the downtown lobbying offices of Cassidy & Associates.

– One member of Congress can’t quite seem to say goodbye to spring break just yet. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., will take a long weekend at the super swanky St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in sunny SoCal for her annual golf and spa retreat. It’s $1,500 per person, $2,500 for a pair, and PACs have to chip in $4,000.

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

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

2016 elections 2016 presidential • POSTED - 04.08.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

Rand Paul Is Running: Where has the newest official candidate for president been fundraising all these years?

Sen. Rand Paul’s announcement on Tuesday that he is running for president – officially – surprised few political watchers who have been tracking his every move and muttering since he first burst onto the national scene during the Tea Party wave of 2010. Just two weeks after the 2012 election, the Kentucky Republican told ABC News he was “interested” in running for higher office.

Since that interview, Paul has checked just about all of the requisite boxes for someone looking at a White House run. New book set to publish in summer 2015? Check. Call out another first-term senator (and likely presidential contender) on Twitter? Check. Pop in at parties in key early voting states? Check and check.

There are many paths to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but for Paul, that path cuts straight through Ames and Nashua – and is littered with the crumpled up cocktail napkins from political fundraisers.

Data from Party Time’s collection of fundraiser invitations show that Paul has headlined 75 fundraisers for other politicians and candidates since September 2011. Of that number, nine have been in Iowa and another nine have been in New Hampshire.

As a point of reference, in the same amount of time, President Barack Obama has headlined 107 fundraisers for other candidates and the Democratic Party committees, according to PT data. But disclosure about fundraiser events isn’t mandated, meaning that all of those numbers are lowball counts of how much partying is actually going on. (If you have a fundraiser invite to share, please do! You can send whatever you’ve got right here.)

Last summer, Paul took two multistop tours of the Hawkeye State: one in June and another in August, when he glad-handed donors for Iowa Rep. Steve King, the Cerro Gordo County Republicans and Iowa’s 2nd District House candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks. And Paul was back in October for a BBQ fundraiser for Iowa State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, whose father, Jeff, was a state representative before becoming the head of the Republican Party of Iowa.

This February, Paul headlined a meet and greet for Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, a first-year member of Congress who has also benefited from fundraiser appearances by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, two other likely presidential candidates.

While in New Hampshire, Paul partied primarily for the state GOP, and headlined one event for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, a conservative nonprofit group that ran ads before last year’s midterms connecting Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., to the Affordable Care Act.

As for parties for himself, Party Time data show that Paul has thrown 26 get-togethers to benefit his own campaign coffers. Of that tally, more than half have taken place in Washington, D.C., including places like PT hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell, at the offices of lobbying shop BGR Group and at the downtown offices of law firm Covington & Burling.

In July 2013, Paul had a beer, bourbon and BBQ fundraiser at the Capitol Hill offices of Altria, the parent company of three major tobacco companies, including Philip Morris. Campaign finance lawyer Dan Backer, healthcare lobbyist Doyce Boesch and longtime Hill staffer to Kentucky Republicans (and now lobbyist) Jon Deuser were among the event hosts.

A few months earlier, Paul had a fundraiser at Google’s D.C. offices, where the tech giant’s PAC as well as Akin Gump’s PAC hosted a four-figure dinner.

Campaign fundraisers in the nation’s capital are commonplace to be sure, but Paul’s seeming preference for the D.C. party circuit runs counter to his message of running as a Washington outsider. Indeed, his new Rand Paul for President website has the slogan “Stand with Rand / Defeat the Washington Machine” – above a running ticker counting how much money he has raised since declaring his candidacy.

Tuesday morning’s announcement is the latest in a long line of similar steps taken by Paul and his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who served in the House off and on for 22 years and ran for president three times (as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008 and 2012). Both were born in Pittsburgh, but went on to represent southern states in Congress. Both attended Duke University School of Medicine, and left their private practices for government service. And both have studied Austrian economists, hinging their political prospects on fiscal conservatism.

But the similarities stop right about there. The younger Paul – an ophthalmologist with his own practice for years in Bowling Green, Ky. – is cut from the same libertarian cloth as his father, but has distanced himself from some of Ron Paul’s more extreme viewpoints. Rand Paul’s highly produced announcement and slick presidential website (complete with an online store brimming with gems like a Rand Paul autographed Constitution going for $1,000 and a $20 “Don’t Drone Me, Bro!” shirt) contrasts sharply with Ron Paul’s announcement for the 2012 race on “Good Morning America.” And questions are already popping up about how much Ron will be involved in Rand’s campaign this cycle.

The first Republican presidential caucus, taking place this January in Iowa, is still nine months off, but intra-party competition already is fierce. On the day of Paul’s announcement, online ads for the presidential campaign of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – the only other Republican officially running for president – came up during Google searches for Paul.

But it hasn’t always been contentious between the two: The first fundraiser that Paul headlined, according to Party Time data, was a reception and dinner in downtown D.C. for Cruz’s first Senate campaign, all the way back in September 2011.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Gage Skidmore


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.