Party Animal Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Early this morning, the Committee Formerly Known As Obama’s Campaign, Organizing for Action, reported hauling in just under $4.9 million for the first quarter of 2013, an amount that the Los Angeles Times dubbed “a modest debut.” What a world we live in where $5 million dollars is considered “modest” and not “an absurdly gargantuan mountain of cash.” What’s even more impressive is that OFA started late into the cycle, missing an entire month as the committee transitioned from a campaign to the non-profit “social welfare” group it is now. It’s worth noting that the group had 109,582 unique contributors with an average donation of $44 — however, OFA did solicit gifts up to $500,000.
While OFA continues to rake in the cash, Congress is also partying hard as the 2014 campaign season gets into gear. We’ve flipped the calendar on our Follow the Unlimited Money tracker and you can see why by checking the number of new campaign committees that have popped up just since the first of the year. This week features funders benefitting S.C. congressional hopeful Elizabeth Colbert Busch, GOP darling Rand Paul and more.
Colbert and Colbert Team Up Again
Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch has proven herself to be a formidable fundraiser capable of competing with her Republican rival Mark Sanford, a former governor and former congressman, in special election for an open South Carolina congressional seat. And now she’s upped her game. Talk about a lengthy VIP list — this “Colberts United” event on Monday features 41 lawmakers! The attendees include (drum roll, please): DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., House minority whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., DNC head Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md. Additional hosts include high-powered Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and his brother, liberal think tank czar John Podesta — and we haven’t even mentioned that big brother Stephen Colbert will be there! The massive party takes place at B. Smith’s inside Union Station, and guests will have to fork over $10,000 to get in. So much for Colbert Busch being a D.C. outsider…
Rand Rakes It In
Current Republican starlet Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is cashing in on his surge in popularity with a breakfast on Thursday. Although he stumbled through “a polite but tough reception“ at Howard University earlier this week, Paul is hoping to right the ship in a more welcoming atmosphere — the law offices of Covington and Burling in downtown D.C. The fundraising breakfast will cost PACs $1,000 and individuals $500.
Women Win at Klobuchar’s Funder
Hurray for women! Especially women that help you raise campaign money! Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is hosting her Annual Women Winning Breakfast this year on Wednesday morning — early on Wednesday morning. The start time was pushed back to 7:30 AM — but don’t worry, Klobuchar promises “we’ll have enough coffee to go around!” The host committee is packed with winning women , such as top lobbyists Linda Daschle, Susan Buck, Daniella Landau and more. The event is located at the law firm McGuire Woods — right on K Street. For guests that would like to take part in the winning, they’ll have to lose anywhere from $2,600 to $500.
Alaska Lt. Gov. Eyes Senate Seat
One of the most vulnerable senators in 2014 will be Mark Begich, D-Alaska — he barely won in 2008 and is facing stiff competition from the right in 2014. Popping up on the official National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraising list is the state’s lieutenant governor, Mead Treadwell, who is weighing a challenge against Begich. It appears he’s more than just thinking about it now, hosting a “Birthday Celebration and Meet + Greet” on Friday at the Westin in D.C. Although the invite states “No donations are requested,” the very next sentence solicits “voluntary contributions up to $2,600″ — sounds like a request to PT! The guests that do donate will benefit the Treadwell for Alaska Exploratory Committee. The question now is will he or won’t he; the number of donations on Friday may help answer that question.
Alexander Continues Partying Hard
With 10 funders planned in 2013, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is officially a party animal. And this week he’s not letting up, holding two events for his campaign committee. The first is a dinner on Tuesday at the brand new Osteria Elisir in downtown Washington. (It’s so authentic, you can even view the menu in Italian — oh wait, all it does is take the website and put it through Google translate.) Hosting the dinner will be Andy Mekelburg, VP of Government Relations at Verizon, Jay Perron, VP of Governmental Affairs at the International Franchise Association, and former Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Katie Hays. Tickets will cost $2,000 across the board.
The second funder for Alexander is a Thursday breakfast most likely inside the offices of Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell, a multi-national lawfirm. The firm’s political committee as well as Healthways Inc. will be hosting the event, which will run PACs up to $2,500 and humans up to $1,000. Alexander’s torrid party schedule has been paying off as well — his campaign’s already crossed the $1 million mark!
Check the calendar for the full slate of events. Until next time, Partiers.Tweet
The nation’s lawmakers are at again this week. Sunlight has more than 30 fundraisers recorded in its database. Some of the highlights:
Partying with the Prez: The Obama Victory Fund 2012 will be hosting two events this week. The first event, a private concert on Wednesday with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, will be held in Newton, Mass. Tickets range from $2,500 to $10,000. Later in the week, the president himself will be attending an afternoon reception in South Portland, Maine. Tickets for the Friday event start at $100 for general admission.
Morgan Griffith going hard: The GOP congressman, who recently made headlines in The Hill for his unusually prolific rookie legislative season, will be the honoree at a Monday reception at the Capitol Hill Club. Tickets range are $500 for individuals and $1,000 for PACs. Two days later Griffith will host an equally priced Sugar Producers Breakfast.
Klobuchar cramming in the parties: Though political prognosticator Charlie Cook rates her as a shoo-in for reelection this year, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is taking no chances: The first-term senator will have three fundraisers this week. The first, on Sunday, is a hockey game featuring the Minnesota Wild against the Washington Capitals. Tickets start at $500. On Tuesday, the senator will be having a breakfast at a downtown Washington law firm with tickets ranging from $500 to $2,500. The next day, she will be hosting another equally priced breakfast.
Bass and Chabot in fundraising harmony: Reps. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., and Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, will hold a joint fundraising reception together for their Bass Chabot Committee on Wednesday. Several other Republican lawmakers, such as Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., will also be at the event. Tickets range from $1,000 to $2,500.
Newcomer making a huge party splash: Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, will be holding two huge events this week. Tickets for the first event, a reception in Westwood, Mass. on Monday, will range from $100 to $1,00. On Thursday in Boston, she will also be hosting a lunch, featuring former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. Tickets for this event range from $500 to $5,000.
Rockin’ out with the Republicans: Meanwhile, the senator Warren is trying to unseat, Scott Brown, R-Mass., will be joining Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., at the Verizon Center on Wednesday, where both will be having fundraisers at a concert by American hard rock band Van Halen. The tickets for both events range from $1,000 to $2,500. Click here to see the details for Sen. Thune. This link leads to the information for Sen. Brown’s event, which will benefit his leadership PAC, SCOTTPAC.
Comedy Night with Schiff: Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who has been pushing stricter penalties for gun traffickers, will be switching to more light-hearted discourse Friday with a Comedy Night at Flapper’s Comedy Club in Burbank, Calif. Tickets for this event start at $125.Tweet
Looking to end the second quarter of 2011 on a high note, the Democratic Party has three high-dollar fundraisers scheduled for the end of June. Events will be held to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Women’s Senate Network of the DSCC.
The first scheduled event is the “Friends on the Hill Dinner” tonight. The dinner at the St. Regis Hotel will benefit the DSCC with suggested individual donations of $10,000. The main draw for this fundraiser will undoubtedly be the listed hosts: chiefs of staff to leading Democratic senators, including Harry Reid, D-Nev., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., among others.
Congressional staffers have been featured guests at other political fundraisers–earlier this year, for example, Party Time reported on two separate events hosted by chiefs of staff to Democratic House members. And last year, Party Time highlighted a fundraiser featuring a new chief of staff to a Republican senator as the main draw.
According to the Senate Ethics Manual from the 108th Congress (seemingly the last to have been published online), Senate Rule 41.1 prohibits employees of the Senate from soliciting, receiving, or having custody of campaign funds unless they hold one of three designations. The Senate offices of Sens. Murray and Durbin confirmed that their chiefs of staff are in fact designated to handle campaign funds but calls made to the offices of the other senators were not returned by the time of this post.
On June 21, the Women’s Senate Network of the DSCC will hold a reception and dinner to benefit those members of their network up for re-election in 2012. Listed contributions range from $1,000 to attend only the reception to $30,800 for the host committee. Those contributions will be made to the DSCC, with some funds directed to Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., all of whom will be up for re-election in the next campaign cycle.
The next night the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will have its turn when it holds a fundraiser honoring Reps. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and John Lewis, D-Ga. Rep. Hoyer is celebrating his 30th year in Congress this year while Rep. Lewis is celebrating his 25th. While both representatives have individual fundraisers scheduled this month celebrating their feats of legislative longevity, this event will celebrate benefit the DCCC as a whole. Contributions start at $1,000 for an individual ticket while the honor of being a PAC host for the event will require a contribution of $15,000.Tweet
Lobbyists looking to get the ear of Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., or Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, will soon have their chance — along with thousands of screaming teenagers. Both Klobuchar and Moore (representing her GWEN PAC) are holding fundraisers at the Glee! Live in Concert show at the Verizon Center on June 9.
Tickets for the event are normally either $66.35 or $108.70 depending on the seat, but tickets to enjoy the concert with either the representative or the senator are a bit more costly. Contributions to the GWEN PAC event are listed as $1,500 for one ticket or $2,500 for two, while the price to attend the show with Sen. Klobuchar is $2,000.
Followers of the senior senator from Minnesota should not be surprised that Klobuchar is holding a fundraiser at a Glee concert. Last summer Sen. Klobuchar made the news when, during the Senate confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan, the Senator asked the prospective Supreme Court Justice if she could comment on the famous case of Edward vs. Jacob referring to the movie Twilight. She asked this after mentioning that her family had been up late the previous night for the premiere of the third Twilight movie and then was host to a sleepover of three 15-year-old girls. As the mother of a teenage girl and a lawmaker who is not afraid to insert pop culture into politics, it is perfectly natural that the Senator would choose to hold a fundraiser at the upcoming Glee concert.Tweet
Delaware’s Former Lt. Governor John Carney (D-DE) is running uncontested for the state’s lone House seat–and he is doing it with the political weight of the DCCC, a handful of lawmakers, and at least half a dozen well connected lobbyists behind him (see this invitation to a November 4 luncheon).
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, Carney had raised $427,000 by the end of the third quarter of this year. His only registered opponent in the primary so far, Scott Spencer, has reported nothing whatsoever, and no Republican opponent has announced yet.
The incumbent, Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) announced last month that he would be running to fill the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden, effectively clearing the way for Carney.
“He is the strongest Democratic congressional candidate that our state has seen in many years,” Carper said. “The breadth of his experience and knowledge of this state and many of the issues we face now make him more than qualified to be a United States congressman.”
Carper speaks from experience–Carney worked as his secretary of finance and as deputy chief of staff when Carper was Governor. In addition to his public endorsement, Carper may or may not be calling in a favor or two. Jonathon Jones, his former chief of staff from 2001-2007, and now a lobbyist, is billed as one of the hosts on the November 4 luncheon invitation.
Jones isn’t the only former chief of staff turned lobbyist on the invitation though–John Michael Gonzalez, chief of staff to Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL) from 2005-2009, is also listed as an event host (note that Bean is also mentioned on the invitation).
Other event hosts include lobbyist Sean Richardson, chief of staff to Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) from 2002-2006 and to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in 2007; lobbyist Jeffrey Peck, former staff director of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1987-1992, lobbyist Tanya Lombard who worked as a Special Assistant to President Clinton, and finally Gwen Mellor who lobbies for Hogan & Hartson.
Carney’s inside support is already showing in his campaign receipts. His third top source of cash is leadership PACs.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.