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2014 elections Uncategorized • POSTED - 01.06.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

Extra! Extra! PT Roundup, Pt. II: Florida, football, fundraising

Earlier today, Political Party Time reported on a slow start to the 2014 fundraising calendar. But we just learned of a development involving football, Florida and fundraising, and had to share with you, faithful partiers.

Turns out Republican Gov. Rick Scott and newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist – who both want another four year lease on the Governor’s Mansion (Crist served as the Sunshine State’s Republican governor before Scott)– are taking advantage of state excitement over Monday’s BCS National Championship. The candidates will be in sunny SoCal for the Florida State University vs. Auburn game, and are banking on deep pockets and home-state pride to raise some cash for their competing campaigns.

Along with state Reps. Steve Crisafulli and Will Weatherford, Scott attended a $25,000-per-person luncheon Sunday for Florida’s state House GOP candidates. Tonight, Scott and his wife, Ann, are throwing a pre-kickoff fundraiser in a luxury box at the Rose Bowl, with tickets going for $50,000 per couple. (And before he headed out West, looks like Scott managed to squeeze in a $15,000-per-person quail hunt in Greenville on Saturday.)

On the other side of the aisle, Crist will be fêted at a lunch Tuesday in L.A., with entertainment industry execs playing host.

Florida State is favored to win tonight, but who will win the fundraising matchup?

Photo credit: seminoles.com

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2014 elections Uncategorized • POSTED - 01.06.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

Happy New Year! Let’s get this party started!

Hello, partiers, and Happy New Year! As the resident professional party patrollers, we hope you imbibed your fair share of bubbly and munched on plenty of toothpick-speared apps (the edible kind, technophiles!) during the holiday break.

As Congress meanders back to Capitol Hill, Party Time is worried, seriously worried that about our solons’ hangovers. The first full week of 2014  is shaping up to be a slow one on the party circuit.

Could the lawmakers be partied out? Naaaah, we can see partying times ahead on our social calendar. Perhaps they feel it might be a tad unseemly to be hitting the cocktails and canape trail while they’re busy playing the Grinch to all those unemployed folks.

Fulfilling the stereotype of the City That Never Sleeps, our main events this week are brought to us by a couple of intrepid New Yorkers. One of them is state Sen. Lee Zeldin, who’s vying for the GOP nomination in his state’s easternmost congressional district, the far tip of Long Island. Incumbent Democrat Tim Bishop is a perennial target, but so far has managed to hold onto his seat, sometimes by a fingernail. Zeldin, meanwhile, who hosts a campaign kickoff this week, is facing a primary against self-funded attorney George Demos. He already loaned his campaign $1 million and now is claiming to have better than $2 million in his campaign kitty, most of provided by himself (or his relatives, according to the spec reported by Newsday).  Zeldin, meanwhile, has the support of the Empire State’s Republican establishment; he’ll be featured Monday night at a forum hosted by Fox News commentator Mallory Factor.

C’mon. Is New York the only place that’s partying this week? We are convinced there’s more going on out there. Let us know what you’ve heard about.

Meanwhile, to tide you over, we’d like to remind you of PT’s 2013 year in review. And don’t forget about our handy playlist that features songs from this year’s crop of fundraising concerts. It’s got a little something for everyone, from Fleetwood Mac to Taylor Swift to Beyonce. And, of course, a nice ka-ching-a-ling-ling theme.

While our New Year’s resolutions over here are optimistic at best (eat healthier, exercise more, etc.), we’ve got one for you that is easy to keep: Send us any and all party invites! Our upload process is painless, and you’ll be letting us know who’s hot and who’s not on the campaign trail, plus helping us maintain this robust database of more than 18,000 events. Click here to get started.

Until next time, partiers!

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.30.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Roundup: 2013 year in review, oddball parties edition

Hey, did somebody say party?

Yeah, we told you we were done for the year but as everybody togs up to say ta-ta to 2013, Party Time just had to get into the action. We’ve already given you our swell all-about-the-cash playlist. Now, as the old year winds down, we decided to indulge in our own version of Auld Lang Syne: a look back at the top 13 weirdest political fundraisers we heard about this year. (Got one that beats these? You know what to do.)

In no particular order:

- Remember that time when Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., had a target practice fundraiser where people were encouraged to “bring your own gun”?

- In September, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., invited supporters to a weekend of Cajun cooking, a swamp tour and an alligator hunt.

- Not to be outdone, Florida Gov. Rick Scott tried to host his own gator hunt in October (with tickets at $25,000 per person!). The Republican ended up canceling his event when questions came up about hunting licenses.

- Brian Nieves, a state senator in Missouri, had a fundraiser that incorporated an AR-15 giveaway.

- Along the same lines, Don Dwyer, a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates, raffled off an AK-47 and an AR-15 in May, with raffle tickets going for 5 bucks. Dwyer’s serving a part-time jail sentence, BTW (in between legislating — we kid you not) but, relax partiers: It has nothing to do with the gun funder.

- Although she ended up canceling, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., originally planned a “low-dollar breakfast” in the Big Apple in October. We never got specifics for ticket prices, but trust us: “low” is in the eye of the beholder.

- Only in Washington, kids: Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., had a “Non-Industry Specific Luncheon” in March.

- The Fund for a Conservative Future, along with Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, had a reception and Mountain Man Dinner at the always rustic, reminds-us-of-the-outdoors Acadiana. (For example, here’s what’s for dinner.)

- Bowling with Stephen Colbert. ’Nuff said.

- Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod wanted to meet you, greet you, and then be your Valentine at her Feb. 14 fundraiser. (Oh, and also take your money – tickets went for $500 to $5,000 a pop.)

- Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., cashed in on his Hollywood connections and raffled off a brunch with Conan O’Brien at the late-night host’s house.

- During his successful run for N.Y.C. mayor, Bill de Blasio used the power of Susan Sarandon – and pingpong! – to raise money for his campaign.

- Illinois State Representative Barbara Wheeler took advantage of the June weather and had a Teeni Weeni Bikini Martini Party. The tagline? “Families Welcome, Donations Appreciated, Bikinis Recommended!”

If we got all this in 2013, imagine what an election year is going to bring! See you at the parties, folks. Happy New Year!!

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.16.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Roundup: Beyonce, Breakfast, and Scott Brown

Hello partiers, and happy snowy December! Did we mention Beyonce’s coming to town? And a few lawmakers are sticking around for the fun(draising)?

As Congress winds down this unproductive year, we’ve had a few recent end o’ the year surprises, like a budget deal passing the House and heading to the Senate. In the midst of that development, one of the budget’s primary architects, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., even managed to pop down to sunny Florida for two fundraisers. Now that’s multitasking, folks.

But the whirlwind of holiday-themed parties of the last few weeks is coming to a close, meaning this, faithful partiers, is our last Party Time roundup of 2013. Did we mention Beyonce is coming? It’s been a crazy year, from a “Bring Your Own Gun” fundraiser with Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., to the government shutdown shutting down some – but not all – parties, to a Taylor Swift concert bringing in some campaign cash for Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky. And of course . . . Beyonce!

As politicians head to their home districts, dreaming of sugar plum fairies and humming seasonal songs, we know they are hoping Santa brings them lumps of cash, not coal. Over here at Party Time, all we want for Christmas is Beyo–ok, for you to send us more party invites! Toss anything you’ve got here, and yes, we know we are the easiest people to shop for on your list.

Before we totally close up shop, the good news is a few brave pols are still partying this week. Check out what’s on tap …

Beyonce. Need we say more?
What with his California district encompassing the celebrity-spotting hotspot of Los Angeles, Rep. Adam Schiff knows the pull of a bold-named special guest. Enter Queen Bey.

That’s right – on the heels of her surprise album release last week, Beyonce is hitting up D.C.’s Verizon Center Wednesday night, with a fistful of fresh songs (and, we’re assuming, new, big dance numbers). Schiff is hoping the promise of multiple costume changes and, well, Beyonce will get you to shell out some cash for his 2014 campaign. But tickets aren’t cheap, friends: Get ready to drop $2,500 for one ticket, or $4,000 for two.

And Bey isn’t the only heavy-hitter of the evening. Defense contractor Raytheon’s PAC is hosting Schiff’s fundraiser. According to our Influence Explorer data, Raytheon gives loads in campaign donations and spends a chunk on lobbying. Records in our Party Time database also show that Schiff is one of only two Democrats who’ve benefitted from a Raytheon-hosted party.

And this just in! We recently learned that Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, is hopping on the Beyonce train. Sessions, who early last week got a Democratic challenger in his 2014 race, will have a fundraiser of his own at Wednesday’s concert. Tickets are a steal when you sit with Sessions, at $1,000 per person or $2,500 for PACs.

Turns out Republicans and Democrats can agree on one thing – Beyonce does run the world.

Booker and Bennet Breakfast at the Bistro
Bistro Cacao will be a hub of Democratic fundraising come Tuesday and Wednesday. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado are each throwing breakfast funders there, aiming to bring in some campaign cash over cappuccinos and croissants.

Fortunately for Booker, his 24-hour fast in solidarity with immigration activists was last week. So, barring a same-sex wedding that needs officiating or a driveway that needs shoveling, Booker should be chowing down with supporters at Bistro Cacao Tuesday morning.

And after attending a string of fundraisers benefitting various Democratic Party campaign committees, Bennet is having a party of his own Wednesday morning. From our records at Party Time, this looks to be Bennet’s first funder since February, which isn’t all that surprising since he’s been heading up the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2013-14 cycle. Welcome back to the party circuit!

Scott Brown keeps us on our toes
Will he or won’t he? Scott Brown, former Massachusetts senator (and model), has been toying with a run in New Hampshire’s 2014 Senate race, which would pit him against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. He’s headlining the New Hampshire GOP’s Holiday Party Thursday night, further stoking speculation of what a Brown campaign would look like in the Granite State.

One thing’s for sure – people on both sides of the aisle already have strong opinions about Brown’s candidacy, even though he hasn’t officially announced anything. The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, a gun-rights advocacy organization, is asking its members to attend a protest at Thursday’s dinner, while the state’s Democrats kicked off an anti-Brown ad campaign last Wednesday.

If you’re interested in attending – and braving some protesters – get ready to throw down between $50 and $2,500 for a ticket.

Lenard goes long for campaign cash
After a failed primary bid in 2012 against Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Brenda Lenard is trying again, this time running to unseat Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in 2014. On Friday, she heads to California to bring in some big-time cash at a dinner at the home of big-time football star Terrell Owens. The Tennessean reported in September that Owens and Lenard had never met, and that Owens was paid to attend.

That’s it for this week, partiers. See you in the New Year! (And, until then, if you hear of any fundraisers, let us know.)

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.11.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

Sandy Hook hasn’t dampened politicians’ enthusiasm for gun fundraisers

Guns, politicians and parties? It has been a winning combination on the campaign fundraising trail. Despite the tragedy at Sandy Hook and subsequent reopening of the debate over gun control, that still appears to be true.

Last year, we looked at all of our fundraising data and found that since 2006, just shy of 70 lawmakers threw upwards of 110 events that somehow incorporated guns. Not surprisingly, the National Rifle Association – the country’s primary gun rights advocacy organization – provided  a popular Capitol Hill venue for Republicans and Democrats alike wanting to have a laser shootout-themed event. This is the one area where the gun partying appears to have pooped out. Although we counted 21 events at Southeast D.C. address since 2006, Party Time got only one early 2012 invitation to a party there, and it ended up getting canceled. Party Time has nothing at that location for 2013. Of course the NRA may still be hosting fundraisers, and the invitations are simply not finding their way to our database. If you have the scoop, please let us know about such events.)

But gun-loving politicians have found other venues to express themselves this year. Coming through the 2013 archives, Party Time found 14 fundraisers involving guns, all in the great outdoors.

MORE: Sunlight’s coverage of the Sandy Hook anniversary .

Both of Idaho’s Republican senators, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (via his Freedom Fund leadership PAC), had skeet shooting fundraisers this summer at the Prince George’s County Trap & Skeet Center in Maryland.

Risch also had an Idaho-based hunting trip in January. The invite promised a long weekend full of events with a world champion shooter, a world champion duck caller and hunting with a former Navy SEAL.

More recently, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., put on an afternoon of target practice with pistols and rifles where attendees were encouraged to “bring your own gun.” Event organizers recommended leaving shotguns at home, but were willing to provide firearms for people who didn’t bring their own goods.

Two southern state politicians took advantage of their natural surroundings by planning alligator hunts for deep-pocketed donors. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., threw a $5,000-per-person Louisiana Bayou Weekend in September that featured a swamp tour and alligator hunt. And Florida Gov. Rick Scott followed suit in October with a $25,000-per-person Gator Hunt. But Scott scratched it once concerns about alligator hunting licenses came up (and after the event lit up social media).

Less menacing creatures were also on the hunting schedule this year. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, had his annual dove hunt in Hondo, and a $1,500 contribution earned individuals the designation of “host” of the event as well as entry into the raffle for a shotgun. A Pheasant Shoot benefiting Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., went down in March in Maryland. And Rep. Steve King, R-Texas, took to Twitter to celebrate a day of “successful” pheasant hunting with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during an October funder.

Del. Don Dwyer, who claims to be one of the most conservative members of the Maryland House of Delegates (and is certainly one of the most controversial, as he is currently serving a jail term for two incidents of driving–in one case driving a boat–while intoxicated), put on a gun raffle fundraiser in May. Raffle tickets went for $5 each, and people were limited to buying 10 tickets. The prize? An AR-15 or an AK-47.

Along the same lines, Missouri State Sen. Brian Nieves held a sports shooting and rifle raffle fundraiser in October. A Sig Sauer 516 Patrol AR-15 was up for grabs for attendees contributing at least $100.

While these politicians successfully use weekend hunts and target practice to fill up their campaign coffers, advocates on the other side of the issue, such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions – don’t show up in our records as frequently.

According to Party Time’s data, Bloomberg hosted three fundraisers this year at his N.Y.C. home (two benefiting Cory Booker’s run for the New Jersey Senate seat and one for Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.) but none were tied directly to his advocacy group–that we know of. As for Giffords, we counted two fundraisers for her Americans for Responsible Solutions: a Young Professionals Reception in February and a raffle for a lobster dinner in Maine with Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly.

(Contributing: Peter Olsen-Phillips; Photo: iStockPhoto)

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.09.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: ‘Tis the season for politicians to party hard for campaign cash

Hello partiers! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and what better way to celebrate than with a political fundraiser or two?

That’s certainly on Congress’s mind this week, even if it’s just a distraction from yet another looming budget battle. In fact, the Republican leader of the budget negotiations, Rep. Paul Ryan, will start out the week shaking the (palm) trees for cash in the Sunshine State. According to St. Petersblog, Ryan will breakfast Monday in the Orlando area with Republican supporters and members of Congress at the home of Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. The same day, Ryan is also slated to headline a $500-per-person fundraiser for Rep. Steve Southerland in Panama City, Fla.

This week’s social calendar is all sorts of busy, but we know there’s more going on out there. What are we missing? Send those invites/email blasts/stories (and pics!) right here.

Fundraising swing with Carl

The week of Thanksgiving, we pointed out how the partier-in-chief, a.k.a. President Barack Obama, was going on a fundraising tear along the West Coast, headlining seven parties in three days in Seattle and California. Party Time is similarly impressed with Carl DeMaio’s upcoming cross-country fundraising spree. (Hey, it’s hard work and somebody’s got to do it.)

DeMaio, a gay fiscal conservative whose campaign materials tout him as a “new generation Republican,” served on the San Diego City Council for one term before losing to former Rep. Bob Filner in the 2012 mayor’s race (and we all know how that turned out). But DeMaio isn’t interested in jumping into the special election to replace the scandal-plagued Filner; instead, DeMaio is looking to oust Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in 2014.

The San Diego race will be one to watch, and DeMaio is viewed as a potential star within the GOP. But last week, Politico reported a dustup within the party about whether or not the National Republican Congressional Committee should throw its support – and dollars – behind gay candidates.

But that’s not stopping DeMaio from hitting up the fundraising circuit: PT counts 25 scheduled fundraisers for DeMaio from June 2013 to next February, including this week’s tour. After hosting a champagne brunch at his San Diego home over the weekend, DeMaio hops over to Dallas for an evening reception on Monday. Then it’s off to New York City on Tuesday for a Log Cabin Republican event with fellow gay GOP candidate Richard Tisei, who is running to unseat Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass. And on Wednesday, DeMaio hits up D.C. donors with an evening reception.

Busy morning at Hotel George

The Hotel George is a popular fundraising spot – it’s swanky, it’s within spitting distance of the Capitol, and it’s getting a makeover. Come Wednesday morning, it’s the site of two separate breakfast fundraisers for Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Ill., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

Enyart recently made it official that he’d be running for reelection in 2014, but our Party Time data and Real-Time filings indicate he never really stopped raising campaign cash since arriving on the Hill earlier this year. On Wednesday, he’ll benefit from the fundraising pull of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, who is the “special guest” at the $1,000-plus breakfast.

That’s also the price tag for Speier’s funder, happening at the same time and at the same place. We suggest checking out what the Northern California native orders at her Winter Wonderland Breakfast Reception – in September, she brought a cooked steak, a bottle of vodka and a can of caviar to the House floor during a speech about food stamps and congressional food and travel expenses. Know what’s on the menu Wednesday, or any other good details? Share here.

Meeting up with Mitch

On Monday night, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell is slated to attend an evening reception at the Bethesda home of Bruce and Leslie Lane. The event is billed as a “Washington Area Pro-Israel Reception” and lists 15 new-to-PT hosts.

The Kentucky Republican is fending off tea party challenger Matt Bevin in the primary as well as looking ahead to the general election, most likely against the well-funded Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Bluegrass and big bucks

Sen. Mark Warner is throwing a Bluegrass & BBQ Bash on Monday evening at Hill Country BBQ in downtown D.C. because, you know, nothing says “country” quite like 7th and D streets.

Tickets start at $50 for the fundraiser benefiting the Virginia Democrat’s 2014 reelection campaign. Although Warner remains popular and isn’t facing numerous challengers, he’s still shoring up support. Ken Cuccinelli, who recently lost the Virginia governor’s race to Terry McAuliffe, told the Washington Post it would be “tempting” to run against Warner next year. Expect plenty more barbecue if that comes to fruition.

Holiday happenings with Allen West

Florida’s fiery conservative Allen West may not be running for office, but he’s not far from the fundraising game. On Friday night at St. Jude Catholic Church in Boca Raton, the former GOP congressman headlines a holiday party, complete with a buffet dinner and holiday music. Proceeds from the $75-per-person event (or $1,000 to sit at West’s table) go to his namesake foundation. (And if this video is any indication, you are in for a rollicking good time.)

West’s leadership PAC, which works to elect more conservatives “in the same vein as Allen West,” also continues to rake in the dough, bringing in more than $1.3 million during the first half of this year. The PAC recently backed four candidates for the 2014 races, and 10 more endorsements are expected.

Florida football fun

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., is betting a sports fan or two will plunk down some serious cash for a weekend-long retreat to watch the Dolphins-Patriots game with him. This isn’t the first time Deutch has spiced up a fundraising event; although he’s had his fair share of receptions and luncheons, he also hit up a Heat-Wizards game a few years ago and a Pink concert at the Verizon Center last spring.

What else is happening out there, partiers? Keep us posted.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.02.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Republicans and Chris Christie party hard, Grimes fundraises in Kentucky

Good morning, partiers! Still feeling sleepy from all of that turkey and Black Friday shopping? Well, pour yourself another cup of coffee and get ready for some fundraising festivities because it’s going to be a busy December – we’ve counted 44 parties on the books so far, and most are during the first two weeks. We are certain more shindigs are brewing out there, so, as always, let us know what we’re missing.

If you are in the mood for some holiday-themed gatherings, you’re in luck. On Wednesday, Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., will have an Italian-Style Holiday Reception while Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., is throwing a Holiday Wine Tasting at Sonoma Wine Bar. ’Tis the season.

This upcoming weekend, Republicans will be busy raising some cash in the Big Apple and Virginia. Florida’s Alex Sink will be in D.C. Wednesday for an event headlined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Alison Lundergan Grimes will hit up her home state for contributions today.

Grimes goes for some (more) green

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn’t wanted for national attention since announcing in July that she was running to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Grimes, Kentucky’s current Secretary of State, benefits from family connections her father cultivated as the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, including the deep-pocketed network of the ever-present Clintons.

To wit: Grimes has been gallivanting across the U.S. collecting campaign cash. And lots of it. According to the most recent filings on our Real-Time Tracker, Grimes brought in more than $2.5 million during the third quarter, out-raising McConnell, who collected just shy of $2.3 million. Democratic fundraiser extraordinaire Jeffrey Katzenberg raised money for her in Los Angeles in September, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., headlined a Las Vegas luncheon in October, and Hillary Clinton’s bestie, Susie Tompkins Buell, hosted Grimes in San Francisco a few days before Halloween.

Grimes also got a shout-out from First Lady Michelle Obama during a New York City fundraiser for Senate Democrats a few weeks ago. But perhaps in a nod to the president’s sinking approval ratings, Grimes took a step back from any perceived chumminess with the White House. “Listen, I did not have any conversations or interactions with the First Lady,” Grimes told a Louisville news station. “I was there as part of a women’s policy conference.”

Come Monday, it’s all about her home state. Grimes heads to the northern Kentucky community of Hebron for a fundraiser at a private home. According to PT’s data, it’s the third time she’s tapped Kentucky-based donors so far. Anybody know of more? Stuff those invites, newspaper clippings, swell party mementoes right here.

Collecting cash with Christie

Gov. Chris Christie, the newly minted head of the Republican Governors Association, has lined up two parties at the end of this week in deep red territory. Christie is lending his fundraising clout to events benefiting Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Fallin made headlines last month when she weighed in on the military’s compliance with the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision. She joined four other states when she ordered state-owned National Guard bases to stop handling applications for all military spouse benefits in order to keep gay couples from getting any. Instead, all related paperwork must go through one of the state’s four federally owned outlets (which Stephen Colbert had a field day with). Fallin cited Oklahoma’s 2004 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in her announcement, stating that the new policy “protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people.”

So, basically, Fallin could use some fundraising fun. She’ll be celebrating her birthday (No. 59) with Christie at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday evening. We suggest a second piece of cake (just not wedding cake).

On Friday, Christie heads to the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho to a fundraiser for Otter. As Republicans continue to debate Christie’s conservative bona fides, he’ll stumble into a governor’s race that’s starting to look a lot like other GOP contests. The two-term governor just got wind of a Republican challenger in the form of State Sen. Russ Fulcher. According to the Idaho Statesman, Fulcher was hobnobbing with his state’s tea partiers in the week leading up to his announcement.

Big names, big bucks

Florida’s Alex Sink, will be getting lots of love from all sorts of bold-named Democrats at her Wednesday night fundraiser in D.C. Expected to attend: Pelosi, and other members of the House Democratic leadership team — Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland,  James Clyburn of South Carolina, Steve Israel of New York —  along with the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida,  and the rest of Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation. They’ll be putting  their collective weight behind Sink’s effort to win a March 11 special election for the Tampa Bay House seat that the late Rep. Bill Young, a Republican, occupied for more than four decades. Of course, all those Democrats will be  asking you for some money.

Sink is viewed as a potential Democratic star: After working in the banking industry, Sink pinged around Florida’s state government halls, first as the treasurer of the State Board of Administration and then as the state’s chief financial officer. In 2010, she ran for governor against Rick Scott and lost by one percentage point.

The race to replace Young, who died in October,  promises to be tight, and already has both sides talking – Democrats were quick to praise Sink’s decision, and Republicans pounced as soon as she made her announcement.

Republican ragers

No weekend plans? Want to part-ay with the Republican Party? You’ve got options: Both Virginia and New York City are hosting GOP fundraisers this weekend.

At the Omni Resort in Hot Springs, Virginian Republicans will meet up to debrief about the 2013 election and to start strategizing for next year. The invite promises workshops, receptions, luncheons – and Gov. Rick Perry. The Texan is slated to speak at the Saturday night black-tie gala. We’d suggest wearing cowboy boots with your tux, but you might be the only one; Perry has been leaving his on the shelf as he two-steps back into national politics, including during a recent stop in all-important Iowa.

But if you prefer to party in the big city, the National Republican Congressional Committee get-together may be more your style. The National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual Bright Lights and Broadway Regional Meeting for members of its “steering committee” is in Manhattan this weekend. For an annual membership of a mere $10,000, committee members get things like email updates, issue briefings with Republican leaders and invites to other regional events. What a deal.

Those are the highlights of this busy week, partiers. What have we missed? Let us know!

Photo credit: Flickr, via Holly Occhipinti

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 11.25.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Obama, Biden go on pre-Thanksgiving fundraising spree

Hello partiers, and Happy Thanksgiving! The latter part of the week promises to be filled with turkey and trimmings, but before that, there’s some fundraising to be done.

The country’s number one and number two are hoping to cash in on some major donors’ feelings of holiday-induced goodwill on Monday and Tuesday. President Barack Obama is slated to attend four fundraisers in California, and Vice President Joe Biden will lunch with fellow Dems in downtown Chicago.

Obama is making the most of his West Coast travels. On Sunday, he attended a $20,000-per-person “discussion” at the home of philanthropists/Zumiez creator Sonya and Tom Campion in Seattle. Then, Obama hit up donors at former Microsoft exec and art aficionado Jon Shirley’s Seattle home during a $32,400-per-couple event. Obama raised money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., at the art collector’s mansion, which happens to be a few doors down from Bill Gates’ 48,000-square-foot charmer. Here’s hoping that this time the prez remembered Shirley’s name – when he hosted a $35,800-per-couple brunch in 2011, Obama apparently referred to Shirley as “Mark.” Now that’s what we call awkward.

Come Monday, it’s time to schmooze with deep-pocketed Democratic supporters in California. First stop: the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco for a lunch benefiting the Democratic National Committee.

The president has been a money magnet throughout his busy fundraising schedule, which made last week’s news about reduced ticket prices to the Bay Area event all the more surprising. Entry to the luncheon originally started at $1,000 and went up to $15,000, but the SF Gate reported that the first-level tickets were slashed to $500 and “organizers are even making deals on some of the $15,000 tickets to the reception with the president, with prices dropping to as low as $10,000.” Is this a case of donor fatigue, or maybe just a post-Thanksgiving Day sale come early?

Then Obama hits the L.A. pad of Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, for a reception. (Quick game of hoops in the backyard, anyone?) The former Laker and Showtime star has been in the news recently, talking with Anderson Cooper about his HIV diagnosis in 1991 and his recently out gay son.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Pelosi will be on hand at the Johnsons’ home for the $2,500- to $15,000-per-person event. The DCCC also set up a lottery so people could sign up for free to win a seat at the event – or, if you read the fine print, you could make a hefty contribution and then enter the lottery. Which feels counterintuitive to the whole “win a free trip” thing, but we digress.

Come dinnertime, Obama will head to the home of billionaire media mogul Haim Saban. Saban is tight with the Clintons – he backed Hillary in the 2008 primaries, and reportedly was so upset when she lost that he considered supporting the Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, in the general election – and has been critical of Obama’s approach to Israel. He contributes significantly to Democrats, but has never hosted an event for Obama.

Back in October, the event’s organizers were hoping to have the $32,400-per-couple shindig at Saban’s Beverly Hills mansion, and turns out, the partier-in-chief got his way.

Tuesday morning finds Obama at “Friends” creator Marta Kauffman’s home for a roundtable discussion. This funder is a long time coming: It was rescheduled twice, first from a September event that the White House put off due to the crisis in Syria and then from an October event with First Lady Michelle Obama that was scratched because of the government shutdown. Hopefully everyone can make up for lost opportunities with plenty of coffee drinking and as many “Friends” references as possible.

The VP is no slouch when it comes to fundraising, which we learned when checking out his recent party schedule. On Monday, Biden heads to downtown Chicago for a luncheon for Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. Tickets start at $2,500 and go up to $37,600 per person.

After playing coy about running for reelection, Durbin decided to go for it in 2014. State Sen. Jim Oberweis recently said he’s looking to throw his hat in the ring for the GOP primary, but, according to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Republican leaders are suggesting he do some “soul-searching” first, citing previous controversial statements he’s made during campaigns.

That’s a whirlwind few days of fundraising, so let’s all agree to take off Thursday and Friday for turkey, football and bargain hunting. Catch you on the flip side, partiers.

(P.S. What funders are we missing? Drop us a line and let us know!)

Photo credit: Flickr

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PartyTimeData Partytime Uncategorized venues of interest visualizations • POSTED - 11.20.13 BY Peter Olsen-Phillips

Happy birthday Joe, you travellin’ man

It’s Vice President Joe Biden’s birthday today, and even at the tender age of 71, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, if recent travels are any indication,  the VP may be angling for shot at the White House in 2016. On Monday, Party Time reviewed Biden’s recent excursions on the national party circuit — noting his stops in key primary states and large, donor-rich cities.

Today the vice president is in Panama on official business, touring the famed canal and meeting with President Ricardo Martinelli. Though, it seems that even on the other end of the continent the VP can not avoid the rumors of his presidential ambitions. A pool report notes that Martinelli — who will have exhausted term limits by 2014 –quipped that Biden would be the next of the two men to run for a presidency. Biden, ever bashful, could only muster a cryptic “Oh, we’ll talk about that,” in response. (Pictured right: Biden returning from Panama to rejoin the party circuit).

Luckily, if he decides to toss his name into the ring his post has given him all the experience necessary for the gig — at least when it comes to fundraising.

As the current man occupying the Oval Office has shown, presidents must be both leaders and chief fundraisers, and Biden has certainly done his due diligence. Although he has picked up his pace in recent weeks, Party Time records show (see map) that Biden has been crisscrossing the country raising cash for members of Congress and the national party all year.

Click on the “cup o’ Joe” icons to learn more about the fundraisers

Biden’s 2013 itinerary included funders in “ATM” states for the Democratic National Committee in places like Atlanta, Austin and San Francisco. He also lent his name to and embattled incumbents Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La.,  and Kay Hagan, D-S.C.

An appearance by a party bigwig like the vice president can help to drum up buzz and cash. At least four of the fundraisers Biden attended (or will attend) this year have suggested contributions in the five figure range. Three of these — the upcoming Windy City funder for Durbin’s Senate Victory Fund, DNC’s National Issues Conference in Washington and the Baltimore bash for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — had maximum contributions of over $30,000.

Sounds like someone is ready for the big leagues.

As always, if any of our intrepid readers catch wind of other fundraisers featuring the vice president, show you care and kindly share.

(Note: All dates for 2016 caucuses and primaries come from the 2016 calendar of Frontloading.blogspot.com)

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PartyTimeData Political Action Committees Uncategorized venues of interest • POSTED - 11.18.13 BY Peter Olsen-Phillips

Is Joe Biden gauging support for a 2016 White House run?

Vice President Joe Biden is generally not one for shying away from, well, anything. But the former senator and two-time candidate for his party’s presidential nomination has thus far been uncharacteristically tightlipped about his 2016 plans, despite indications that he may have his eyes on another run for the White House.

His party itinerary will do nothing to quell those rumors, as his travels look suspiciously like those of a man testing the waters for a presidential campaign. In recent weeks Biden’s fundraising forays have taken him to electoral battlegrounds like North Carolina and Ohio and to metro areas flush with deep pocketed donors as he has raised helped to raise cash for the national party and congressional allies. In the past few months he has also paid visits to Austin, Texas, and Indianola, Iowa, where he dropped hints of White House ambitions bid at the annual Steak Fry hosted by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Earlier this month Biden hit Shaker Heights, Ohio, and Atlanta, Ga., reviewing transportation infrastructure in the Cleveland suburb — a fundraising pit stop he also hit in 2011 — and stumping for immigration reform in the ATL. Of course, like any pol worth his salt, he managed to find time to fit in some fundraising during both of these trips.

The Vice President’s Nov. 6 review of railways in Shaker Heights was followed by a closed-door fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. During his Atlanta swing on Nov. 14, he lent his name to a funder for the Democratic National Committee. While interparty enthusiasm for another Biden run pales compared to another Hillary Clinton campaign, it never hurts one’s chances to help the national party get some much-needed green — particularly as the national party struggles to keep pace with their Republican rivals. October reports show the DNC lagging behind the RNC in cash on hand by a margin of more than two-to-one.

The DSCC has also received some love from the nation’s partier-in-chief — Party Time records show that President Obama attended two fundraiser’s for the party’s senate arm the same week, in Philadelphia.

Most recently, the Veep had a fundraising double ticket on Nov. 15 in North Carolina — one of the first states to hold primaries and a key electoral battleground. Biden’s first stop was a small breakfast funder in Charlotte at the home of health care executive Bert Scott, where, the Charlotte Observer notes, the Vice President munched on a southern-style meal of shrimp and grits with 15 guests.

This was followed by a drive down tobacco road to Chapel Hill’s lovely Carolina Club on the UNC campus, where Biden helped rake in bucks for North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan. Although the event was originally set to take place Oct. 21, it was rescheduled after the government shutdown. Tickets ranged from $500 to $10,000 for a chance to party with the VP and Hagan.

A local ABC affiliate reports that Hagan’s vice presidential fundraiser was met with a harsh rebuke from the RNC, which is targeting the Senator for her support of the president’s healthcare reform. Biden apparently avoided mentioning the troubled insurance rollout in his remarks.

As for what’s next on the docket for Biden’s cross-country tour, the 70 years young Dem will journey to the windy city Nov. 25 to raise money for the Durban Senate Victory fund  for Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, where tickets will range from $2,500 to $37,600 for the luncheon.

Today, the VP is in Houston stumping for more federal investment in the nation’s infrastructure. He does not appear to have any fundraisers planned.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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PARTYFINDER™ Hints

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

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

Venue Name: where the party is

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

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

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

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

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