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

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

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

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

And now, onto the week!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

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

And now, for the week’s highlights!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo credit Wikimedia

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.21.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

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

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

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

And now, here’s your week in parties!

Big Apple, big party

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

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

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

McCain Money

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

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

Ted Cruz hearts New Hampshire

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

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

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

Old home week

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.14.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Flickr

Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.07.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

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

Party people, welcome to the first Monday after McCutcheon.

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

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

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

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

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

Obama heads to Houston

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

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

GOP = Going Out to Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgians go for green

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

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

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

Bill steps up for Marjorie

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

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

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

McConnell money

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

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

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

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

(Photo courtesy Flickr)

Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.31.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

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

Hello, party people, and happy Monday!

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

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

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

Clinton cash machine

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

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

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

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

DeMoney for DeMaio

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

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

Oprah comes to Virginia

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

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

Rick Scott rakes it in

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.24.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Mitt Romney returns to the fundraising circuit, Thom Tillis comes to D.C., and Rep. Joe Garcia has three parties in three days

They’re baaaaack!

Party people, Congress is returning to D.C., so, obviously, the best way to celebrate is with a fundraiser … or two … or three. Our social calendar blows up this week with 28 parties as politicians come back to Capitol Hill after their weeklong recess. Ready them checkbooks!

This week also ushers in installments of two recurring fundraisers for Republican congressmen. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., has his first of nine breakfast funders on Thursday morning at the Capitol Hill Club. If you throw down $5,000, you get two seats at each of the monthly breakfasts, cleverly titled the Dr. Phil Breakfast Club. And Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., has his second standing lunch date with supporters on Tuesday. Each one-hour lunch at Bullfeathers will put you back $500, or $1,000 to $2,500 for PACs.

It’s a packed week, but what else is going on out there? Upload those invites here, or email us any tips or clips.

Welcome back, Mitt!

Since taking a break after his 2012 loss to President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney has mostly stayed out of the political limelight, heading to Disneyland with the family and working on a remodel of his La Jolla home. But in the last month or so, Romney has been popping up in the news – penning an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, weighing in on the proposed Arizona legislation that would allow businesses to deny service to gays based on religious beliefs – and on the party circuit.

After taking off about a year from fundraising, Romney is officially back in action. Last month, he headlined an event for the Republican Governors Association at the Lenox Hotel in Boston with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and this week, he’ll attend three more funders.

On Monday, Romney and Florida Gov. Rick Scott will hit up donors for the RGA during a pricey evening reception (as in, $25,000 to $50,000 per couple). Constance and Mike Fernandez, who chairs private equity firm MBF Healthcare Partners, will host the event at their Coral Gables home. Coincidentally, MBF Healthcare Partners went in big for Romney in 2012, tossing $500,000 to Restore our Future, the super PAC set up to support the Republican nominee.

The next day, he jets up to the Big Apple to headline back-to-back fundraisers for Ed Gillespie, RNC-chairman-turned-American-Crossroads-founder-turned-Virginia-Senate-candidate. Gillespie, who worked on Romney’s campaign in ’12, is mounting a challenge to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in November, and a new poll shows the race is getting tighter.

The Romney-headlined parties for Gillespie get started with a $1,000-per-person reception at the swanky Essex House. Then it’s off to a $5,200-per-plate dinner at the home of billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, founder and CEO of asset management firm Blackstone.

Thom Tillis gets some D.C. love

The Senate race in North Carolina gets hotter and hotter by the day. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s poll numbers keep dropping and the Cook Political Report just shifted the race from “leans Democrat” to “tossup.” She’s cruising above the fray of a primary fight, but the Republican contenders who want her seat are making a lot of noise and gaining traction among their party’s better-known personalities.

Monday evening, a fistful of GOP senators gathers at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s D.C. headquarters for a reception for Thom Tillis, the current speaker in North Carolina’s House of Representatives and one of Hagan’s top challengers. Tickets start at $500 for individuals and go up to $2,500 for PACs. It isn’t the first time Tillis has thrown a D.C. event with GOP heavyweights, either; in December, he partied with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

But it isn’t smooth sailing until the state’s Republican primary in May. In a familiar storyline, establishment-backed Tillis will face off against Greg Brannon, who has picked up endorsements from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and FreedomWorks head Matt Kibbe (the latter two even partied with Brannon during CPAC weekend). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Hukabee is weighing in on the race, too. He attended a fundraiser for another Republican candidate, Mark Harris, a Baptist minister and founder of a group that successfully advocated for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Money for Mooney

Alex Mooney has been collecting top-tier conservative endorsements during his run for West Virginia’s second district House seat. The likes of Ann Coulter, Gun Owners of America, Family Research Council and the Tea Party Express are throwing their support behind Mooney’s candidacy. And his opinion piece from a few weeks ago, blasting the Environmental Protection Agency and “President Obama’s anti-coal policies,” should only further endear him to conservative voters.

On Tuesday evening, Mooney fundraises with fellow Republicans at D.C.’s Capitol Hill Club. Among others, the invite lists as hosts National Right to Work and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who just called the Koch brothers “two of the most patriotic Americans” during a town hall meeting. Maryland Rep. Andy Harris and Georgia Rep. (and Senate candidate) Paul Broun – who recently had a BYO gun target practice fundraiser and an AR-15 giveaway, respectively – are slated to attend.

Grimes goes for green

Democrats of all stripes keep coming out of the woodwork for Alison Lundergan Grimes in her bid to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Mega Dem donor and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, former President Bill Clinton and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet have all done fundraisers for her so far this year, demonstrating her party connections and Democrats’ confidence that Grimes just might win the race.

On Wednesday, two prominent and well-connected gay political activists, Karen K. Dixon and Nan Schaffer, will host Grimes at their D.C. digs for a fundraising dinner. The couple are well-known LGBT activists in their hometown of Chicago, where Schaffer started a gay news outlet in the ’80s. And their Kalorama home was the site of that DNC fundraiser last June, where a gay rights protester interrupted First Lady Michelle Obama during her speech.

Joe Garcia’s fundraising frenzy

Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., is a one-man partying machine this week. He’s heading to three D.C. funders in as many days, an impressive schedule even for some of PT’s most experienced party animals.

Garcia is one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” members, a designation that means more money and resources will go to those races. On Monday, he joins three other “Frontline” members and Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen for lunch on Capitol Hill. Then, on Tuesday, Garcia meets up with two different “Frontline” members and California Rep. Adam Schiff for breakfast at the DNC’s Wasserman Room.

On Wednesday, Garcia is throwing his own fundraiser, his second annual Cuban Style Taste of Miami. We’re not sure how festive a Capitol Hill row house can get on a Wednesday evening, but we can only assume it’ll be a raucous and celebratory evening, considering it caps off a full week of hobnobbing.

Pricey booze!

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., knows how to take a staid political fundraiser to the next level. He’s known around Party Time as a politician who favors hot dog receptions, Chicago-style pizza, ice cream socials and baseball games to traditional luncheons private dinners. And this week is no different.

On Tuesday – right at happy hour, we might add – the National Beer Wholesalers Association PAC is throwing a reception for Quigley at the Oracle Townhouse on D Street. Tickets to get in will set you back $1,000 to $2,500, so drink up.

Whew, party people, what a busy week! Let us know what we are missing – email us, or upload invites here. Party on!

Photo courtesy Flickr

Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.17.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Roundup: President Obama fundraises in Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz goes to Iowa, and Allen West’s Black Tie Boot Camp in Palm Beach

Party people, we’ve got another packed schedule of fundraisers upon us. Looks like Congress is taking advantage of its week away from Washington to shake the money tree in warmer locales: Texas, Arizona, California and Florida are all on the calendar. These politicians sure do know how to make the best of their time off the clock.

The one exception to the outside-of-the-District trend is Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who is throwing a St. Patrick’s Day Fete in Fairfax on Monday. According to Party Time’s data, this is the second themed St. Paddy’s Day shindig on the books this year. But there must be more happening out there – after all, no self-respecting politician would pass up the opportunity to use a cute leprechaun with a pot of gold as a means to inspire campaign contributions! If you’ve heard of anything good, you know what to do: Send those invites and newspaper clippings here.

Now, it’s time to hit the road for this week in parties!

President Obama: Florida fundraising (and golfing?)

The Partier-in-Chief will join Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., DCCC head Steve Israel and Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation for a fundraiser in Miami on Thursday evening.

The cocktail reception and dinner will take place at the home of former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, who has also been known to join President Obama on the golf course. A few weeks ago, while on a family vacation in Key Largo, Obama hit the links with Mourning, sportscaster Ahmad Rashad and Cyrus Walker, Valerie Jarrett’s cousin. We can’t imagine that the president won’t take advantage of the sunshine and Florida’s omnipresent golf courses on this trip, either.

But wait, this just in: Late Friday night, Party Time learned that President Obama will attend a second fundraiser in Miami on Thursday for the DNC. He’s also the headliner for a DNC funder on Tuesday in D.C., but this is all we know about either event. If you’ve got details, please share! Email us, or upload an official invite here.

Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa … again

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, may enjoy reading about Dr. Seuss’s take on breakfast foods, but on Tuesday, the freshman senator will have a plate full of sweets and goodies at a fundraiser in Mason City, Iowa. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Cruz are both slated to attend a Dessert Reception for the Cerro Gordo County Republicans in yet another indicator that the Texan is laying the groundwork for a run at the GOP presidential nomination. The next presidential election may be 32 months away, but it’s never too soon to buddy up with voters in Iowa, perennial site of the first-in-the-country caucuses.

Since the Iowa caucuses provide an important initial go-around for candidates vying to be president, getting in good with the state’s party leadership is always a wise first step. Cruz learned that one early, with our PT records showing he first hit up the Hawkeye State six months after being sworn in. Then it was last October’s Ronald Reagan Commemorative Dinner in Des Moines, followed by that memorable weekend Pheasant Hunt with Rep. King.

Need another sign Cruz has 2016 on the brain? The next fundraiser PT has on his schedule is the Freedom Summit in New Hampshire, the state with the first presidential primary.

Ted Cruz, you are one savvy partier.

McConnell in sunny SoCal

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plans to party on Wednesday afternoon with Christian conservative heavyweights in Southern California. The fundraiser, first reported by the Washington Examiner, will be hosted by California insurance executive John Nelson and Salem Communications CEO Edward Atsinger.

Atsinger’s Salem is a mega communications firm that specializes in evangelical Christian and conservative websites, like and, and radio shows hosted by the likes of Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt. In January, the Salem family got bigger when it gobbled up Eagle Publishing, which produced and

That move consolidated a significant chunk of right-leaning media outlets and personalities under one organizational umbrella, making a fundraiser with the organization’s head an efficient tip o’ the hat to voters in Kentucky wary of McConnell’s conservative bona fides. (And, might we add, Republican funders on the fence about doling out some dough to the Senate’s minority leader.)

Although polls have McConnell way ahead of his from-the-right primary challenger, Matt Bevin, the longtime senator is still neck-and-neck with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. So, bring on the bucks! Wednesday’s fundraiser, headlined by Prager and Hewitt, costs $15,200 per person or $30,400 per couple.

Cash for Crist

Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist continues to beef up his new left-leaning bona fides. On Wednesday evening, he will hobnob with the gay elite of South Florida at a fundraiser at the home of Dean Trantalis, the first openly gay member of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. According to the invitation, other hosts include Michael Albetta, a leader in the state’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Caucus, and Norman Kent, the publisher of South Florida Gay News.

The fundraiser provides another opportunity for Crist to make nice with Florida’s LGBT community. While he was Florida’s governor from 2006-2010 – and had an “R” after his name – Crist supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. But two years after moving out of the governor’s mansion, Crist changed his party affiliation and his position on marriage equality, even going so far as to apologize for supporting the amendment.

This is Crist’s second fundraising event Florida’s LGBT heavy-hitters. In January, Crist had a reception at Brad Grosberg and Phil Kean’s Winter Park home, where tickets started at $250 and went up to $10,000.

Weekend getaways + funders

A day away from D.C. is great, but why not turn that trip into a weekend getaway if you possibly can? Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., heeds that advice and heads to Las Vegas for a Spa Weekend Trip with a price tag of $1,500 for individuals or $2,500 for PACs. By the way, we trust Wagner’s intuition when it comes to a weekend of relaxation and luxury. She was, after all, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg during President George W. Bush’s second term.

If you’re more in the mood for a go-go-go weekend, the Americans for Spring Training trip has you covered. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., will converge in Orlando for a weekend full of spring training baseball games and a day at Walt Disney World.

But ever since Party Time heard about Allen West’s Black Tie Boot Camp weekend in Palm Beach, we couldn’t get it out of our heads. Not only is the invite priceless, we are beyond intrigued to learn about what goes down at West event that combines bow ties and camo. If you have any details – seriously, anything – send it right here.

That’s it for a busy week in out-of-town parties, folks. Let us know what we missed, and keep us posted on what you hear about: Email us, or upload invites here.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.10.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: President Obama’s New York fundraiser, Reps. James Clyburn and David Scott host D.C. dinners, plus hunting and spring training

Hello party people! We hope all you CPAC-ers have recovered from your weekend of keynotes and debates, plus something we learned about late in the game – Reaganpalooza for the Young Conservatives Coalition. What a whirlwind few days.

We aren’t sure, but that might explain why this week’s social calendar skews to the Democrats. We know the GOP doesn’t need a full week to recuperate, though, so let us know what parties are brewing out there. Email us any tips, or upload your goods here. (Know how we know Republicans can party like nobody’s business? Texas Gov. Rick Perry, fresh off his rousing CPAC appearance, is headlining the Lincoln Reagan Dinner in Kentucky with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.)

Before digging into the week, we feel obligated to point out two funders for the themed party aficionados among our readers. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., is having his Annual St. Patrick’s Celebration on Monday evening in Paterson. Even the contribution levels are themed – $350 for “shamrock” sponsorship, or $500 for the “emerald” level. And on Thursday, Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., is throwing his Sixth Annual Taste of Buffalo event at the DNC’s headquarters in Capitol Hill. The menu? Buffalo wings, Imperial Pizza and beef on weck, obviously.

Here’s what the rest of the week looks like, partiers. (If you know of anything we’ve missed, send whatever you’ve got here!)

Partier-in-Chief in the Big Apple

President Barack Obama is maintaining his packed fundraising schedule this week with a trip up to New York for two events. He’s smack in the middle of his run of 18 fundraisers this year, all scheduled in his party’s attempt to shore up cash for the 2014 election.

Although Obama’s approval ratings continue to drop (a recent Fox News poll has him at 38 percent), the president can still inspire deep-pocketed donors to write hefty checks. In addition to an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, he’ll be hobnobbing with donors at a price tag of $32,400 per person during a Fireside Chat at the N.Y.C. home of Alan and Susan Patricof. That fundraiser for the DNC is limited to 13 couples or 26 people, according to Politico.

As far as we can tell over here at Party Time, this is the first Patricof-Obama event. The Patricofs are big-time supporters of the Clintons from way back when, as the foursome met in the Hamptons in the late ’80s and the Patricofs spent a night in the White House during Bill Clinton’s tenure. Alan Patricof raised lots of money for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, but stayed out of the 2012 election, meaning Tuesday’s event is yet another indicator of the Democratic establishment and Clintonworld aligning for 2016.

Cash for Clyburn

On the other hand, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., wants everyone to calm down about the still-far-off 2016 election. He recently rallied Democrats in Charleston during a Young Democrats of America meeting, encouraging attendees to get motivated for the midterms and not to focus too much on 2016. He, for example, said he was heading to Florida to gin up support for Alex Sink, who is in a tight race for the late Rep. Bill Young’s seat. A Democratic pickup there is “critical,” Clyburn said. (Side note: That special election in Florida is Tuesday, so if you know of any last-minute fundraisers – or early debt-retirement parties – happening, let us know!)

“Let’s have some victories in 2014, and then, the morning after the November election, we can get to work on 2016,” Clyburn told the crowd, according to a Post and Courier report.

He’s taking some of his own advice come Tuesday evening when he’s having a dinner fundraiser in downtown D.C. for his 2014 campaign. The Rev. Leon Winn announced in October he would challenge Clyburn this cycle, making the Baptist minister the first African-American Republican candidate in South Carolina’s 6th District since 2000. But Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, already has a significant leg up on the cash contest: Our Real-Time Tracker shows he’s got a little more than $1.1 million in the bank.

Scott’s small shindig

Rep. David Scott knows how to do Georgia politics. The Democrat served in state-level government from the ’70s to 2002, and then was elected to the U.S. House. Since then, Scott has won reelection easily, despite news reports in 2007 about some questionable campaign finance activity.

This year, Scott is facing a primary challenge from Michael Owens, a businessman and Marine Corps veteran. According to our Real-Time Tracker, Scott had loads more cash on hand than Owens, and the incumbent will only add to his totals after a Thursday night event. Scott is having a Small, Convivial Dinner at fundraising hotspot Johnny’s Half Shell on Capitol Hill. Tickets start at $500 and go up to $2,500.

Weekend Update with Party Time

Florida is the happening place to be this upcoming weekend, with two politicians heading to the Sunshine State for fundraising trips. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., will travel back to his home state on Friday for a three-day hunting excursion. When PT first heard about the event, details were still TBD, so if you know what’s on tap, let us know!

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., may not have another election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from throwing a fundraiser or two. On Friday, Casey will make his way to Bradenton, Florida, for a Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training Weekend. And it’s probably a good time to get out of Washington – Casey was one of eight Democratic senators to vote against the confirmation of Debo Adegbile, President Obama’s pick to head up the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Adegbile’s nomination was controversial from the start, since he was on the legal team that attempted to get a death penalty sentence overturned for Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of murdering a police officer in Philadelphia in 1981. Obama was obviously peeved by the Senate’s vote, calling it a “travesty.” When it gets that chilly in D.C., it’s definitely time for a warm weekend getaway.

And that’s the week in review! What have we missed? Send us what you’ve got here. Until next week, party on!

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.03.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Conservatives party hard in Baltimore, GOP rallies around Mike McFadden, Sen. Mark Udall fundraises in Florida and New York

Hey, party people, hey! It has been a busy few weeks on the party circuit, and we love hearing about all of the fundraiser details: What was on the menu for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit? How were Rep. Tom Price’s dance moves at the Justin Timberlake concert? (Know more details, or have some invites to share? Send it all here.)

This week is shaping up to be a bit more traditional, with your run-of-the-mill luncheons and receptions. But even those can get interesting once you throw in a boldfaced politician or two, such as the fundraiser-in-chief himself: President Barack Obama will be out shaking the money tree for his party. And on Friday,  the Republican Governors Association will be lunching and fundraising in Atlanta with Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Nathan Deal. The two GOP leaders continue to get heat for recent traffic issues in their respective states, with Christie not able to shake the George Washington Bridge scandal at home and Deal still recovering from the snow-induced commuter nightmare at the end of January.

And, as he’s fond of doing once every few months, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., is having one of his Bagels with Ben fundraisers on Wednesday morning. We’ve always had a soft spot for this event, seeing as it combines two of our absolute favorite things – alliteration and carbohydrates.

Let’s keep this train going, folks. Here’s the rest of your week in parties!

Magic Mike

No, not that “Magic Mike.” We’re talking about Mike McFadden, the investment-banker-turned-Senate-candidate hoping for a magical run for Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s seat.

Franken squeaked into the Senate in 2008, besting his Republican opponent by just 312 votes (out of the approximately 2.4 million cast). But after six years of legislating, fundraising and shedding a bit of his “SNL”/Hollywood boisterousness, Franken doesn’t look as vulnerable as he once did. Rothenberg even put the seat into the “Safe Democrat” column for the 2014 cycle.

No matter – the GOP is throwing some of its biggest names behind McFadden this Wednesday at Party Time’s first recorded fundraiser for the Republican candidate. Last May, McFadden stepped down from his post as co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market to focus on his campaign; just a few months later, and he’s partying with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 13 other senators, plus former Minnesota Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman.

Our Real-Time tracker shows McFadden will need to keep the parties coming in order to elbow out Franken, who has been known to get creative on the social circuit. The Republican has just shy of $1.7 million in the bank compared to Franken’s $4.8 million.

Mike Making Money

Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass., wants to stay in the House and is having a luncheon this week to prove it. The Massachusetts native will fundraise over cheeseboards and meatball appetizers at Sonoma Restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.

This funder comes a few months after Capuano opted out of a run for governor in his home state. The Democratic primary would’ve pit him against Attorney General Martha Coakley, who bested Capuano once before. Back in 2010, the two duked it out for a chance to face Republican Scott Brown in that year’s special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat. Capuano lost that primary by almost 20 points, and then Brown won the general, becoming the first Republican senator elected from the Bay State since 1972.

Party Time’s data show the luncheon fundraiser is a go-to move for Capuano, but we’ve got high hopes that the congressman will spice it up a little during this campaign. After all, his nephew is “Fantastic Four” actor Chris Evans, who went out on the trail in the run-up to the 2010 special election. If you hear about a Capuano party in the works, you know what to do – send the details here.

Rally that base

This weekend (in a fairly accurate visualization of our country’s political polarization, by the way), the right and the left will be partying with some of their staunchest supporters on opposite coasts.

In Los Angeles, California Dems are having their State Convention, and inviting a fistful of big names to draw all sorts of blue state voters and operatives. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will all be on hand on Saturday, as will Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (a potential 2016 White House contender) and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Across the country, on the Maryland Harbor, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get going on Thursday. This is going to be the place to be for conservative activists and politicians this weekend, and boy oh boy, it looks to be a jam-packed weekend.

Be sure to come caffeinated: Things get started at 9 a.m. with speeches from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Donald Trump. And the hits just keep on coming Friday and Saturday – Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Heritage President Jim DeMint, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are all slated to speak. And if all that speechifying gets you down, check out the Ann Coulter-Mickey Kaus debate Saturday afternoon.

Democrats hit the road

We know the president is scheduled to headline an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in DC on Tuesday and, the following day, two fundraisers in Boston for the Democratic National Committee. But if you’ve got more deets, please share!

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has a busy weekend planned. He’ll pop down to Florida on Friday and then head north on Sunday for two days in New York. He’s had the trips on the books for a few weeks now, and the timing couldn’t be better for the freshman senator. Last Wednesday, Udall and political watchers everywhere learned that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner would challenge Udall rather than running for reelection to the House seat he has held since 2010. Expect the GOP to pour lots of money and resources into this race, as Gardner is considered an up-and-comer and the National Republican Senatorial Committee made him a top recruiting target. Gardner has close — very close — ties to the energy industry, Sunlight has found.

With his southern California district encompassing some of the best-known movie and TV studios, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., knows the powerful draw of a big-screen star. This weekend, he is having his Second Annual Weekend with the Stars fundraiser in L.A. Specifics are TBA, although there is a nifty film role on the invitation, undeniable proof that donors will be rubbing elbows with celebs all weekend long.

And that’s the week, partiers! What have we missed? Let us know, by emailing us or sending invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia


Beneficiary: congressional candidate, lawmaker, or entity which collects funds raised at party

Host: person who is hosting party-often, but not always, a registered federal lobbyist

Venue Name: where the party is

Entertainment Type: type of gathering, such as "breakfast," "ski trip," "bowling"

Other Lawmakers Mentioned: lawmakers mentioned on invitation who are used as a draw for the event

Sunlight's Party Time is a project to track parties for members of Congress or congressional candidates that happen all year round in Washington, D.C. and beyond. (read more)

We also post information we receive about parties where members of Congress are expected to participate—such as convention or inaugural parties.

Since we don't hear about all the parties, you can also tell us if you know where the party is and we don't.