Here we are, party people, deep into June of a midterm election year, which can only mean one thing: as the humidity keeps climbing, so does the tally of political fundraisers.
Local and federal politicians are busy bees this week, partying all over the map, from New York to Colorado to Utah to Iowa. But even in the midst of this far-and-wide fundraising, one invite did manage to catch our eye and pique our interest. Illinois Rep. Bill Foster – Democrat by affiliation, physicist by trade – wants his donors to learn the art and physics of trapeze during a fundraiser event on June 25. Details are scarce, but we do know that tickets run from $500 to $5,000 for this D.C. event.
And that leads right into our regular Party Time refrain: Send us the goods! If you’ve heard of an event or have an official invite, email us or use our handy (and confidential) upload feature. If you know of extra details – dinner menus! Attendee lists! Pictures! – send them right here.
And now, for your week in parties.
Cash for cocktails
Before her last fundraiser, Alison Lundergan Grimes promised to talk to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., about coal and fossil fuels. But as the Kentucky Senate candidate and the Majority Leader partied at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, Grimes never said the word “coal,” according to leaked audio from the event.
While political insiders are trying to ferret out the source of the leak, Grimes preps for another high-dollar fundraiser, this one at the see-and-be-seen Waverly Inn in Manhattan’s West Village. Monday’s cocktail party gives Grimes some face time with well-heeled donors who can shell out $2,600 per person, as well as hosts/mega Dem donors/Hollywood heavyweights Jeffrey Katzenberg and Harvey Weinstein. Katzenberg last hosted a fundraiser for Grimes in January in Los Angeles, but PT data show this is Weinstein’s first shindig for the Kentuckian.
Dems celebrate July Fourth in June
Democrats may have the majority in the Senate, but it’s a razor-thin margin. Number crunchers posit that the GOP can gain control, making those tight races (see: Louisiana, Colorado, Arkansas, etc.) even more crucial for Dems to hold onto.
Enter the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the group tasked with keeping the Senate in the blue column. And in order to accomplish that, everyone knows that means one thing: get ready for some fundraisers! According to PT’s records, the DSCC has benefited from 12 parties in 2014, and, perhaps more importantly, often boasts big-name attendees like President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
On Tuesday evening, the group keeps up the partying (but minus any specific special guests) with a decidedly Americana get-together on the grounds of Capitol Hill’s Mott House. The Fourth of July is still a few days away, but no matter – the DSCC is throwing an Independence Day Summer BBQ, with tickets going for $1,000 to $2,000 a pop.
Obama parties in Minneapolis
The DSCC’s counterpart for the House, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has an even harder job this cycle, seeing as Democrats need to snag 17 seats to get a majority. President Obama also vowed to help the DCCC’s fundraising efforts, headlining a handful of pricey parties this year in the hopes of inspiring deep-pocketed donors to write fat checks.
Come Thursday evening, there’s another partying opportunity for the DCCC. Obama bundlers Sylvia and Sam Kaplan – he founded law firm Kaplan Strangis & Kaplan P.A. in 1978, and was Obama’s ambassador to Morocco in 2009 – are hosting an expensive reception and dinner at their Minneapolis home, where donors can throw down as much as $32,400 per couple. Obama, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel will all be on hand to gin up support for House Dems.
Granite State GOPers throw two part-ays
The Republican primary in New Hampshire’s 2nd District House race pits a retired Marine against a harpist, and yes, you read that right.
Marilinda Garcia, musician-turned-professor-turned-state-representative-turned-U.S.-House-candidate, is getting nods from across the Republican spectrum. The Republican National Committee named her a “rising star” last year, ShePAC endorsed her in May, and the Club for Growth just announced it was backing her run. Jarhead (he’s still in the Marine Reserves) Gary Lambert, a former state senator and small business owner, has support from veterans’ groups, but isn’t getting the same kind of national attention that Garcia is. But Sunlight’s Influence Explorer tool shows that, so far, Lambert is winning the money race: He has almost $200,000 more cash on hand than Garcia.
The two candidates are hoping to bump up their bottom lines this week with a pair of fundraisers. Lambert will be partying at the Nashua Country Club Wednesday evening, with tickets capping out at $3,500 per person. On Saturday, Jerry Gappens, the VP of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, throws a shindig at his racetrack for Garcia.
Lambert and Garcia will face of in September’s primary, with the winner going up against Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, a first-term Democrat who was a state-level lobbyist before coming to Capitol Hill. Politico recently reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee will target Kuster and 16 other House Democrats in an $18 million ad buy this fall.
Tea party parties on
Last, but certainly not least, is a Thursday evening party for the Sevier County Tea Party. The Tennessee-based group is throwing an America’s Last Stand get-together headlined by former Gov. Sarah Palin, former Rep. Allen West, former Sen. Rick Santorum, various media personalities, and this bald eagle. The forecast calls for rain, but no worries: Organizers moved the party from a stadium to the Sevierville Convention Center.
Photo courtesy Wikimedia CommonsTweet
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.
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
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 CommonsTweet
With Congress taking a week’s recess in honor of Presidents’ Day, the party scene is moving beyond the Beltway. Some of the highlights:
Rep. Allen West partying hard: Having freshly relocated his reelection campaign to a new district following a decision by the Florida legislature that made his current seat far more Democratic, and trailed there by the same eager Democratic rival, the outspoken Tea Party favorite has more reasons than ever to get his political party on. West, a first-term Republican from Florida, has two events planned for Tuesday. He’ll host a luncheon and golf outing in Palm Beach, Fla., followed by a Mardi Gras reception at a private home in the same location. The events are all part of his First Annual West Florida Trip.
Skiing is in this weekend: For those who prefer colder climates, several Republicans are planning ski trips for the end of the week. A Party City Ski Weekend will be held in honor of Reps. Jeb Hensarling, Pete Sessions (both from Texas) and Greg Walden (Oregon) in Utah, from Feb. 23 to Feb. 26. Then, starting Feb. 24, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., will be holding a two-day Winter Ski Fling in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Shooting too: The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors PAC is hosting a Tuesday fundraiser at the Scottsdale Gun Club for freshman Republican Rep. Dave Schweikert, R-Ariz. Tickets start at $100 and it costs $1000 to sponsor what’s being billed as “a fun and safe range event.”
Bachus breakfasts with bankers: Reportedly under investigation for possible insider trading violations, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., apparently remains a draw with the finance and banking industry. The Alabama Bankers Association will be hosting a breakfast for Bachus on Monday in Montgomery, Ala. As Sunlight told you in an earlier report on this gathering, Bachus has raised more campaign money from the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors than any other House member outside leadership this election cycle.Tweet
Love in the air – Stumped for what to get that special someone? Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, is scheduled to have a Valentine’s Day breakfast on Tuesday. Tickets range from $5,000 for hosts to $500 for individuals.
Money Makin’ Wednesday – According to Party Time records, there are 10 fundraisers scheduled for Wednesday, including a roundtable breakfast for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a luncheon benefitting the Building a Majority PAC (Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.), a dinner for Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.
Laissez les bons temps rouler! – Two members of Congress will be escaping the Beltway’s for seasonally-themed fundraisers. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., is scheduled to head to New Orleans on Friday for his Mardi Gras weekend event. He will barely miss Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., who hosts his own Mardi Gras reception on Feb. 21. Prior to heading out to the Big Easy, West will headline a sunset reception Saturday in Naples, Fla. The events in Naples and New Orleans are part of what West is dubbing his 1st Annual Florida Winter Trip.Tweet
Runway to Win – As Party Time reported on Jan. 27, there is a Runway to Win fundraiser scheduled for the Obama Victory Fund on Tuesday. The who’s who from the fashion and music industry such as Beyoncé, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Vera Wang and Marc Jacobs are scheduled to attend. The hosts for the event are actress Scarlet Johansson and the editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour. To attend the fundraiser, tickets start at $2,500 to co-chair to $250 per person.
Midnight Train to Georgia – After his win in the Nevada caucuses, Gov. Mitt Romney is scheduled to be in Atlanta on Wednesday for a reception fundraiser. Tickets start at $10,000 to be part of the host committee, $2,500 for the VIP reception and a photo with Romney, and $1,000 for the general reception.
Scotch and Cigars – As Party Time reported last week, the One Nation PAC is scheduled to host its 2nd Annual Scotch and Cigars event on Thursday. The special guest for the fundraiser is lobbyist and conservative activist Grover Norquist. Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle, R, N.Y., Dan Benishek, R-Mich., and Bill Huizenga, R-Mich are the event’s honorees.
Grammy Weekend – Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., is scheduled to have a fundraiser around the Grammy Awards on Friday. The cost to attend this event with Bass is $2,500 per person.
Birthday Celebrations - Republican Reps. Richard “Doc” Hastings, Allen West, Steve Fincher and Michael Grimm are scheduled to have a birthday celebration with special musical guest performer The Second Amendments. The Second Amendments is a bipartisan rock and country band featuring members of the House of Representatives. The original members of the band featured Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., on guitar and lead vocals; Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., on lead guitar; Dave Weldon, R-Fla., on bass; Jon Porter, R-Nev., on keyboards; and Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., on drums. According to the Washington Times, the original band broke up after some wanted to perform at the Republican National Convention.Tweet
Duck…Duck…Goose! – The Valley PAC, the leadership fund for Rep. Collin Peterson, D—Minn., will be hosting a Goose Hunt this weekend in Eagle Lake, Texas. This is not the first time the Valley PAC has hosted a poultry themed weekend. Early this year, the PAC had a Turkey Hunt at the Blue Head Ranch in Lake Placid, Fla., as well as a Quail Hunt in 2009 at the Southern Woods Plantation in Georgia.
“Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go” – If you feel the need to reminisce to the popular Beach Boys song or the 80’s Tom Cruise movie Cocktail, Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., will be hosting a fundraising event in Key Largo this weekend.
This is Not a Repeat of 1832 - What better way to take a break from all that talk of income inequality related to the Occupy Wall Street protests by shelling out $1,000 to watch Les Miserables with a congressman? Donors can do just that on Wednesday evening at the Kennedy Center for Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa. The musical follows the lives of several struggling poor characters leading up to the Paris Uprising of 1832.
Ms. Pac-Man – As we reported earlier this year, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., swore off donations from PACs (and lobbyists) for her personal campaign when she took the helm at the DNC in May. But the leadership PAC, called Democrats Win Seats, that bears her initials is still going to be accepting dollars from such sources, and is doing so at a Tuesday dinner organized by lobbyists. The PAC is now run by one of her longtime supporters, although the congresswoman stepped down as its chairwoman earlier this year, POLITICO reported.
Super Committee members cashing in – Panel members have booked at least four events this week [See all of the panel's events]. Co-chair Jeb Hensarling’s, R-Texas, Leadership PAC is getting help from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday. The leadership fund of Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., is putting on a Wednesday breakfast.
On Thursday evening, Clyburn is one of the special guests for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event at the home of Tom and Linda Daschle, who lobbies for Lockheed Martin and General Electric. Both companies are impacted by the committee’s work, although Daschle did not report directly lobbying the panel in the third quarter.
The DSCC is putting on a “National Innovation Conference” in California on Thursday and Friday, and, Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chair of both the DSCC and the Super Committee, agreed to be one of the hosts.
Allen West’s fundraising surge – The biggest font on this Thursday invitation is reserved for former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who reportedly offered his services to help with former Lieutenant Colonel Allen West’s, R-Fla., reelection. Another tidbit: for $2,500, donors will receive a copy of the former Defense secretary’s memoir, “Known and Unknown,” according to an event notification sent to Party Time.Tweet
According to an invitation received by Party Time, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., is running for Congress. No, really, he is running. And he’s inviting donors to run with him.
Allen West wants to whip those Washington fat cats into shape while simultaneously collecting some campaign donations with his “Run West” event on Thursday, May 5. The event promises to start out like any other with an hour-long reception at the Capitol Hill Club, but after that the former Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army will be rallying his troops for a four mile run across the National Mall.
All attendees of the event will receive a reception ticket and a runner ticket in exchange for making a donation. Those who give a generous gift of $2,500 will snag four reception and race tickets and earn the coveted “Ironman” moniker. From there, as the contribution levels fall, so go the prestige of the titles. For a donation of $1,500, an attendee becomes a “Marathoner”; for $1,000 a “Jogger”; and at $500 attendees stop being human and become “Treadmills.”
It is worth noting that of all the thousands of invitations in the Party Time database, there is a wide variety of events ranging from pheasant hunting to sailing, from bowling to Pearl Jam concerts, and even a bocce ball tournament, but this upcoming event for West is the only one that involves running. The invite does mention that there will be separate tickets for the reception and the run so the jaunt to the mall is certainly not obligatory. The number of attendees who will opt for the run after the reception is uncertain, but one might assume that if an invitee really wants the ear of the congressman they will have to lace up and go the extra mile (or four) by joining West on the mall.Tweet
Beneficiary: congressional candidate, lawmaker, or entity which collects funds raised at party
Host: person who is hosting party-often, but not always, a registered federal lobbyist
Venue Name: where the party is
Entertainment Type: type of gathering, such as "breakfast," "ski trip," "bowling"
Other Lawmakers Mentioned: lawmakers mentioned on invitation who are used as a draw for the event
Sunlight's Party Time is a project to track parties for members of Congress or congressional candidates that happen all year round in Washington, D.C. and beyond. (read more)
We also post information we receive about parties where members of Congress are expected to participate—such as convention or inaugural parties.
Since we don't hear about all the parties, you can also tell us if you know where the party is and we don't.