Happy New Year, Partiers!
It’s true, a measly total of just one fundraiser has been spotted by PT for the upcoming week. We’re all dressed up; how come no place to go? For one thing, it’s still early in the legislative calendar, and some party goers and party givers are still trying to get over last year. “I think most members are taking a small break before diving into the next cycle. I know from the contributors’ standpoint, a break is definitely in order!” said one DC lobbyist who wished to remain anonymous.
And then there’s the fact that members of Congress won’t even be around Washington next week; the House is in recess until Jan. 14, and the Senate is expected to be in pro forma session (read: not really here) until Jan. 21 while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stalls and stalls some more on filibuster reform. Also, despite avoiding a financial meltdown, the “fiscal cliff” bill did leave many lawmakers with a hangover that rivaled any New Year’s Day morning, so a brief respite is certainly understandable.
But PT has a hunch that there are more soirees going on that we don’t know about — this is where you can help! Send us all your invitations to receptions, dinners, happy hours, weekend getaways and any other fundraisers that you can get your hands on right here!
Stay tuned to PT as the parties pick up later this month for Inaugural Ball season! The calendar later this month is starting to fill up. But you know PT — there’s always room on our dance card for more. So send those invites!
Idaho – More Than Just Potatoes
Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, seems to be the only lawmaker who’s still got money on his mind, and his Jan. 11-13 Idaho Hunting Excursion promises quite an adventure. He’s gotten the stars of the hunting world out in full force to join him at Hagerman Wings Farm, including:
Well… You might be out of your league here, but consider it a learning experience. Tickets for this two-day safari are $2,500 for PACs and $1,250 for individuals. Risch makes big promises on the invite: “Yes – stories will be told and memories will be made.”
Tom Harkin Wants to “Just Dance”
Can’t imagine Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, rocking out to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” or “Bad Romance?” (Neither can we!) Well, amazingly, now you can see it in person – the 73 year old will be throwing a fundraiser at Gaga’s concert at the Verizon Center right here in D.C. (OK, the event doesn’t take place until Feb. 25, but we figured you’d want to save the date.) Contributing from $3,500-$3,000 gets you two tickets and a VIP Reception, while $2,000-$1,500 will get you one ticket and the VIP reception. Surprisingly, Harkin’s paired Lady Gaga with fundraising before — in Feb. 2011. But don’t judge Harkin for enjoying the musical styles of Gaga — maybe he was just born that way.
Enjoy your week off, Partiers!
(Photo credit: MediaPhotos via iStockphoto.com)Tweet
“Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the Hill
Nothing was moving, especially Boehner’s bill…”
Excuse the terse verse, Partiers, we promise we’ll leave the poetry to Clement Clarke Moore from now on…
But the holidays are finally here, and judging from our database the pols are not — there isn’t a single invite appearing from Dec. 20 through Jan. 2. However, there are still myriad holiday parties occurring under Party Time’s radar (if YOU know of any, please drop off your gifts here!) Not to mention all those Capitol Hill receptions to celebrate the swearing in of the 113th Congress on Jan. 3 (let’s hope the 112th clears out in time to fumigate the place). While many of these aren’t likely to be fundraisers, they still provide that key opportunity for lobbyists to rub elbows with lawmakers – especially the freshly elected members of the incoming 113th Congress.
Whether or not those congressional grinches ever get their work done, PT is outta here. See you in 2013!
But to make up for the week that we’ll be taking our holiday nap, we’re covering the first week of January right here — so you can get your RSVPs in early:
Shredding the Mountain of Utah
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has been a dedicated lawmaker since 1977; he graduated from Brigham Young University in the 1950s; this year, his Democratic challenger, Scott Howell, even told people not too vote for him because he might die, writing “I’m going to be frank… Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy.” Yet even at a sprightly 78 years old, Hatch can still (allegedly) tear up the slopes at Utah’s famous Deer Valley ski resort. The Utah senator will be hosting his 3rd Annual Winter Ski Retreat on Jan. 4-5, with prices ranging from $5,000 to $1,500. Whether or not Hatch leaves the bunny hill remains to be seen.
Bonus: In this week’s “Amazingly Relevant Yet Totally Obscure” fact of the week, rock pioneer Frank Zappa wrote an instrumental entitled “Orrin Hatch On Skis” for his Grammy-winning 1988 album, Guitar. The song, which you can listen to here, features rollicking, off-the-walls shredding by Zappa, perhaps evoking the image of Hatch skiing wildly down a mountain (after all, Zappa loved to get in some subtle jabs at the GOP). Listen for yourself!
Not to be outdone, fellow Beehive State (yes, that is the nickname) Sen. Mike Lee is hosting his own Utah ski trip the day before Hatch’s. And it even takes place at the same mountain, Deer Valley! How about some originality guys? A lift ticket to attend the junior Utah Republican senator’s 2nd Annual Ski Day will run PACs $2,500 and individual guests $1,000. At least Lee, the Senate’s youngest member at only 41 years old, might have a better shot at tackling some double blacks.
Meet the D’s at the DSCC in D.C.
If you donate at least $5,000 annually to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, then you’re automatically invited to their monthly Senate Roundtable Breakfast Briefing. This month’s breakfast includes blue stalwarts Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., as well as Sens.-elect Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. They’ll be offering a dynamic picture of the American political system (or what’s left of it after the fiscal cliff) on Jan. 3 at the Washington Court Hotel.
Bacon and Eggs with a Side of… Debt Retirement
Yes, many politicians who led ferocious campaigns throughout 2012 still have built-up debts to pay off. This time it’s Rep.-elect Bill Enyart, D-Ill., who is asking his supporters to help him out. In his post-general-election filings, Enyart reported $70,600 worth of debts, the exact amount of money Enyart loaned to his own campaign throughout the 2012 election cycle. To help his campaign pay himself back, the congressman-to-be is having a breakfast on Jan. 4 at the Hotel George. Supporters are asked to contribute as much as $5,000 or as little as $1,000. If there’s bacon, it’s probably worth it.
Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year! Just try to ignore that pesky fiscal cliff, the inevitable Mayan apocalypse, seeing your lovely in-laws and all the other things that threaten our very existence.
Until next YEAR, Partiers!
(Photo credit: Liliboas via iStockphoto.com)Tweet
In the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting, many lawmakers are calling for stricter gun safety laws, but Party Time data shows that many more members use guns in their fundraising efforts.
Since 2006, almost 70 legislators have thrown more than 110 fundraisers that involve firearms as part of the event, including weekend hunting excursions, skeet shooting or a virtual shooting game at the National Rifle Association (NRA) headquarters.
The NRA, the premier Second Amendment and gun ownership advocacy organization in the United States, hosted at least 13 events for members over the past four years, while the organization’s offices near the Capitol have been the venue for more than 20 other fundraisers. Three current members of Congress have held multiple events at the NRA: Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa. (Altmire won’t be current for long though — he lost a primary battle to Rep. Mark Critz, a fellow Democrat — who in turn lost to Republican Keith Rothfus. Altmire is leaving the House to work as a lobbyist for Florida Blue, the Sunshine State’s Blue Cross insurance provider.)
Often seen as the most prominent organization countering the NRA, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence does not appear in the Party Time database at all.
NRA lobbyists have also appeared at several parties over the past several years. Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre was on the host committee for a recent Romney Victory, Inc. reception in Evansville, Ind. Jeff Freeman has hosted five events, though PT hasn’t picked up on any since 2010.
And the connections don’t stop there. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., recently hosted the latest installment of his “Annual Blunt Hunt” among other gun-associated events. The senator has consistently received an “A” rating from the NRA for his staunch support of the gun community, and the organization endorsed him in the 2010 election cycle. And his son, Matt Blunt, serves on the NRA’s board of directors.
Blunt is not alone in his tendency to combine a love of guns with cash. PT’s data includes more than 90 fundraisers that involved live firearms. Here’s a list of the members that most frequently combine raising campaign funds with firearms:
–Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. — 5 hunting/shooting events, including goose hunting and quail hunting weekends
–Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark. — 5 hunting/shooting events, including an annual skeet shoot and duck hunt
–Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. — 4 hunting/shooting events, including his 8th Annual Oklahoma Dove Hunt
–Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va. — 4 hunting/shooting events, including an annual dove hunt
–Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Penn. — 4 hunting/shooting events, including a skeet shooting and a dove hunt
–Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho — 4 hunting/shooting events, including a trap and skeet shoot and the “Annual Hook ‘n’ Bullet”
Perhaps the most controversial fundraiser involving a gun occurred when John McCaherty, a Republican state legislator from Missouri, tried to raffle off an AR 15 assault rifle last July. Having supporters pay $25 for a chance to win a weapon (a semiautomatic assault weapon, at that) is contentious enough; but to make matters worse, the unusual prize turned out to be the same model of firearm used in the Aurora, Colo. shooting that had happened just a few days earlier.
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons author Motohide Miwa)Tweet
While most people are distraught over the fiscal cliff, worrying about the end of the world, or stressing out on buying that perfect present, Party Time is happy to see that some are thinking ahead to a more jocular time — inaugural ball season!
The PT homepage is sporting a spiffy new button that will guide you directly to all the 2013 inauguration parties we’ve logged so far. As it stands now, more than 50 parties will be thrown from Jan. 17 through Jan. 21 to celebrate the 57th presidential inauguration — and there are many more to come! To help you process all this information, we’ve assembled a handy map of each celebration above.
It’s simple – each marker represents an Inaugural ball thrown in the D.C. area; just click on each arrow to get the low-down on what’s happening there. We’ll continue to update the map as more invites flow in, so check back regularly!
While there are many parties represented here, PT knows that we haven’t quite captured them all — and this is where you come in, dear Partiers. If you’ve got the inside scoop on an inaugural ball, or if you want to get your own bash put on the map, please send the invite our way by uploading it here!
While the official inaugural balls list hasn’t been released yet (they’re usually announced in early January), several unofficial events have been scheduled by various businesses, organizations and state societies. These parties may not have explicit political beneficiaries, but, like the ones thrown at the during convention season, they still provide ample opportunities for lobbyists and politicians to schmooze – something we’re always on the lookout for here at Party Time.
One party that will be out of this world would be the Starry Night Inaugural Ball hosted by Washingtonian Magazine. Instead of a ritzy hotel, this party will be bumping at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum right on the National Mall. Tickets are regularly $350, but if you scoop yours up early it’s only $199.
Because California is California and its denizens have to be different from everyone else, they aren’t hosting a ball at all. Instead, they’re putting on a Fashion Show and Luncheon to try and prove that their state is better-looking than every other state. Unlike Washingtonian’s Starry Night Ball, this event will be taking place at a ritzy hotel – the Ritz Carlton D.C., to be exact. Tickets will run all you aspiring designers and models $250.
One of the more interesting events is the Inaugural Millennial Ball on Jan. 19. It takes place in M Central, a “brand new pop-up gallery space along D.C.’s historic H street corridor.” The space is so new that it doesn’t even show up on Google Maps yet. However, organizer Patrick Dowd — who has an interesting background — emailed PT over the Christmas/New Year’s break (and you thought we were napping off the sugar plums!) to say that tickets are $75 and available here. Throughout the weekend, M Central will be holding events for today’s youth to “come in from the cold, exchange ideas, and celebrate.” Sounds good to us!
Bonus: PT already covered some of the highlights, such as the Black Tie and Boots Ball, the 12th American Indian Inaugural Ball and the Illinois State Society’s Inaugural Gala, in an earlier blog post here. Check it out!
Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Partying
It’s easy to get carried away thinking of black-tie balls and extravagant celebrations, but there are still a couple of (relatively) blue-collar parties of note happening soon.
Scheduled this week are the first events for McConnell Victory Kentucky, a new joint fundraising committee to support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in his 2014 reelection bid. The committee will be the beneficiary of back-to-back identical dinners on Monday and Tuesday at 220 E Street, NE – also known as the townhouse of lobbyist (and McConnell contributor) Rick Murphy. Hosting McConnell’s party the very next night include Koch Industries, owned by conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch. Seems like the Turtle is keeping some interesting company. To join them at both fundraisers, it’ll cost PACs $2,500 and individuals $1,000.
In this week’s “Party Time Dishonorable Mention,” Rep. Steve Fincher, R-Tenn., is hosting a $2,500 “Eastern Shore Duck Hunt” in his home state. But, we ask, who would want to shoot something as cute as this, or as majestic as this? Now that’s a party fowl!
We hope you’re as excited about the Inaugural ball season as we are (this is Party Time, after all) — let’s just hope the Mayans are wrong so we can enjoy it!
Until next time, Partiers!
(Photo from Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of Suzanne Day)Tweet
After all, DeMint has thrown over 60 events since 2009, packing the PT database with fundraisers like it was a stuffed stocking. He even scheduled a $2,000 lunch at Congressional favorite Charlie Palmer’s on Dec. 13, but John Graham of the fundraising firm the Gula Graham Group notified PT that it had been canceled. The Tea Party hero (and partying powerhouse) will be shifting gears to become president of the Heritage Foundation. It’s located right on Capitol Hill, so DeMint won’t be straying too far. Maybe he’ll amp up the conservative think tank’s party profile. PT can find only one measly invite for a Heritage-sponsored party in our files and it wasn’t even in D.C.
Meanwhile, who will replace this party animal? Rumblings of fellow Palmetto Stater Stephen Colbert have arisen, who proved an intimidating fundraiser – his super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow raised over $1 million. But S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has already quashed that idea – all because Colbert didn’t know the state drink was milk.
There are still plenty of parties going on, and we’ve got the low-down. Check the invites below:
The Blue Plate Special
The DSCC is bringing in the big guns for their Majority Trust Dinner on Dec. 12, located at the swanky St. Regis Hotel just blocks away from the White House. In attendance will be the top members of the Democrats’ Senate leadership team: Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. This core of blue heavy hitters costs a pretty penny to dine with – guests have to cough up $30,800 – the maximum an individual is allowed to donate to a national party committee, and there are no cheaper seats.
More Campaign Kick-Offs for 2014
While 2014 may be more than a year off, more and more politicians are nonetheless preparing for the next election season. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Col0., is hosting his self-explanatory “Reception to Kick Off his 2014 Reelection” on Dec. 10. It takes place on the Cava Mezze rooftop, which could get a tad chilly this time of year… To join the senator, guests will need to fork over anywhere from $5,000 to $1,000.
Another politician getting a head start on the 2014 election is Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. The NRSC HQ will be the site of his “Kick Off Breakfast” on Dec. 13, a mere eight days after his dinner at Ruth’s Chris. And that event was a mere 11 days after his Quarterly Max Out Reception – it seems like his fundraising campaign has already kicked off, no? To attend Chambliss’ third event since the Election Day, it’ll run you as much as $2,500.
The Return of the Koch
It was a tough election for the Koch brothers, billionaire businessmen Charles and David. Their 501 c(4), Americans for Prosperity, spent over $33 million to oppose the reelection of Barack Obama. After doing the math, that’s a return on investment of about, say, 0%.
But the brothers are back! They are helping kick off another campaign for the 2014 season, and this time it’s Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Koch Industries is hosting a “Campaign Kick-Off Reception” at the NRSC, an event costing between $5,000 and $500 dollars. Cornyn serves on the Finance subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure – what will Charles and David expect in return for this party? If nothing else, at least Cornyn is a bit of a safer bet for the brothers, winning his last election 55% to 43%.
Looking into the week after, PT spots its first event for McConnell Victory Kentucky, a joint fundraising committee set up with McConnell’s campaign fund and the Kentucky GOP. The Dec. 18 fundraising dinner is also hosted by Koch Industries, and will cost guests $1,000 and PACs $2,500. It seems as though their 2012 return on investment (or lack thereof) hasn’t deterred the Brothers Koch, and they are setting their sights on 2014.
Bobbing for Lobbyists
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is trying to escape the cold weather of D.C. and get back to the blissful days of summer with his “Bluegrass and BBQ” fundraiser, taking place at the downtown Hill Country BBQ restaurant. It will run guests up to $1,000, and it looks like the party will be packed – packed with lobbyists, that is. Take a look at some of the sponsors and hosts:
Do you see a pattern yet? These are all people representing special interests that have helped out Warner, who’s up for reelecton in 2014. And these are just three from a list of dozens – who else listed on the invite could be expecting things from Warner?
Food for thought with your eggnog . . .
Until next time, Partiers!
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Tweet
The news world is buzzing relentlessly about the “fiscal cliff,” the dreaded spending cuts and tax increases that will automatically hammer the U.S. when the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31. If America does pull a Thelma and Louise and drives right off the ledge, it could send the economy spiraling into recession. But there’s still hope – Congress could work out a deal that eases the dramatic financial consequences! Unfortunately, that involves Democrats and Republicans compromising, so it looks like this may be our fate.
Luckily for Party Time, there is no “funder cliff.” Political partying is something that politicians across both aisles can get behind; after all, there’s nothing with more bipartisan support than a fat fundraiser. And they’re continuing to throw those lucrative soirees right into the heart of the holiday season, which we’re officially inaugurating with the cool video above of workers in Colorado packing up the Capitol Christmas Tree, delivered this week. Check out the highlights below, and, as always, send us your invites here!
The Holidays are Here
The season of giving has truly arrived, and politicians are well aware of it. That’s why PT has collected several holiday-themed fundraisers over the next few weeks, looking to snag an extra dollar in the name of charity. Kicking off this week is Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, hosting his Eighth Annual Maine Christmas in Washington on Wednesday. The price to deck these halls ranges from $5,000 to $500.
Buon Natale! If you know who Dominick the Donkey is, you’ll probably fit in with the crowd attending Rep. Bill Pascrell’s, D-N.J., Italian Style Holiday Reception. Why the Italian theme? It turns out that Pascrell is the grandson of Italian immigrants! To join “the family” at this event on Wednesday, it’ll cost you up to $5,000.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., decided that just one night wasn’t enough, so her NYC Holiday Weekend stretches out over two days. Stand before the gigantic Christmas tree, ice skate in Rockefeller Plaza and look for gifts in the famous FAO Schwartz toy store. To see all these sights will run you $500 to $5,000.
In fact, several politicians are mimicking Maloney’s multi-day extravaganza by hosting their own, though they aren’t holiday-centric. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., are teaming up to offer a “Dust Off Your Boots Weekend” from Dec. 7-8. The weekend trip will cost PACs $3,000, but individuals can attend for just $1,500. Although the event title evokes a tough, rugged image, guests will actually be staying at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas – not exactly roughing it.
If you really want to leave the bustle of city life behind and get outdoors, perhaps Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, can help you out. Her leadership group, Denali PAC, is hosting the Second Annual First Track Ski Trip in Deer Valley, Utah. Deer Valley is a premier destination for skiing and snowboarding, even hosting events for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Plus it gets over 300 inches of snow a year – plenty of fresh powder. Prices aren’t available for this event, but if a single-day lift ticket costs $102 it might be a bit expensive.
But if that all sounds a bit too extreme and you stick to the bunny hills, join Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., for a Boston Weekend! Guests will be safe in the city, staying at the luxurious Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel right in historic Back Bay. And on Saturday, attendees will catch a Celtics game at TD Garden as they take on the rival Philadelphia 76ers. The price of this trip is also unknown – maybe you can help us out! If you have more info, we’d love for you to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org!
This Week in Debt Retirement
Rep.-elect Andy Barr, R-Kent., upset his incumbent opponent, Ben Chandler, and now he’s trying to recover from a hard-fought campaign. He’s throwing a Debt Retirement Luncheon at Capitol Hill staple Charlie Palmer’s, priced from $5,000 to $500. Interestingly enough, Barr reported no debt in his most recent filings (Oct. 17) and made no loans to his campaign. Did he go on a spending spree right before Election Day?
Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., decided to ditch Congress and won the race for mayor of San Diego. Now Filner is trying to break even before he hits the beaches of “America’s Finest City” (yes, they actually nicknamed it that). He’s throwing a Debt Retirement Reception on Thursday, where attendees will have to pay up $500.
Best of the Rest
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is throwing herself a 60th birthday party at the Cupcake and Champagne Soiree on Dec. 4, priced at up to $5,000. Several lobbyists will be in attendance, including hosts Gerry Lamb of General Dynamics and Kate Hull of Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock, who lobbies for dozens of clients from Apple, Inc. to Zurich Financial. They’ve partied with Collins before, even at other birthday celebrations. What sort of things will they expect in return for throwing this fundraiser?
Finally, the cream(ed) of the crop, the Second Annual Idaho Potato Fest. It benefits Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, who is, of course, from Idaho (really not helping to dispel that stereotype). PT doesn’t have much info on this event, and we really don’t know what’s going to happen here. Potato cannon shooting gallery? All-you-can-eat potato buffet? Perhaps a visit from the world’s largest “potato?” If you pay the $2,500-$250 entrance fee, you’ll find out. (Whether or not it’ll be worth it is up to you…)
Until next time, Partiers!
(Video credit: capitolchristmastree2012.com)Tweet
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Black Friday has launched that super-commercialized door-busting retail onslaught, also known as the holiday season. Much like shoppers rushing out at 4 a.m. to snag the best deals, politicians are hustling in the weeks after Election Day to throw parties and raise some serious holiday dough.
Check out the highlights below, and send us your invites here!
2014, Start Your Engines
If you thought you were safe from political campaigning, think again. Some politicians have already started preparing for their 2014 bids, beginning with some old fashioned partying. Class II Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., are both hosting fundraisers in the upcoming week, despite their elections being two years away.
Chambliss is making his desire clear with the “Quarterly Max-Out Reception,” not so subtly suggesting that donors contribute as much as they can to the campaign. The suggested price for this Monday event at the Capitol Hill Club is $5,000 for PACs and $2,500 for individuals, the maximum amount allowed for one election cycle. What a coincidence!
Inhofe is celebrating his birthday with style at the “Annual Joe’s Stone Crab Reception” on Wednesday. For as much as $2,500 or as little as $500, you too can enjoy Florida stone crab right here in D.C! (But that’s not as impressive as it sounds, however, as the crab can be found in places like Texas and Connecticut…) The event name refers to the famous Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach, which is turning 100 next year. If you can’t make it to the party but still want some tasty crab, you’re in luck – Joe’s delivers all across the continental U.S.
Lose Some, Lose Some More
For Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, R, Election Day didn’t go as planned. His political committee, RANDPAC, bet against all the wrong candidates, resulting in a total success rate of 0% – and a loss of $500,000. Check the races he influenced (or tried to) below from Follow the Unlimited Money:
Ouch, that hurts. Perhaps to offset these losses, Paul will be hosting a luncheon on Nov. 29 at fundraising favorite Johnny’s Half Shell. Admission will cost up to $5,000 to sponsor, up to $2,500 to host, and up to $1,000 to attend. Just 500 attendees and he’ll be in the clear!
Debt Retirement Alert
Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently prevailed in his Senate race, and now he needs to pay off some of that burdensome campaign debt – about $1.2 million of it. To accomplish this, Cruz is doubling up on Wednesday, hosting a $2,000 “Debt Retirement Reception” followed by a $5,000 “Debt Retirement Dinner” with a special guest, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Party Time covered the world of debt retirement fundraisers earlier this month – check it out!
Crapo Does Double Time
Senior Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo (it’s pronounced “Cray-poe”!) isn’t taking an extended Thanksgiving break, getting right back to his busy Washington schedule – of partying, that is. Crapo is pulling a double ‘draiser, hosting two benefits on Tuesday. He’ll fill up with a $2,000/$1,000 lunch, take an afternoon siesta, and then head over to Charlie Palmer’s for a dinner at the same price point. If Crapo is still eating that much food soon after a Thanksgiving meal, maybe he deserves the money.
Just like Black Friday has encroached upon other holidays, with some stores this year opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, fundraising season is chewing up more of the political calendar — just ask Mitch McConnell, who held a $2,500 dinner the night after the election.
Perhaps lawmakers should follow the “Buy Nothing Day” movement, an international day of protest against high-octane consumerism, and chill their fundraising efforts. Activities of Buy Nothing Day include: The Whirl-Mart, where participants silently steer their shopping carts around a store in a “long, baffling conga line” without putting anything in them; and the Zombie Walk, where people wander around malls staring at shoppers with a blank expression on their face. I have a feeling that some politicians wouldn’t be so bad at that last one.
Until next time, Partiers!Tweet
As Thanksgiving rolls around next week, we should all honor the things and people we appreciate most in life. Take the time to count your blessings, share time with loved ones and pray for world peace.
Or, you know, do what everyone else does: Eat way more than you should, watch way more football than you should, and fall asleep on the couch way earlier than you should. Nothing more American than that!
Unfortunately for Party Time, it looks like politicians will be busy doing the same thing next week, leaving our database as empty as Hostess’ bank account (goodbye, Twinkies?). Instead, we’ll be letting you Partiers know who certain lawmakers should be thankful for – which celebrities and lobbyists have hosted important fundraisers to sustain campaigns, and even propel some to victory.
I know the stars came out in full support of me this year. I mean, I had people like John Legend, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Tom Hanks, and more. I think Romney had Ted Nugent and Meatloaf – enough said. But let me be clear, you really stood out from the pack. I have to thank you for opening your doors for that May 10 reception. It was crazy. That night alone netted me over $15 million! Apparently it was the most lucrative fundraiser ever, and I can’t thank you enough. You even had my back on the international front, traveling all the way to Switzerland for a $20,000/plate reception. Here’s to another four years as President (thanks to you!), and another four years of Clooney fundraisers!
(Still) The President
Hello Mr. Gidwitz,
I am so pleased with your efforts in helping my campaign, even if we were vanquished. Your four fundraisers that took place last September and October helped me generate precious money to keep my campaign in tip top shape. And your confidence never faltered, even when it came down to the wire; that $10,000 private dinner in your beautiful Gold Coast home contributed to more swing state ad buys, which almost worked. And I never said any campaign-crippling comments at your fundraisers either! From one businessman to another, thank you.
Willard “Mitt” Romney
We love your work, which is exclusively hosting fundraisers for blue representatives like us. And we really mean all of us – from uber-liberal Lynn Woolsey to the centrist Baron Hill.We checked the Party Time database (doesn’t everyone these days?), and you’ve hosted over 70 parties for us. That’s enough to top the PT list as the most prolific host! We know you don’t personally hand over checks to us, but the way you just bundle together everyone else’s – $1,000 here, $5,000 there – and send them over in a nice little package is just so handy. And you even let us use your work place, the 21st Century Townhouse, for our shindigs. We hate clean up. Anyways, thanks again – we hope to see you soon!
On behalf of Colorado Democrats such as former Rep. Betsy Markey, Rep. Diana DeGette, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, former Rep. John Salazar, Interior Secretary (and former Sen.) Ken Salazar, and Sen. Michael Bennet, thank you! We know you appreciate The Centennial State as much as we do by the amount of fundraisers you’ve hosted for us. We can tell you’re an old pro by the way you throw so many parties at Capitol Hill hotspots like Bistro Bis, Art and Soul and the Capitol Hill Club. Sure, you’ve successfully sought earmarks from us while working as a lobbyist for The Normandy Group while throwing parties, but we know that you just organized the meeting – nothing more. We look forward to more meetings “organized” by you!
So there’s an inside look into how politicians thank some of their VIPs, courtesy of Party Time. We’re always grateful for invitations, and we’d definitely appreciate it if you could send some our way here!
Happy Thanksgiving, Partiers!Tweet
It’s barely one week after the election and the first nails have already been hammered into the “Inaugural Platform,” signaling the start of the Inauguration cycle – and of course ball season!
People have already started planning their presidential bashes, and Party Time has found 11 unofficial events so far with many more to come – check here to see all them as they roll in. Most of the early planners are state societies, charities and universities. We are always looking for more invites so if you come across one, sent it our way via our upload page or email.
These parties may not have explicit political beneficiaries, but, like convention season, they still provide ample time for lobbyists and politicians to schmooze – something we’re always on the lookout for here at Party Time.
One of the premier events of the Inauguration is the Black Tie and Boots Ball held by the Texas State Society. It’s possibly the only place on Earth where the dress code not only allows, but encourages Armani suits and bolo ties, or Dior dresses paired with leather boots. (Let’s just say these folks won’t be winning America’s Next Top Model.) The quirky event will cost attendees $250 per head, and past drifters have included Texas Gov. Rick Perry, actor Denzel Washington, former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. It may not be the same without a Texan in the White House, but it will definitely bring some Western spunk in this typically frumptastic town. (Check out the Washington Post’s brief account of 2009’s bash here).
President re-elect Barack Obama’s former state society will also be throwing an Inaugural Gala. The Illinois State Society is hosting its ball at the Renaissance Marriott and tickets will cost guests $260. Although most inaugural parties are scheduled to end at midnight, this bash promises “multiple open bars, heavy hors d’oeuvres and buffet stations, continuous live music and dancing from 8:30 PM until 1:30 AM.” Sounds like this party might be the one for us!
If you’d like a really expansive celebration, the 12th American Indian Inaugural Ball will have events spanning multiple days. Starting on Jan. 18, there will be a Lounge Reception; the next day will be the Inaugural Pow Wow (anyone up for a good Gourd Dance?); the following night will be the main ball; and lastly comes the post-bash Brunch, for you to recover from all that partying. Tickets start at $130.
But if you want to just chill, man, there’s always the Peace Ball, presented by D.C. hot spot Busboys and Poets. Hang out with fellow hipsters and the likes of Ralph Nader, Amy Goodman and Alice Waters to celebrate green energy, non-violence and talk about bands no one has heard of on Pitchfork. Unlike other balls, the dress code isn’t strict; they suggest black tie, but tell people “Feel free to express this however you like!” If you don’t get into the “Black tie and Boots Ball,” maybe you’d fit in just fine here… Or maybe not.
The official events of the Inaugural have not yet been announced by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, but are likely to come around early January.
The members of the committee, which organizes the events at the Capitol, are leading Republicans and Democrats: Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is the chair. Other members are: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Sen Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio; House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. It seems that the best thing to bring about bipartisanship is to throw a party, or ten parties (as they did four years ago.)
Official Inauguration Day Events include a morning prayer service, the procession to the Capitol, the Vice President’s swearing in ceremony, the President’s swearing in, the Inaugural Luncheon, the Inaugural Parade and, of course, the balls. For these festivities, the budget estimate is $1.2 million. The events that take place off the Capitol grounds are organized by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Returning presidents and presidents-elect can raise funds from the private sector to amp up the party and they do. The Center for Responsive Politics has a handy list of major donors who underwrote Obama’s 2008 inaugural.
(Lindsay Young contributed to this post. Photo of the Obamas at the 2008 Commander in Chief’s inaugural ball via iStockphoto.com)Tweet
According to a Bloomberg article published earlier this year, there were about 38 previous presidential campaigns still technically “alive,” some of which stretch back as far as 16 years ago (for context, here’s Bob Dole’s ‘96 campaign website — how far we’ve come). Former contenders such as John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, John Edwards and even Alan Keyes all have active accounts — but only according to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Why?
Yes, Partiers, the reason why these presidential hopefuls of the past are still “running” is because their campaigns are still in some serious debt, something the FEC doesn’t easily forget.
Even before all the returns have been completely counted (we still have a few House races in doubt), Party Time has discovered its very first 2012 “Debt Retirement Parties.” These are fundraisers thrown by politicians after an election to pay off that hefty bill they ran up during the campaign season. Our pioneers: Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii. Both listed unpaid bills in their most recent filings to the FEC on Oct. 17. The exact amount of debt they accumulated by Election Day will remain unknown until Dec. 6.
Although only two lawmakers in our database have planned debt retirement parties so far, many more are expected to roll in — let us know if you find any here!
The Texas Senate race Cruz competed in was a bit lopsided financially; he outraised his Democratic challenger, Paul Sadler, $13.5 million to a mere $600,000. Now the freshman finds himself with a whopping $1.2 million in debt. To pay this off Cruz is doubling up on Nov. 28, hosting a $2,000 “Debt Retirement Reception” followed by a $5,000 “Debt Retirement Dinner” with a special guest, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
According to the latest filings with the FEC, the Cruz campaign owed chunks of cash to various vendors like Oxford Communications ($51,744) and Allegiance Direct ($81,688) as of mid-October. But the campaign’s largest creditor by far was Cruz himself; the candidate loaned his campaign $1.43 million, of which $908,000 is still outstanding. What makes this more interesting is that Cruz’s committee reported having more than $2.5 million cash-on-hand in mid-October, more than enough to pay off his campaign tab. (To be fair, we don’t know exactly how much of that Cruz spent in the last half of the month.) Why is he holding on to all that cash? No one really knows. Welcome to the oddities of campaign finance, Partiers.
Gabbard may be the first Hindu lawmaker in U.S. history, but she’s not the first to fall into the red after an election. Her campaign reported building up almost $100,000 in debts, and she’s enlisting Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii to help tear them down. Abercrombie, well-known on Capitol Hill (he served 25 years in the House before winning his current job) will be appearing at Gabbard’s D.C. breakfast on Nov. 14, where tickets will cost either $2,500 or $1,500 each. Her invite is up front in explaining its purpose, saying, “Please contribute to help retire 2012 Primary Debt.” Gabbard entered the District Two Hawaii primary as a distinct underdog to Mufi Hannemann, yet surprisingly overcame that gap. She then cruised in the general election, winning a formidable 81% of the vote.
These are just two of many politicians who will come to Washington bearing a tab that has to be paid off. It’s a prime moment for lobbyists to meet the fresh faces of Congress — and make a donation to a potential future friend who’s in need.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.