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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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44-to-1: How Clinton is outraising Trump in America’s wealthiest ZIP codes

Hillary Clinton has raised far more money than Donald Trump in individual contributions, clobbering him at a rate of 6-to-1. But when we recently looked at where the donations are coming from, we discovered she enjoys an even greater advantage in some of the wealthiest areas of the country — a fundraising advantage that outpaces Trump at a rate of 44-to-1.

How many campaign dollars were we looking to trace? Clinton’s total individual contributions were $228,069,485 as of June 30 (according to Federal Election Commission filings). In contrast, at that same date, Trump had just $36,845,971 in individual contributions. That’s the six-to-one advantage noted above.

So, where did we look? Where in America are these contributions flowing from? Unsurprisingly, the nation’s three most populous states lead the way in contributions. Those states also have pockets of great wealth. In fact, 24 out of the 25 wealthiest ZIP codes (as measured by the highest median home sales) are in New York and California, according to real estate data published in Business Insider. We used recent Federal Election Commission filings to tally individual donations.

The table below puts the FEC donation data into a geographic context to illustrate the contributions from wealthy ZIP codes, including areas such as Beverly Hills, Palo Alto and New York.

In all the richest 25 ZIP codes in America, Clinton bests Trump by an enormous margin, an average of 44-to-1. As noted before, the national margin of individual dollar support shows Clinton ahead, but at a smaller ratio of 6-to-1.

In the Tribeca ZIP code of 10013 just south of Trump Tower in Manhattan — where the median home sale is $3.4 million — Clinton racked up 1,169 contributions totaling $747,360. Meanwhile Trump, received only four – yes, four – donations – totaling $620.

Beverly Hills may have the most recognizable American ZIP code, 90210, known for the entertainment industry fame of many of its residents. In that wealthy community, Clinton received 862 contributions totaling $869,056. Trump does not fare nearly as well among this crowd, pulling in 39 donations for a total of $49,657.

Palo Alto, an epicenter of technology and academia where the median home price is $2.28 million, sits in the 94306 ZIP code. There, Clinton has received 1,083 donations amounting to $257,789 of support. How many donations has Trump received from this hotspot of innovation? Three, for a total of $414.

Check out this helpful interactive map from the Federal Election Commission which illustrates which states are home to these individual donors.

Texas tops the list of states with the most donations to Trump – Texans have sent him about $2 million. (The map makes clear that although Texas is Trump’s strongest showing, it is hardly Trump country, as Texans sent Clinton more than five times as much cash. She received $11 million from Lone Star State residents).

Clinton can also thank California and New York, where residents have doled out $45,704,463 and $32,797,490, respectively. In contrast, Californians sent Trump donations totaling $2,000,071, and contributions to Trump from the Empire State don’t even crack the million-dollar mark — so far, New Yorkers have donated just $895,231 to Trump.

While the wealthiest areas of America historically donate more frequently to the Democratic nominee, this year shows an unprecedented disparity of support between the candidates. While Clinton brings in more money than Trump overall, it’s the areas where the houses are the priciest — where the money is what Trump might call the “hugest” — where Clinton’s campaign fundraising truly thrives.

Donald Trump (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons) and Hillary Clinton (Photo credit: Michael Davidson/Flickr)

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 07.21.16 BY Ben Berliner

Shalabh Kumar gives nearly $900,000 to Trump Victory


A portrait of Shalabh Kumar against a black background.

Donald Trump’s campaign and the RNC got a major financial boost with a massive $898,800 contribution from Indian-American industrialist — and longtime GOP ally — Shalabh Kumar.

Donations this big are possible thanks to Trump’s joint fundraising committee with the RNC and multiple state GOP parties, which can accept contributions as high as $449,400; both Kumar and his wife gave the maximum amount allowed under campaign finance law. Kumar, the founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition, told The Hill that he agreed with Trump’s tough stance on Pakistan and his views on Muslim profiling. Kumar and his wife then doubled down on the Trump campaign by making the enormous contribution. “That’s just the start. That’s seed money,” Kumar said during the first day of the GOP convention.

However, this is not the beginning of Kumar’s financial support of the GOP. The CEO of the Chicago-based manufacturing firm AVG Advanced Technologies contributed $5,400 to the Ted Cruz campaign in March, and he’s ponied up $26,200 in support of the Senate re-election campaigns of Kelly Ayotte, Ron Johnson, Richard Burr and Rob Portman, according to OpenSecrets.org. Kumar says he’ll spend $2 million in support of the GOP throughout the 2016 cycle.

But Kumar isn’t the only big supporter of Trump. According to FEC records, 18 individuals maxed out to Trump Victory in the month of June, including: Texas businessman Darwin Deason and his wife, Katrina; Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge-fund magnate Robert Mercer; and Laura Perlmutter, wife of Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter.

Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar. (Photo credit: Shekar.76/Wikimedia Commons)

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How you can officially be on the “Trump Train” or become a “Hillblazer”

Two presidential candidates are all but ready to declare victory as their party’s nominees. But they’re not waiting until the conventions to fundraise through their Victory Funds.

Want to become a Hillstarter? $27,000. Hillraiser? $50,000 Hillblazer? $100,000.

Donald Trump has his own benefits package.

Want to give $15,000? You’re now one of Trump’s Eagles.

Trump and his Eagle

Want to give $2,700? You’re now aboard the Trump Train.

Trump Train

McCutcheon vs. FEC, building on Citizens United vs. FEC, ruled that limiting aggregate contributions an individual can make to national parties and federal candidate committees is unconstitutional. Thus, such vessels make high-dollar fundraisers as easy as unregulated super PACs.

For the past few election cycles, joint fundraising committees (JFCs) have become commonplace once a party’s nominee is known. Based on Sunlight’s previous reporting, we know that a single donor can give $358,880 to the Hillary Victory fund. The money is dispersed through the following channels: $5,400 to Hillary for America, $33,400 to the DNC general account, and $320,000 to 32 state parties ($10,000 to each). The JFC officially formed on September 10, 2015 and Clinton attended her first Victory Fund event in early December of 2015.

Hillary Clinton Dancing

These Victory funds don’t usually pop up until after the nomination is locked. However, Clinton attended her first Victory fundraiser in December of 2015 and benefited from hundreds of Hillary for America fundraisers beforehand. Barack Obama’s Victory fund was created in June of 2008 – just five months before the election. As of December 31, 2012, Obama’s Victory Fund raised $456 million and Mitt Romney’s Victory Fund raised $493 million.

By comparison, Donald Trump’s Trump Victory Committee fund held its first event on May 24, 2016. A single donor can give up to $449,400 to Trump’s JFC through the following channels: $5,400 to Trump for President, $33,400 to the RNC general account, $100,200 to the RNC legal account, $100,200 to the RNC convention account, $100,200 to the RNC headquarters account, and $11,000 to 11 state parties.

For context, over three-fourths of Obama’s donors were from large individual contributions. Compare this to Romney’s Victory Fund whose committee only raise 10 percent of funds from small donors.

At Political Party Time, we strive to provide the most comprehensive public-facing database for elected official fundraisers. Please share any invitations you find by anonymously uploading or emailing them to us here. For a look into the rest of this week’s parties and beyond, check out our calendar of events here. Send us your comments here, or tweet at @SFPartyTime.

Party on!

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2016 presidential Partytime Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.22.16 BY Drew Doggett

Party Time Vault: Trump the benefactor

The Donald openly admits to his contributions on both sides of the aisle, but his past beneficiaries may surprise you. From the founder of Jimmy John’s to Henry Kissinger, here’s whom Trump has fundraised with in the past seven years.

    — He partnered with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — who eventually became a presidential opponent-turned-supporter of Trump — two years ago to fundraise for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who also went on to endorse Trump, at the Trump National Golf Club.
    — Trump teamed up with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to help elect Pam Bondi, the Republican Florida attorney general, at a Palm Beach, Fla., fundraiser.
    — Iowa Rep. Steve King, R, enjoyed Trump’s fundraising prowess in 2014, only to endorse Ted Cruz for the 2016 election.
    — Trump fundraised for the Republican Party of Palm Beach County at the Lincoln Day Dinner, again featuring Christie as well as conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, a Trump supporter.
    — Just last week, Donald hosted a fundraiser for the Suffolk County Republicans in New York.

Not all his fundraising goes to “winners”

While Trump claims he always wins, some of Trump’s fundraisers benefitted “losers.”

    — Trump fundraised for Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009, who lost his Senate race to Marco Rubio. Trump also donated to Crist’s campaign multiple times.
    — Donald hosted a fundraiser in his New York City home for Tea Party Rep. Allen B. West, Fla., who went on to become a conservative commentator after losing his re-election bid in 2012.

Throwing presidential parties

And while Trump hasn’t officially ran for president until this election, he’s been involved in presidential fundraising in the past.

    — Mitt Romney created a “Dine with The Donald” event where donors could contribute as little as $10 and be entered to win a seat at Trump’s table.
    — Just a month before the 2012 presidential election, Trump hosted a massive retreat benefiting presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Other notable names on the billing included Mayor Rudy Giuliani who recently, sort of, endorsed Donald Trump, Jimmy John Liautaud (founder of Jimmy John’s subs), comedian Dennis Miller, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and businessman and investor Charles Schwab.

Since then, the relationship has apparently soured; the two have had some not-so-nice things to say about each other.

And even when Trump wasn’t in attendance for his fundraisers, his properties were the prime venue for fundraisers.

    — His golf club in Virginia hosted the 32nd Annual Tip O’Neill Golf Tournament for the National Democratic Club, as well as a fundraiser for Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who has endorsed Trump.
    — His tower in Stamford, Conn., was used to support another Romney fundraiser with Henry Kissinger.
    — He also lent his hotel in Las Vegas for a Romney event in 2012 which charged up to $250,000 to chair.
    — His tower in NYC was used to host a fundraiser for former Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas.
    — Trump’s International Tower in Chicago played host to a funder for ex-Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill.

Even his daughter, Ivanka, hosted a fundraiser with her husband Jared Kushner, owner of Kushner Properties and the New York Observer, at their home for then-Senate candidate Cory Booker back in 2013.

Lastly, of course, here are the fundraisers Party Time has benefiting Trump himself…

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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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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.