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Documenting the Political Partying Circuit
From the early hours of the morning until late in the evening, politicians are partying. Sunlight's PARTY TIME can help you find out who is partying, where and when.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.11.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Gov. Chris Christie parties for his PAC, Jeb Bush fundraises in Nevada and Iowa, Hillary Clinton looks for Manhattan money, and Sen. Harry Reid throws a fundraiser for his hoped-for successor

Another day, another fundraiser or five! This week’s social calendar is bursting with parties for presidential hopefuls, Senate candidates and groups in early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Before we dive into this week’s highlights, what are we missing, party people? If you have an invite or know of an event that’s in the works, share with your friends at Party Time! You can upload the goods right here, or email us the details.

Now here’s a quick roundup of your week in political partying!

– PT noted last week that Gov. Chris Christie hit the road for some fundraising fun almost immediately after former Port Authority senior official David Wildstein pleaded guilty in the latest development in the Bridgegate scandal. This week, the New Jersey Republican parties hard for his leadership PAC, Leadership Matters for America. Christie gets started on Wednesday with a reception in his home state. He then heads to Virginia to party with GOP heavyweights (and big-time backers of Mitt Romney in 2012) Bobbie and Bill Kilberg. On Thursday, Christie heads to the Peach State for a fundraiser for his PAC in Atlanta, and on Friday, he headlines a breakfast that’s part of the Georgia Republican Party State Convention in Athens, GA.

– Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush keeps up his hectic social schedule this week, headlining events in Nevada and Iowa. Unlike most of his other fundraising stops, these events won’t pump money into his Right to Rise PACs; instead, they’ll be an opportunity to glad-hand donors in early-voting states. On May 13, Bush headlines the Lincoln Day Dinner in Las Vegas for the Clark County Republican Party. Come Saturday, he’ll party with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, before heading over to the state party’s Lincoln Dinner. It’s $100 for general admission and $150 for premium seats at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. (Bush won’t be the only presidential wannabe in attendance; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump will all be on hand on Saturday.)

Hillary Clinton keeps her fundraiser train moving after a very busy schedule in sunny California last week. On Wednesday, she headlines three fundraisers in Manhattan for her Hillary for America presidential committee. Clinton will party at the home of Erica and L.A. Reid, the head of Epic Records; the home of Cathy and Marc Lasry, a hedge fund manager and the CEO of Avenue Capital Group; and the home of economic analyst Steven Rattner and his wife, Maureen White. White has long ties with the Clintons: She worked in President Bill Clinton’s administration, was the national finance co-chair for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid and worked in the State Department during Hillary Clinton’s tenure there.

– Despite what newspaper headlines (and, for that matter, PT’s blog posts) may tell you, the presidential contest isn’t the only thing on the ballot in 2016. With longtime Democratic Sen. Harry Reid retiring at the end of this term, his Nevada seat is up for grabs, making for a must-watch race next fall. Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada’s Attorney General from 2007 to 2015, announced in April that she would run for the open seat, and got an immediate thumbs-up from Reid. On Thursday morning, the support continues when Reid headlines a four-figure breakfast for Masto just a few blocks from Capitol Hill.

And that’s a wrap on the week’s highlights! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy Flickr user Michael Vadon

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.13.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Republicans descend on New Hampshire, Rep. Barbara Comstock has a D.C breakfast, Illinois Senate race features dueling fundraisers, Rep. Joe Kennedy bowls for dollars, plus a long weekend in California

They’re baaaaaaack!

Party people, the congressional spring break has come to a close, and perhaps the best indicator is the uptick in political partying in our nation’s capital. That’s right – the politicians are back from their home districts, and that means it’s time to hunt for some dollars in the District.

Our social calendar is popping with Washington events, but we are sure there are more parties happening out there. What have you heard about? Share with your friends at Party Time! You can email us, or upload invites using our easy (and confidential) tool right here.

Now let’s take a quick look at this week’s parties!

– In the latest installment of where-in-the-world-are-Republican-presidential-hopefuls, Party Time brings news of the New Hampshire GOP’s First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit. For two jam-packed days, politicians, media and activists will descend on Nashua to hear from Republican movers and shakers. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New Hampshire Rep. Frank Guinta, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Donald Trump, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are all slated to speak at the sold-out event.

– Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., has been in office for a few months, but she’s already logged a good amount of time on the fundraiser trail. At the end of March, she trekked to Manhattan for a party hosted by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer. But on Tuesday, she’s got a shorter jaunt – she just has to walk across the street from her office for a breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club. Fellow Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte is listed as the event’s special guest.

– The fight for an Illinois Senate seat hits the moneyed streets of D.C. on Wednesday, when Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Tammy Duckworth have dueling fundraisers. A few weeks ago, Duckworth – an Illinois Democrat serving her second term in the House – announced she would challenge Kirk, a Republican who is in his first term in the Senate. Duckworth will have her spring reception Wednesday evening at the Democrats’ Capitol Hill townhouse, while Kirk will party at a private home just a few blocks away.

– Rep. Joe Kennedy gets right back into the swing of things with back-to-back political parties on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday evening, the Massachusetts Democrat bowls for dollars at Lucky Strike in Chinatown, where you’ll have to spend a lot more than the going rate for shoe and lane rental: Tickets for 90 minutes of bowling go for $1,000 to $2,500. Bright and early Thursday morning, Kennedy will breakfast at the downtown lobbying offices of Cassidy & Associates.

– One member of Congress can’t quite seem to say goodbye to spring break just yet. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., will take a long weekend at the super swanky St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in sunny SoCal for her annual golf and spa retreat. It’s $1,500 per person, $2,500 for a pair, and PACs have to chip in $4,000.

And that’s a wrap on your week in political fundraisers! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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2016 presidential • POSTED - 03.18.15 BY Peter Olsen-Phillips

With 2016 elections in sight, it’s not a bad time to be a pol in Iowa

Fresh off the 2014 campaign trail, first-term Iowa Rep. David Young, R, has already dived headfirst into the money chase. And his seat in a state with the earliest of early presidential nomination contests guarantees visits from plenty of party leaders.

On April 8, Republican presidential prospect and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry will trek to Council Bluffs, Iowa, population 61,000, to join Young at a pizza parlor funder benefitting the freshman congressman.

Tickets for the general public start at just $25, but admission to a special “Private Sponsor Event” runs from $250 to $1,000.

Four-figure fundraising dinners are generally confined to eateries within walking distance of Capitol Hill, or a handful of other posh restaurants scattered around Washington, but the pull of a potential presidential nominee can be a powerful incentive for opening wallets.

It’s not the first such occasion for Young.

The announcement of the Council Bluffs get-together comes just days after a local fête with another former governor and 2016 hopeful. On March 6, Jeb Bush attended a $1,000-and-up party in Urbandale benefitting Young’s campaign.

Though we are more than 300 days out from the Iowa caucuses, GOP frontrunners are already busy jet-setting from one early voting state to the next, glad handing congressmen and helping out local politicians.

A glance through Perry’s twitter feed shows the Texan recently made pitstops in both New Hampshire and Florida in recent weeks.

The fundraising in those early states has already begun to pick up. Party Time’s records show 18 Iowa fundraisers already on the books in 2015, including visits from other potential 2016 contenders like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., and dark horse candidate Donald Trump.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.02.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Sen. Lindsey Graham “tests the waters” with a fundraiser, Emily’s List honors Hillary Clinton, Rep. Gwen Moore parties with bankers and Republicans go big in Iowa

As most of the country braces for yet another cold snap, Party Time is here to assure you that the political fundraising season is only heating up.

We’ve got a jam-packed week of political parties on the books, but we also know there must be more brewing out there. Friends, what are we missing and what have you heard about? Share with your friends at Party Time!

You can upload invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got. No matter what, we keep our sources 100 percent confidential, meaning you can always feel comfortable sharing.

And now, a look at your week in political parties!

– Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is “testing the waters” for a presidential run in 2016 and he’s got a D.C. fundraiser on Tuesday to prove it. The host list for the luncheon for his Security through Strength committee shows he’s snagged some key backers, too. Mega Republican donors Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Blackstone Group lobbyist Wayne Berman, Boston kingmaker Ted Cutler, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Arizona Sen. John McCain are among a long list of attendees.

– As questions continue to swirl around foreign governments’ donations to the Clinton Foundation, Emily’s List will fete Hillary Clinton at its annual gala dinner on Monday night in D.C. Tickets to the fundraiser for the organization, which supports pro-choice Democratic women candidates, cap out at $30,000, and the special guest list reads like a who’s who of top tier progressives. Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi and DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz are all slated to attend. Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who is now a senior adviser to the pro-Clinton PAC Ready for Hillary, is another special guest.

– If that event doesn’t get your heart racing, perhaps this will: Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., will have a seated dinner with the financial services community Monday night in downtown D.C. What’s not to love about a sit-down meal with a bunch of bankers and a member of the House Committee on Financial Services?

– Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., keeps up his trend of presidential positioning with a two-day trip to New Hampshire at the end of the week. He’ll headline a fundraiser in Concord on Friday, plus an event for the state’s Democratic Party on Saturday.

– Sen. Bob Casey hits the road! The Pennsylvania Democrat heads to Florida on Friday for a three-day weekend of sun, spring training and sweet fundraising.

– Republicans converge in the Hawkeye State on Saturday for the first annual Iowa Agriculture Summit, put on by GOP donor Bruce Rastetter. Just about every Republican looking to run for president in 2016 will be there, making for a long speakers list, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Whew, what a week, party people! Let us know if you’ve heard about anything going on out there.

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 02.25.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

Will Jeb Bush, Chris Christie win over conservatives at CPAC 2015?

The Conservative Political Action Conference kicked off its four-day lovefest on Wednesday afternoon, with a fistful of Republican personalities and White House hopefuls aiming to solidify their conservative bona fides and connect with the party’s activists.

The yearly confab, hosted by the lobbying organization the American Conservative Union, always promises plenty of red-meat speeches and presidential positioning. But with 2016 shaping up to be one of the more wide-open presidential contests in recent memory, this year’s agenda features a particularly long list of speakers. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are all slated to deliver remarks.

And at the end of last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got added into the mix. Although Christie scored a standing ovation (even before he started speaking) at last year’s event, CPAC organizers snubbed the governor in 2013, just months after Christie memorably embraced President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The down-to-the-wire addition of Christie is noteworthy, since the brassy governor has seen his stock fall slightly among Republicans within the past few weeks. The New York Times reported that New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, a big-time Republican donor who has hobnobbed with Christie at Republican fundraisers, has opted to back Bush and his all-but-certain presidential run. Johnson reportedly attended two recent fundraisers in the Chicago area for Bush’s political committees.

Bush’s recent trip to Illinois wasn’t all about the parties, though, since the former governor dipped his toe into foreign policy territory with a speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The appearance got mixed reviews, and Bush’s uncertain delivery resulted in a Politico article that wondered how his introverted personality would fare on the campaign trail.

On Friday afternoon, Bush will look to quell that narrative with a Q&A session with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. A knock-it-out-of-the-park showing at CPAC could endear Bush to the Republican base, long wary of his more moderate stances on education and immigration. In December, for example, radio talk show host Mark Levin – who will speak at CPAC on Saturday morning – said Bush is “a very good moderate Democrat” and “very boring.”

Throughout his fundraisers and public appearances, Bush has carefully avoided saying the words “Common Core” – the federal education benchmarks that have become synonymous with big government among conservatives – even though he supports the standards. Even if the topic doesn’t come up during the Friday Q&A, the subject still gets the CPAC treatment on Thursday with a breakout session titled “Common Core: Rotten to the Core?”

Wednesday afternoon’s activism training gets the ball rolling, but CPAC begins in earnest on Thursday morning with an 8:40 a.m. talk by Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and conservative darling flirting with a presidential run. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst speaks during a noontime tribute to veterans, and Walker, Jindal and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin close out the day with back-to-back-to-back speeches.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and radio talk show host Laura Ingraham get things started on Friday, and RNC head Reince Priebus, Donald Trump and NRA chief Wayne LaPierre follow with remarks throughout the day. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will keynote Friday night’s Ronald Reagan Dinner. Saturday features a full day of breakout sessions about religious freedom, government spending, abortion and gun rights, as well as the results of the conference’s all-important straw poll, which provides a snapshot of how conservatives feel about potential presidential candidates. (Paul won the poll last year.)

One-day passes go for $125, but premium tickets – which get attendees priority seating at breakout sessions and admission to the Ronald Reagan Dinner and meet and greets – are $1,700 at the door.

Photo credit: CPAC

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 01.19.15 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Iowa hosts most 2016 GOP hopefuls while Sen. Marco Rubio parties at the beach; Texas welcomes a new governor with a BBQ and Sen. Chris Coons fundraises over basketball

Hey, party people, hey! If you can believe it, we are already churning through January, combating the cold by keeping track of all of the hobnobbing happening at political parties.

The theme of the year has been, so far, all about early-on angling by presidential hopefuls. The 2016 election is still 22 months away, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Sen. Marco Rubio from ramping up their fundraising operations.

As always, Party Time is on the hunt for the latest developments on the party circuit. But as the fundraising fun ramps up after the holidays and swearing-in ceremonies, we need your help! What have you heard about, friends? Please-oh-please send us whatever you’ve got by shooting us an email or uploading invites right here. (And rest assured: PT always keeps mum about our sources.)

Let’s get to your week in political parties!

GOP goes big in Iowa
Conservative heavyweights and activists descend on Des Moines Saturday for a full day of red, white and blue rallying. This year’s Freedom Summit, a joint effort put on by Citizens United and Iowa Rep. Steve King, boasts a long list of speakers who will talk about the economy, social issues and national defense (and maybe 2016 prospects?).

Sarah Palin, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Newt Gingrich, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Ben Carson, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Rep. Rod Blum, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, Carly Fiorina, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, former Ambassador John Bolton, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan and New Hampshire state Rep. William O’Brien will all be on hand.

This is the second annual Freedom Summit, and the free event hit capacity again. Last year’s get-together was in New Hampshire and featured many of the same speakers, although this time around, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is noticeably absent from the lineup. Hmmm …

Money for Marco
Sen. Marco Rubio is in full-on can’t stop, won’t stop mode. The Florida Republican just published his book, “American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone,” hit up donors at a luncheon tied to the tome’s release, and chatted up Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.” Plus, Rubio keeps on reminding everyone that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s decision to run for the White House won’t impact the senator’s presidential plans.

And this weekend, Rubio parties with his biggest fans at the Fourth Annual Team Marco Event in Miami Beach. The fundraiser, at the super swanky Delano South Beach Hotel, will benefit Rubio’s leadership PAC, the Rubio Victory Committee. Fingers crossed for a round of Marco Polo in the hotel’s infinity pool.

Everything’s bigger in Texas
Our friends in the Lone Star State sure know how to throw a party. Whether they are hosting national Democrats for a star-studded shindig at a filmmaker’s home in Austin or gathering conservatives for Americans for Prosperity’s National Summit in Dallas, the good folks out in Texas never disappoint.

And this week, the tradition continues. Inauguration festivities will keep Austin buzzing for two days as the state welcomes Republican Greg Abbott to the Governor’s Mansion.

Things get started on Monday evening with what organizers are calling the Young Texans Celebration. The Josh Abbott Band – whose lead singer isn’t related to the incoming governor although they share the same last name – will perform at the Moody Theater, with tickets going for $35 per person.

The inauguration itself takes place Tuesday morning, and will be followed by a lunchtime BBQ (obviously). Word on the street is that planners ordered four tons of beef brisket! Eddie Deen & Company, which put together the grub for inaugural events for former Govs. Rick Perry and George W. Bush, will cater the meal, according to the Texas Tribune. Then, after the BBQ at the Capitol, there’s a parade along Congress Avenue in downtown Austin.

Things get fancier by Tuesday night, though, with a black tie inauguration gala at the Convention Center. Lady Antebellum and Pat Green are slated to headline the Future of Texas Ball, where tickets start at $75.

And who, you might ask, is bankrolling such a full schedule of celebratory events, which is estimated to cost upwards of $4 million? You’ll have to wait until after the party wraps to learn that. According to the Dallas Morning News, in a break from previous inaugural committees (and in a departure from Abbott’s campaign, which focused on government transparency), officials this year are staying quiet about the donors until after the champagne gets popped.

B-ball bucks
A few months after winning his first full term in Congress, Sen. Chris Coons celebrates by hitting the Party Time circuit with a fundraiser for his leadership PAC, Blue Hen PAC. On Wednesday night, the Delaware Democrat and his donors will hobnob at the Verizon Center while the Washington Wizards take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Tickets are $2,500 per person, which will put you in the “assist” category, while $5,000 for a pair will give you the distinction of a “three-pointer” contributor. We get the attempt at basketball-themed donor tiers, but could you all be a bit more creative – or at least consistent? How about ranking gifts as assists versus alley-oops? Or maybe labeling different levels as a layup versus a three-pointer?

Also: How has no one created a “bank shot” donor tier for a basketball fundraiser? Just sayin’.

And that wraps up your week in political parties, friends! What are we missing, and what have you heard about? Send whatever you’ve got right here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 10.13.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Donald Trump goes to Iowa, President Obama and Vice President Biden fundraise for Democrats, and Govs. Christie and Jindal party for fellow GOPers


Hello party people! As the march toward midterms continues, so does politicians’ cross-country cash grab. Your elected representatives are working hard for the money, partying big time with deep-pocketed donors and bringing in dough at a breakneck pace.

In fact, one of the best indicators of a packed party schedule is a look at what events didn’t make our weekly highlight list. A fundraiser for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (headlined by Hillary Clinton, no less!) and a shoot-out at a gun club for Colorado State Senate candidate Ray Scott didn’t even make the cut. Friends, that’s saying something.

Even though our social calendar is packed this week, we just know there’s more stuff going on out there. What are we missing, and what have you heard about? If you are feeling generous, you can email us the goods or upload an official invite right here. And never fear: We keep our sources 100 percent confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing with us.

And with that, let’s dive into your week in political parties!

The Donald goes to Iowa
Rep. Steve King and Donald Trump walk into a West Des Moines mansion …

No, that’s not the beginnings of a joke, and yes, that’s exactly what’s going to happen on Saturday evening. The billionaire businessman, one-time presidential candidate and purveyor of some truly fabulous quotes is hosting (what else?) An Evening with Donald Trump to benefit King’s reelection campaign. This comes the same week that a bankruptcy court will be hearing The Donald’s request to slash worker benefits at his troubled Atlantic City casino.

A September poll gave the Iowa Republican an 11-point lead over his Democratic challenger, Jim Mowrer, but the race for campaign cash is a different story. Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker tool shows that Mowrer has raised more money and has more cash on hand than King, who is running for his seventh term in the House.

King’s party with the Donald, which we heard about from our friends at the Des Moines Register, goes down at George Cataldo’s $2.6 million pad on Tulip Tree Lane, the site of a 2012 private fundraiser headlined by Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. And if the host’s name sounds vaguely familiar to horse racing fans, yes, Cataldo is the part owner of Paddy O’Prado, the thoroughbred who came in third in 2010’s Kentucky Derby.

And if all that wasn’t enough, the Trump-headlined party – which will also feature Iowa Republicans Sen. Chuck Grassley, Rep. Tom Latham, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds – comes on the heels of another celebrity nod for the King camp. Chuck Norris endorsed King last week, but no news about any upcoming campaign events with the “Walker, Texas Ranger” star.

Biden keeps busy
It has been a jam-packed few weeks for Vice President Joe Biden: He’s been partying hard, traveling all over the place and doing his best to look super cool while eating ice cream.

The hectic schedule continues this week when the VP travels to sunnier states to headline Democratic fundraisers. First up is a jaunt down to Florida on Monday for a party for Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor who is running for his old position, but this time as a Democrat. Crist may be a convert, but Party Time’s data show he’s gotten loads of help from Dem bigwigs, getting feted by the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as mega Sunshine State fundraisers Mitchell Berger and John Morgan.

On Tuesday, Biden travels to South Carolina for two events. He and his wife, Jill Biden, are slated to headline a get-out-the-vote event in Columbia before attending a fundraiser for the state’s Democratic Party. It’s Biden’s second trip so far this year to the Palmetto State, site of the first in the presidential primary in the South. In May, he did a similar one-two punch, giving the keynote at a state party luncheon fundraiser and then delivering the commencement speech at the University of South Carolina.

With multiple warm weather stops in his near future, look for Biden to sneak in a stop to an ice cream stand or two.

Presidential partying
The partier-in-chief is at it again with another batch of fundraisers this week. As of this writing, President Barack Obama has three events on the books, but Party Time totally expects that number to increase. After all, his schedule last week included stops in D.C., New York, Connecticut, Los Angeles and San Francisco. (If you know of a presidential party that we don’t have on our list, you know what to do! Send whatever you’ve got right here.)

Obama gets started on Tuesday with a roundtable discussion and dinner for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the McLean home of Tori Winkler Thomas, a longtime Dem donor. DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – both rock stars in their own right on the partying circuit – will join the president.

On Wednesday, it will be a DSCC fundraiser in Union, N.J., the Newark Star-Ledger reports, and then up to Connecticut for an old-fashioned campaign rally. Were you lucky enough to get an invite to the Union do? Give us the confidential upload right here.

Come Thursday, Obama travels to Long Island for a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the Garden City Hotel. Jay Jacobs, the head of the Nassau County Democratic Party, and his wife, Mindy, will host the event. Although Obama hits up New York donors often, Thursday’s shindig marks the first time the president has been at a fundraiser in that part of the Empire State, according to local reporters.

GOP ’16 prospects hit $$ trail
Republican governors unite! This week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, two state heads often in the mix as likely presidential potentials, stump for other GOP gubernatorial candidates.

Christie, who has traveled all over and brought in mega money as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, starts off his week on Tuesday with a private fundraiser in Maine for Gov. Paul LePage. Former Sen. Olympia Snowe and her husband, former Gov. John McKernan Jr. – a Pine Tree State power couple if there ever was one – will also be on hand to gin up support during the lunchtime event.

On Thursday, Christie makes his way to Chicago for a luncheon for the state’s Republican Party. Tickets start at $1,000 per plate, but $10,000 gets you six spots at the private roundtable, seats at lunch and entry to a photo reception. And Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk and Reps. Rodney Davis, Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Roskam, Aaron Schock and John Shimkus will all party alongside Bruce Rauner, who is hoping to unseat Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in November.

Of all the races Christie has weighed in on, the gubernatorial contest in his neighboring state of New York isn’t one of them. In fact, in July, the RGA head said he wouldn’t campaign for Rob Astorino, calling it a “landslide” race since the gubernatorial hopeful is so far behind Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the polls. After that dustup, a handful of other Republican governors (Govs. Jindal, Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Mike Pence – also all on the long list of possible presidential candidates in 2016) pledged to support Astorino.

At the end of September, Perry headlined a party for Astorino, and this week, it’s Jindal’s turn. On Thursday evening, the Bayou State governor will be the main attraction at the Union League Club event, where $2,500 will snag you a photo and a spot at the VIP reception.

Jindal will then head to Connecticut on Friday for a fundraiser for Tom Foley, the Republican hoping to unseat Gov. Dannel Malloy. To underscore the heated nature of that race, the president will be heading up to the Nutmeg State earlier in the week — not for a fundraiser, however. On Wednesday, Obama will be headlining one of his trademark fire-’em-up rallies on behalf of Malloy.

PT’s records show Jindal’s appearance marks his 17th fundraiser appearance of the year, who said just last week that he is still “thinking and praying” about a future White House bid.

Party people, that’s a wrap for the week! It’s a busy one, but what did we miss and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy Wikimedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.07.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Après McCutcheon, le party deluge?

Party people, welcome to the first Monday after McCutcheon.

We are bracing ourselves for an influx of fundraiser invites, seeing as the Supreme Court gave a heave-ho to that pesky cap on aggregate contributions. Now, anyone can dole out big-time bucks to federal candidates and political parties, limits be damned! Get ready to make it rain, K Street.

This only means more parties, friends. As politicians’ call lists grow, expect more invites to receptions at Johnny’s Half Shell, meet-and-greets at Tortilla Coast, and luncheons at Bistro Bis. (In the market for a creative way to get out of writing another check? We’ve got you covered with this list of excuses.)

And as your inboxes get flooded with invites, you know what to do – send them our way! We are dying to know who is taking advantage of the new no-limit rule and clamoring to get more money into their campaign coffers. Special Party Time kudos (hey, we may even get you a special PT hat!) for the intrepid soul who snags us the first invite to a funder for the-lid’s-off, post-McCutcheon committees that Sunlight’s own Jacob Fenton has dubbed “a super-joint.”  We think that makes him a contender in the contest over at The Fix!

Meanwhile, about those like-bunnies-multiplying invites: Email us, or upload them here (and, as always, rest assured that it’s a totally confidential process).

Let’s dig into this week, party people. And remember to send whatever you’ve got right here!

Obama heads to Houston

Another Wednesday, another fundraiser. After doing a twofer in Chicago last week, President Barack Obama hits up donors this Wednesday in Houston at a pricey fundraiser. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will also attend.

Pharmaceutical lawyer John Eddie Williams and his wife, Sheridan, will host the partier-in-chief at their fancy-pants River Oaks home. This feels like a perfect matchup: The Williams couple knows how to throw a successful fundraiser and Obama knows how to get people to write a big check. (For those keeping track at home, PT records show this is the president’s 14th party since February.)

GOP = Going Out to Party

New Hampshire and Iowa are always popular party destinations for politicians with an eye toward higher office. Getting in good with the locals and the state’s party leadership usually pays off come voting time in these early primary states – and people mentioned in conversations about 2016 (see: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.) drop by strategically and often.

The upcoming weekend is no different, as Party Time has four big-time (and big-name) events on the books for both states. The Republican Party of New Hampshire kicks things off on Friday evening with a Rally with Rand in Dover. It’s 50 bucks for what’s billed as a “casual reception” with the Kentucky senator. But that’s just the warm-up to Saturday’s conservative gabfest in Manchester at the first annual Freedom Summit.

Paul and Cruz are slated to speak at the daylong meeting, as are Donald Trump, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Newt and Callista Gingrich, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, Iowa Rep. Steve King, and American Enterprise Institute head Arthur Brooks. A couple of groups you may have heard of – Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity Foundation – are hosting the sold-out event.

Meanwhile, over in Iowa, that state’s Republican Party will have its Lincoln Dinner Friday night in Cedar Rapids. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is the keynote speaker, and a fistful of Hawkeye State politicians will hobnob with donors paying between $75 and $1,000 for the dinner.

In a noteworthy nod to New Hampshire, Iowa’s King won’t be sticking around for the Lincoln Dinner’s after party. After that event wraps up, King will make his way over to New Hampshire where he’s a confirmed speaker at the Freedom Summit.

And Ryan will make the most of his westward trip, stopping in Chicago en route to his evening gig in Iowa. Friday afternoon, he’ll work the crowd at a luncheon fundraiser for Bob Dold, who is looking to reclaim his old House seat.

Georgians go for green

Turns out, it’s the week for GOP state delegations to party hard. On Monday evening, Georgia Republicans get together in Atlanta for the state party’s Spring Gala. Gov. Nathan Deal and a bunch of state pols will celebrate with T.W. Shannon, a “rising GOP star” running to replace retiring Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. Also invited to attend the event? The full complement of Georgia’s GOP congressional delegation, which may make for an interesting evening.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is stepping down this year, will be there, as will three of the people hoping for a chance to replace him. Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston continue to duke it out in a crowded primary race, which will be held in May.

Rep. Austin Scott, who represents Georgia’s 8th District, is also invited to the event. But Scott’s got some of his own fundraising to do, thank you very much. Monday afternoon, the National Maritime Manufacturers Association’s Boat PAC hosts a Cherry Blossom Cruise for Scott, with tickets starting at $500. The cruise should wrap up by 4:30, so if he hustles, he might be able to make dessert and coffee at the Spring Gala. Busy day!

Bill steps up for Marjorie

In a bit of a ’90s flashback, former President Bill Clinton rallies the faithful in Philadelphia this week for Marjorie Margolies. Margolies is running in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 13th District seat, which she held in 1992. But she only served one term, getting the boot from constituents after she delivered the last vote Clinton needed to pass his 1993 budget.

So Bubba is returning the favor and bringing some star power to Thursday’s noontime fundraiser.

It’s not the first time Margolies is calling on her Clinton connections, either; last October, she had an event with Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Oh, and did we mention that Margolies is Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law? We anticipate a fair bit of good-natured ribbing about picking up the pace on grandchildren.

McConnell money

The Kentucky Senate race continues to keep us on our toes. This week, in a grab bag of hosts, various PACs representing car companies, chemical manufacturing and alternative energy production are throwing a party for Sen. Mitch McConnell. Tickets to Thursday’s dinner at the Toyota HQ in downtown D.C. start at $1,000 and go up to $5,000.

The minority leader is a prolific fundraiser, and a recent peek at how one of his fundraising dinners goes down gives a little insight as to how he became so formidable on the social circuit. Looks like McConnell uses the silent treatment to his advantage, telling party attendees that they have to give the maximum amount and then simply waiting until they do.

This is the first fundraiser on the books for McConnell since the McCutcheon ruling, which makes us wonder just how much – and how – he’ll make donors pay up. Yikes.

Party people, that wraps up your week in fundraising! As those invites start really rolling in, keep us posted on what you hear about. Email us, or upload those invites right here.

(Photo courtesy Flickr)

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.03.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Conservatives party hard in Baltimore, GOP rallies around Mike McFadden, Sen. Mark Udall fundraises in Florida and New York

Hey, party people, hey! It has been a busy few weeks on the party circuit, and we love hearing about all of the fundraiser details: What was on the menu for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit? How were Rep. Tom Price’s dance moves at the Justin Timberlake concert? (Know more details, or have some invites to share? Send it all here.)

This week is shaping up to be a bit more traditional, with your run-of-the-mill luncheons and receptions. But even those can get interesting once you throw in a boldfaced politician or two, such as the fundraiser-in-chief himself: President Barack Obama will be out shaking the money tree for his party. And on Friday,  the Republican Governors Association will be lunching and fundraising in Atlanta with Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Nathan Deal. The two GOP leaders continue to get heat for recent traffic issues in their respective states, with Christie not able to shake the George Washington Bridge scandal at home and Deal still recovering from the snow-induced commuter nightmare at the end of January.

And, as he’s fond of doing once every few months, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., is having one of his Bagels with Ben fundraisers on Wednesday morning. We’ve always had a soft spot for this event, seeing as it combines two of our absolute favorite things – alliteration and carbohydrates.

Let’s keep this train going, folks. Here’s the rest of your week in parties!

Magic Mike

No, not that “Magic Mike.” We’re talking about Mike McFadden, the investment-banker-turned-Senate-candidate hoping for a magical run for Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s seat.

Franken squeaked into the Senate in 2008, besting his Republican opponent by just 312 votes (out of the approximately 2.4 million cast). But after six years of legislating, fundraising and shedding a bit of his “SNL”/Hollywood boisterousness, Franken doesn’t look as vulnerable as he once did. Rothenberg even put the seat into the “Safe Democrat” column for the 2014 cycle.

No matter – the GOP is throwing some of its biggest names behind McFadden this Wednesday at Party Time’s first recorded fundraiser for the Republican candidate. Last May, McFadden stepped down from his post as co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market to focus on his campaign; just a few months later, and he’s partying with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 13 other senators, plus former Minnesota Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman.

Our Real-Time tracker shows McFadden will need to keep the parties coming in order to elbow out Franken, who has been known to get creative on the social circuit. The Republican has just shy of $1.7 million in the bank compared to Franken’s $4.8 million.

Mike Making Money

Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass., wants to stay in the House and is having a luncheon this week to prove it. The Massachusetts native will fundraise over cheeseboards and meatball appetizers at Sonoma Restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.

This funder comes a few months after Capuano opted out of a run for governor in his home state. The Democratic primary would’ve pit him against Attorney General Martha Coakley, who bested Capuano once before. Back in 2010, the two duked it out for a chance to face Republican Scott Brown in that year’s special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat. Capuano lost that primary by almost 20 points, and then Brown won the general, becoming the first Republican senator elected from the Bay State since 1972.

Party Time’s data show the luncheon fundraiser is a go-to move for Capuano, but we’ve got high hopes that the congressman will spice it up a little during this campaign. After all, his nephew is “Fantastic Four” actor Chris Evans, who went out on the trail in the run-up to the 2010 special election. If you hear about a Capuano party in the works, you know what to do – send the details here.

Rally that base

This weekend (in a fairly accurate visualization of our country’s political polarization, by the way), the right and the left will be partying with some of their staunchest supporters on opposite coasts.

In Los Angeles, California Dems are having their State Convention, and inviting a fistful of big names to draw all sorts of blue state voters and operatives. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will all be on hand on Saturday, as will Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (a potential 2016 White House contender) and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

Across the country, on the Maryland Harbor, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get going on Thursday. This is going to be the place to be for conservative activists and politicians this weekend, and boy oh boy, it looks to be a jam-packed weekend.

Be sure to come caffeinated: Things get started at 9 a.m. with speeches from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Donald Trump. And the hits just keep on coming Friday and Saturday – Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Heritage President Jim DeMint, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are all slated to speak. And if all that speechifying gets you down, check out the Ann Coulter-Mickey Kaus debate Saturday afternoon.

Democrats hit the road

We know the president is scheduled to headline an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in DC on Tuesday and, the following day, two fundraisers in Boston for the Democratic National Committee. But if you’ve got more deets, please share!

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has a busy weekend planned. He’ll pop down to Florida on Friday and then head north on Sunday for two days in New York. He’s had the trips on the books for a few weeks now, and the timing couldn’t be better for the freshman senator. Last Wednesday, Udall and political watchers everywhere learned that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner would challenge Udall rather than running for reelection to the House seat he has held since 2010. Expect the GOP to pour lots of money and resources into this race, as Gardner is considered an up-and-comer and the National Republican Senatorial Committee made him a top recruiting target. Gardner has close — very close — ties to the energy industry, Sunlight has found.

With his southern California district encompassing some of the best-known movie and TV studios, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., knows the powerful draw of a big-screen star. This weekend, he is having his Second Annual Weekend with the Stars fundraiser in L.A. Specifics are TBA, although there is a nifty film role on the invitation, undeniable proof that donors will be rubbing elbows with celebs all weekend long.

And that’s the week, partiers! What have we missed? Let us know, by emailing us or sending invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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This Week’s Fundraisers: From Las Vegas to Boca Grande, bring on the parties

A relatively slow week follows Memorial Day, Party Timers, with fewer than 20 events planned. But presidential fundraisers are making up for the quiet congressional schedule:

Romney partying it up: This week, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has actually topped President Obama on the party circuit, (at least, as far as Party Time knows). The Romney campaign has at least three events planned for supporters.

On Tuesday, Romney fans have the chance to attend an evening reception with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. Tickets for this event range from $2,500 to $50,000, although those who wish to chair the event must raise a staggering $250,000, a first in Party Time records.

The very next day, Ann Romney will be appearing on behalf of her husband at a “Bay Area Ladies Luncheon” at the Palo Alto-area home of Cisco CEO John Chambers and his wife, Elaine. Party Time doesn’t have the details on the ask for this particular event. (But let us know if you do!)

Later that evening, both Mr. and Mrs. Romney are expected to attend another reception at the historic Chateau Carolands, just south of San Francisco. Tickets for this event also start at $2,500 and cap at $50,000. According to Politico’s calendar, Romney has several other fundraising events planned for California next week, in Bakersfield, in Los Angeles and in San Diego. Got the invites? Check here for details on how to send them our way.

Win the dinner of your dreams, fete Romney and Trump: On a fun side note, the Romney campaign is not only depending on dinners at faux-ancient chateaus for its fundraisers. Yesterday, Party Time saw the campaign had started a most interesting competition, which is essentially a fundraiser.

Entrants to this lottery, at which the pièce de résistance is a chance to dine with celebrity business magnate, Donald Trump, are encouraged to donate anything from $3 to $2,500 (or more). Along with dinner with Trump and Romney himself, winner gets airport transportation in the Trump vehicle, a stay at the Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City and a tour of Trump Tower. The competition started Thursday and is expected to run until June 22 when the lucky winner will be chosen.

Sweet home, Chicago. According to Chicago Sun-Times reporter extraordinaire Lynn Sweet, the president is heading home Friday for two big fundraisers: a reception that will cost between $1,000 and $15,000 to attend, followed by a dinner where the tickets run $38,500. The president is scheduled to attend another fundraiser, earlier in the day, in Minneapolis. Got the invites? You know what to do.

Obama Reception with DNC chair: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who doubles as chair of the Democratic National Committee, will be hosting a reception for the campaign. Tickets for this event start at a mere $250 and go up to $1,000 for those who want to host.

DCCC to celebrate Barney Frank’s coming out: It’s been a few weeks now since President Obama publicly announced his support of same-sex marriage and what better way to celebrate than to fundraise at a coming out (anniversary) party! In honor of the 25th anniversary of Rep. Barney Frank’s coming out, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will be holding a fundraiser on Wednesday at fashionable DC eatery El Centro D.F., showcasing its continued support for the LGBT community. Tickets range from $250 to $5,000 and will give attendees the chance to rub shoulders with Frank, a veteran Massachusetts Democrat — who intends to marry his long-time companion before  retiring from Congress at the end of the year, as well as many other lawmakers including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The Getaways: For those weary of the capital, there are the usual getaways:

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will be hosting a Florida Weekend at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, where takers can indulge in spa days, golf and fishing. This Friday to Sunday trip will cost $1,500 for individuals and $3,000 for political action committees.

That same weekend, also from Friday to Sunday, Delaware Democratic Rep. John Carney will be holding his 2nd Annual Lewes Weekend Retreat in his home state. This event costs $1,500 for individual and $2,500 for PACs.

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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.