Once the members of the powerful deficit-cutting committee were announced in early August, one of the first reported events where lobbyists could try to influence the panel was a fundraiser for Rep. Dave Camp’s, R-Mich., leadership PAC on Sept. 7.
Federal records offer a glimpse into who tried. $18,000 in donations came from the political action committees of clients of influential GOP lobbyist Susan Hirschmann, one of the hosts of the fundraiser, in the weeks before the event. And that total may very well climb higher when September’s contributions are made public later this week.
The PACs for Pfizer (also listed as a host on the invitation), Comcast and Merck, all of which have stakes in the important negotiations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—dubbed the super committee—donated $5,000—just the amount requested on the invitation—to Camp’s leadership PAC or campaign in the weeks leading up to the event. The PAC of another pharmaceutical company, Abbott Laboratories, gave $3,000.
Of the four corporate PACs, all gave to Camp’s leadership PAC except Comcast’s, which gave to his campaign.
The August donations were disclosed because many PACs file monthly fundraising reports. But a complete picture of who gave to Camp and the other panel members in the third fundraising quarter will only be released as candidates file their own reports this week.
Hirschmann, who works for Williams & Jensen, hosted the dinner with four other lobbyists and a former congressman-turned “senior strategic policy advisor.” One of the lobbyists, Sam Lancaster, works for Comcast. Two others work for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and UPS, whose PACs did not report giving to Camp in August.
The 12-member committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts by Thanksgiving. For lobbyists, influencing the super committee has been more difficult than their usual lobbying, according to news reports, and so fundraisers provide a rare opportunity for face time with the lawmakers. Some of the members have said they have curtailed their schedule of fundraisers. John Kerry, D-Mass., said he won’t put on any of his own but still attended one for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Camp and Fred Upton, R-Mich., have said they will not put on fundraisers unless the events were scheduled before their appointment.
The invitation for this fundraiser was sent out on Aug. 10, the same day Camp was appointed to the panel, according to Time Magazine’s Swampland blog. The event date was set in the spring, “long before any consideration of the Budget Control Act and the Joint Select Committee,” Camp’s spokesperson Megan Piwowar wrote in an email. She did not respond to a question asking when the invitation was first sent.
Although Hirschmann did not respond to a request to comment and federal records do not reveal whether a PAC’s donation is connected to a particular fundraiser, she may have convinced many of her clients to donate for the event.
Hirschmann is the former chief of staff to former House Majority Whip Tom Delay, and is a frequent fundraiser for GOP candidates in Washington, hosting 20 events in recent years in Party Time’s records alone. Her long list of clients include some of the most influential companies and interest groups in the capital—from the Chamber of Commerce to General Electric to some of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical companies.
Merck’s gift came in the final days of August, while Comcast contributed on Aug. 10 and Pfizer contributed on Aug. 17, according to each PAC’s Federal Election Commission filings.
Abbott’s PAC gave to dozens of federal candidates on Aug. 22, including other super committee members. The PAC gave $1,500 to Max Baucus, D-Mont., $1,000 to Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., $1,000 to Fred Upton, R-Mich., and $1,000 to Upton’s leadership PAC. Merck also gave $2,500 to Baucus the same day the company contributed to Camp’s leadership fund, according to its FEC filing.Tweet
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said he wouldn’t schedule new campaign fundraisers while serving on the special deficit-cutting panel, but that doesn’t mean he’s not fundraising in Washington.
Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., made the same pledge, yet neither has addressed events that were already on their calendars. Nor do their promises cover the kind of event that Upton agreed to attend on Oct. 13, where deep-pocketed lobbyists and PAC representatives with business before the Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction—better known as the super committee—will have the chance to rub elbows with the Michigan lawmaker in exchange for between $500 and $5,000.
The event benefits the Tuesday Group PAC, a fund that helps moderate House Republicans’ re-election efforts. Upton is among dozens of House members hosting the affair at a Capitol Hill bar, according to the recently released invitation. While the event is not for his own re-election, it is the second fundraising event he will be involved in since being named to the committee in August, according to invitations received by Party Time. He also hosted a lunch for Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra in September.
A spokeswoman for Upton was not immediately available to confirm whether he would attend.
Upton is in good company on the 12-member super committee, which is trying to find at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to the nation’s deficit. The lawmakers have scheduled over 30 fundraisers from early August, when they were named to the committee, through Thanksgiving, when the panel’s work ends, according to released invitations [See a complete list]. Every member of the committee—except Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who canceled one—has been scheduled to appear at a fundraiser since being named to the committee, according to invitations received by Party Time.
Tomorrow evening, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., who, like most on the committee has continued fundraising as usual, has planned an attractive annual event called “A Taste of Los Angeles,” complete with live salsa jazz and tacos shipped in from Southern California, according to a newly-disclosed invitation. The flyer entices donors with the promise of “Food, Fun, Music & Friends!”
The committee’s co-chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, also appears to have continued helping his colleagues bring in bucks. Yesterday, the Texan planned to attend a barbecue fundraiser for Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas. The event sought to raise up to $5,000-per-head, though a ticket could be had for as little as $100.
Hensarling is also still fundraising for his own campaign, according to a Politico report last week. The Investment Company Institute’s leaders and lobbyists put on a fundraiser for him on Oct. 5 at ICI’s headquarters. The event was co-hosted by Paul Schott Stevens, Donald Auerbach, Dean Sackett, Peter Gunas, Allen Huffman, Tonnie Wybensinger and Jim Hart of the ICI. The suggested contribution was $2,000 and the invitation did not mention Hensarling’s membership on the super committee, Politico reported.
Spokespeople for Hensarling and Becerra were not immediately available to comment.
On Oct. 27, panel member Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., will be involved in yet another moneymaker—the eleventh on his calendar while the super committee is in session. This time he’ll be seeking to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the Washington, D.C. home of Tom Daschle. Besides Clyburn and other Democratic leaders, another main draw to the high dollar event is the presence of young author James Farmer, who recently published a book on Southern-style garden living.
Update, Oct. 6: This post was edited to reflect that Kay Granger’s barbecue fundraiser was not the first that Jeb Hensarling was involved in since being named to the committee and to add details about the Hensarling fundraiser at the Investment Company Institute.Tweet
A new fundraiser was also disclosed involving Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who has planned to attend ten such events from September through November, when the so-called super committee wraps up its work: five for his campaign, three for his leadership PAC and two for his colleagues. The newly disclosed event is a golf outing and dinner to raise money for Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., in Birmingham, Ala. on Sept. 26.
Van Hollen’s event, at 8 a.m. on Sept. 23, would conflict with any informal, collegial breakfast of the type the 12-member deficit committee held today. The panel is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion of deficit cuts by Thanksgiving.
Van Hollen’s breakfast will take place just across the street from the Capitol at Charlie Palmer Steak, a frequent destination for such events, and asks for between $500 and $5,000. The Maryland Democrat was also billed as the special guest to a fundraiser for Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, earlier today and is hosting one for Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., on Oct. 5.
Nine lawmakers on the 12-member super committee have scheduled fundraisers or appearances at colleagues’ events since being named to the committee (See them all on our Super Committee page or on this list).
In Party Time’s records, there are currently no events planned for co-chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., or Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., through Thanksgiving. However, such events could still be scheduled; we do not receive invitations to every congressional fundraiser in Washington, D.C.Tweet
Another lawmaker on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., has put off a fundraiser until after the panel finishes its work.
But a spokesperson for the congressman would not answer whether he has nixed all such events through Thanksgiving, when the committee will finish its work. And no member of the committee—except Senator John Kerry, D-Mass.—has said he would cancel all of them. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, indicated he would cut back on his events and Max Baucus, D-Mont., canceled one of his.
Camp’s fundraiser, originally planned for Aug. 4 and to be hosted by former Senate Majority Leader-turned lobbyist Trent Lott, among others at the lobbying firm Patton Boggs, has not been rescheduled. And it will not take place until after the so-called super committee comes to a close, according to Camp’s spokesperson Megan Piwowar.
The event will likely be held in December, according to Camp’s fundraising consultant, Elaine Svigos.
Party Time asked Piwowar, over email, if the Michigan lawmaker would continue to hold fundraisers while the committee was working. Her response was:
“Since being named to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Congressman Camp has not and will not schedule new fundraising events.”
But what about events that were already scheduled before his appointment to the committee on Aug. 10? After all, many fundraisers are booked months in advance, and fundraising consultants take advantage of the summer recess to book events for the fall. Camp had also planned a fundraiser on Sept. 7, the night before the super committee’s first organizational meeting, and there is no indication that it was postponed—only that it had been on the calendar before his appointment.
Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer last week, did not commit to canceling all of his events either. He told the paper, “Members aren’t going to have the time to be involved in (as many) events that they would have been. Personally, I’ve canceled a bunch of events.”
But that does not appear to include an event happening tonight, hours after the committee finishes its first hearing, Portman is the main draw to a fundraiser benefiting the campaign of Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio. And he still plans to be there, according to the event’s organizer.
“The latest I’ve heard, yes,” Chabot’s fundraising consultant Mackenzie Smith said this morning. Portman’s press secretary was not immediately available to confirm this.
Portman is among the nine lawmakers on the 12-member committee who are known to be holding or hosting events since being appointed to the committee.
*note: This post has been updated to reflect that John Kerry had announced he would not raise money while the committee meets.Tweet
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is the fourth Republican on the 12-member Joint Special Committee on Deficit Reduction—known as the Super Committee—that is holding or hosting a fundraiser in the coming weeks. Five of the committee’s Democrats plan to be involved in such events.
At a Sept. 22 breakfast at a French bistro that offers Steak and Egg Frites for $21, Toomey will be asking PACs to give as much as $2,000 to his leadership PAC; individuals are asked to donate $1,000 or $500. Lawmakers can use such accounts to dish out money to their colleagues’ campaigns and boost their prestige within their party.
Newly-released invitations also show that Republican Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., another panel member, will be hosting a total of three fundraisers in the coming weeks. In addition to hosting a moneymaker for Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., he and other GOP leaders are the special guests at a Capitol Hill townhouse reception for Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., on Sept. 13.
The following week, Kyl is headlining an event for New Mexico Senate candidate Heather Wilson.
Another fundraiser involving super committee co-chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., was also disclosed today. She will be among the many Senate Democrats headlining the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s National Innovation Conference in Menlo Park, Calif., on Oct. 27 and 28.
For a complete list of fundraisers involving super committee members, see our Super Committee page.Tweet
Update, Sept. 1: Committee member Rob Portman is also hosting a fundraiser, which has been added to the list below. That list will be updated as more invitations are received.
During the week of Sept. 12, the week of the deadline for the Joint Committee on Debt Reduction to hold its first meeting, one of the panel members, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., has planned fundraisers on four consecutive days, according to newly-revealed invitations.
Those events are just a few among the many (see list below and our page of all super committee fundraisers) being held or hosted by the members of the powerful committee as they decide how to slash at least $1.2 million from the nation’s deficit—work they have already begun.
As the lawmakers deliberate, they will also be accepting campaign checks as usual. Meanwhile, lobbyists who will be prodding them on issues from tax reform to Medicare will be attending their D.C. fundraisers.
As for Clyburn, there are a total of nine fundraisers on his schedule this fall, including the first one—a “Healthcare Breakfast” at the Caucus Room on Sept. 13. Pharmaceutical companies and doctors’ and hospitals’ groups will no doubt be interested in attending, as cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are expected to be considered by the panel.
On Sept. 14, another super committee member, Senate Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is a special guest at a moneymaker for Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc,—at the Caucus Room again—for those willing to donate between $500 and $2,000.
On the following Monday, committee member Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is planning to leave the capital for Boston, where he is headlining a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee—though few details about the event are known.
On Oct. 5, high rollers will have the chance to schmooze with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the headliner for a dinner benefiting his colleague, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Penn. PACs are asked to chip in $2,500 or $5,00o for that affair.
Other than these newly-disclosed events there are at least six others previously reported by Party Time and other media outlets since the committee members were announced. Below is a current calendar of events involving panel members. Note that if the lawmaker is hosting the event—if it’s not for his own campaign—the beneficiary committee is listed.
Aug. 31 — Xavier Becerra — Evening Event
Sept. 7 — Xavier Becerra’s Leadership PAC — Baseball Game
Sept. 7 — Dave Camp — Reception
Sept. 13 — Jim Clyburn –”Healthcare Breakfast”
Sept. 13 — Patty Murray hosting — DSCC — Annual Fall Reception
Sept. 13 — Rob Portman hosting — Rep. Steve Chabot — Reception
Sept. 13 — Jon Kyl hosting — Sen. Roger Wicker — Reception –
Sept. 14 — Clyburn’s Leadership PAC — Breakfast
Sept. 14 — Jon Kyl hosting — Sen. Ron Johnson — Dinner — POSTPONED
Sept. 15 — Clyburn hosting — Rep. Gabbie Giffords — Breakfast
Sept. 15 — Van Hollen hosting — Rep. Tim Ryan — Lunch
Sept. 15 – Jim Clyburn – Dinner
Sept. 16 — Jim Clyburn – Breakfast
Sept. 18 — Chris Van Hollen’s joint fundraising committee — Evening event
Sept. 19 — John Kerry hosting — DSCC — Breakfast
Sept. 19 — Fred Upton hosting — Pete Hoekstra — Lunch
Sept. 21 — Jon Kyl hosting — Heather Wilson –Reception
Sept. 21 — Becerra hosting — Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC — Reception
Sept. 22 — Pat Toomey’s Leadership PAC — Breakfast
Sept. 22 — Chris Van Hollen hosting — Reps. Tim Bishop and Kathy Hochul — Reception
Sept. 23 — Chris Van Hollen — Breakfast
Sept. 23 — Patty Murray hosting — DSCC — Reception
Sept. 26 — Clyburn hosting — Rep. Terri Sewell — Golf and Dinner
Oct. 4 — Jeb Hensarling hosting — Rep. Kay Granger — Texas Barbecue
Oct. 5 — Chris Van Hollen hosting — Rep. Allyson Schwartz — Dinner Reception
Oct. 5 — Jeb Hensarling — Event at Investment Co Institute (reported by Politico)
Oct. 6 — Becerra — A Taste of Los Angeles
Oct. 10 — Jim Clyburn – Reception
Oct. 13 — Jim Clyburn – Breakfast
Oct. 13 — Fred Upton hosting — Tuesday Group PAC — Reception
Oct. 16 — Max Baucus hosting — Sen. Jon Tester — Event at Oceana Restaurant in New York City (reported by Politico)
Oct. 20 — Pat Toomey — Breakfast at Bistro Bis (reported by Politico)
Oct. 20 — Jim Clyburn — Reception
Oct. 24 — Clyburn hosting — Emanuel Cleaver — Birthday and BBQ
Oct. 25 — Hensarling’s Leadership PAC — Reception and Dinner at Acadiana with Speaker Boehner (reported by Politico)
Oct. 25 — Clyburn hosting — DCCC — Speaker’s Cabinet National Issues Conference (reported by Politico)
Oct. 25 — Becerra hosting — Congressional Hispanic Caucus Bold PAC — Reception
Oct. 26 — Clyburn’s Leadership PAC – Breakfast
Oct. 27 — Patty Murray hosting — DSCC — National Innovation Conference
Oct. 27 — Clyburn hosting — DCCC — Reception
Nov. 1 — Kyl hosting — Sen. Ron Johnson — Breakfast
Nov. 3 — Clyburn hosting — Rep. John Yarmuth — Bourbon & BBQ Birthday Bash
Nov. 4 — Becerra hosting — Rep. Larry Kissell — Breakfast
Nov. 8 — Pat Toomey — Dinner at Charlie Palmer’s (reported by Politico)
Nov. 14 — Dave Camp hosting — Rep. Kenny Marchant — Dinner
Nov. 14 — Clyburn hosting — Steven Horsford — Reception
Nov. 15 — Van Hollen hosting — Rep. Lloyd Doggett — Breakfast
Nov. 15 — Jim Clyburn — Breakfast at Art & Soul
Nov. 15 — Xavier Becerra — Breakfast at National Democratic Club
Nov. 16 — Clyburn’s Leadership PAC – Breakfast
Nov. 16 — Clyburn hosting — Charles Rangel — Reception
Nov. 16 — Pat Toomey — 50th Birthday Party Reception (Reported by Politico)
Nov. 16 — Pat Toomey — Breakfast (Reported by National Journal)
Nov. 17 — Jon Kyl hosting — Sen. Orrin Hatch — Breakfast
Nov. 17 — Clyburn hosting — Suzanne Bonamici — Breakfast
correction: The original version of this post mistakenly said that a Sept. 14 fundraiser benefited Sen. Jon Kyl rather than Sen. Ron Johnson.Tweet
At least five members of the congressional Super Committee tasked with reducing the nation’s deficit are scheduled to hold or host fundraisers just as the panel will be beginning its work.
The lawmakers are Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who is co-chairing the panel, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., along with Reps. James Clyburn, D-S.C., Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Dave Camp, R-Mich.
A few weeks later, as the panel continues meeting, the compromise-seeking chair of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus has planned a fundraiser for his re-election. The event is hosted by the influential National Association of Realtors, a group that would fiercely fight any attempt by the powerful panel to cut the mortgage tax deduction, which was proposed by the Senate’s ‘Gang of Six,’ another recent group working on deficit reduction.
The NAR has spent over $10 million lobbying this year alone, the seventh highest sum among all organizations, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The association is the fourth highest political giver at the federal level since 1989, according to the CRP.
The 12-member committee has an unusual amount of power. Tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts, the panel has until before Thanksgiving to vote on a plan. If they agree to one, it would get fast-tracked through Congress—without the usual obstruction of procedural rules.
Clyburn, the House Assistant Minority Leader, is also headlining a fundraiser—benefiting Rep. Gabrille Giffords, D-Ariz.—just before the deadline for the panel’s first meeting. On Sept. 7, the day the House reconvenes, Becerra, who also serves in the House Leadership, is using a Washington Nationals game to raise money for his leadership PAC. On the same day, Camp has planned a moneymaker, as first reported by Time Magazine.
In addition to Murray, the September DSCC fundraiser is also hosted by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other Senate Democrats. The autumn-themed event awards annual maxed-out donors (those giving $30,800 to the DSCC) with six tickets. Individual tickets can be had for $1,000.
That fundraiser is only one of a slew of fall events scheduled by the DSCC during the Super Committee’s deliberations. The group’s fall lineup includes at least six other fundraisers, and it’s not known if Murray will be attending any of those since very few details about the conference, retreat, brunch and other events are currently publicly known. Murray has headlined two other recent DSCC events, including one yesterday.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
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