Spring is in the air, party people, and D.C. is starting to blossom and bloom. The trees are green, birds are chirping and parks are buzzing with people excited to shed those winter coats. And wouldn’t you know it? Politicians are coming out of the woodwork, too, throwing parties left and right.
Our social calendar this week shows plenty of activity, but what are we missing? Do you know of a fundraiser in the works? Share with your friends at Party Time! You can email us whatever you’ve got, or upload invitations with our easy and confidential tool right here.
Now let’s take a look at your week in political parties!
– Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a money magnate! Our records show the Republican has headlined 47 parties for his Right to Rise groups since he announced the PACs’ formation in January. And the presumptive presidential candidate continues to collect the cash this week with five more events. He’s got a roundtable and reception in Seattle on Monday, then a reception and dinner in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday. On Sunday, Bush heads home to Florida for a two-day retreat with his top fundraisers.
– Two lawmakers combine their favorite pastime (partying for dollars!) with America’s favorite pastime (baseball!) this week. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., takes his favorite donors out to the ball game Tuesday evening, and Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., follows suit on Wednesday at Nats Stadium.
– If you are in a jazzy and generous mood, consider heading down to New Orleans on Friday, where politicians will be partying during JazzFest. Hold the Center PAC (which is the new name of former Sen. Mary Landrieu’s, D-La., leadership PAC) is throwing a three-day shindig with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., as the special guest. And Rep. Cedric Richmond – a Democrat who represents Louisiana’s 2nd District, which encompasses New Orleans – will have his own long weekend get-together.
– Iowans should plan for yet another invasion of presidential wannabes this weekend when a bunch of Republicans head to the Hawkeye State for the Faith and Freedom Coalition event. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are all slated to speak on Saturday. (Walker is making the most of his trip – on Friday night, he’s going to headline a fundraiser for a handful of local Republican parties.)
Those are your highlights, party people! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Let us know!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
Today the New York Times Editorial Page called many incoming freshmen Republicans hypocritical for smoothly entering Washington’s money culture after running anti-business-as-usual campaigns.
The Times commented on the dozens of Washington fundraisers being held by GOP freshmen in the past few weeks before the group is even sworn into office. As previously noted on Party Time, many of the events aim to pay down campaign debts from the costly midterm elections.
To be sure, the other side of the aisle is playing the same game; Party Time has received a couple of invitations to debt retirement events for Democrats.
Tomorrow morning, Mark Critz, D-Pa., the former aide to the late Rep. John Murtha, who faced stiff competition for his old boss’s seat in a special election earlier in 2010 and defended it in the midterm, is getting help from the Democratic National Committee, which is holding a fundraiser for Critz at its headquarters, the congressman’s office confirmed.
With strong attendance, Critz could easily make up his election debt — totaling about $65,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings. PACs are being asked to shell out as much as $5,000, though individuals can attend for $500.
Donors appear to have a choice: if they want their funds to go towards 2010’s debt, they simply need to write “General Election Debt” on their checks, according to the invitation.
Debt relief fundraising provides an opportunity to special interests that were not big contributors before Nov. 2 to bend the congressman’s ear. By donating now, as opposed to during Critz’s close election race, corporate PAC managers and lobbyists are getting a sure thing — there is no doubt that Critz will be in Congress come January. The former Murtha aide won his seat in a tight race, winning 51 percent of the vote.
Down in New Orleans, a Democrat saddled with a bit more debt — Cedric Richmond — planned a “Debt Retirement Lunch” for today. The Congressman-elect has over $170,000 in debt, according to FEC filings, and is asking for contributions of between $500 and $5,000, according to the invitation.
And what about the Democrats that lost? Rep. Mike McMahon, D-N.Y., fell to Michael Grimm, but he held a donor appreciation event at a Capitol Hill lobbying office last week which drew a sizable crowd, according to his fundraising consultants. The event was complimentary to donors and the invitation did not solicit donations.
Of late, a handful of other “Thank You” events have been scheduled by Democrats, including election winners Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and David Scott, D-Ga., neither of whom has campaign debt, according to the FEC.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.