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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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2012 Elections Partytime special interest • POSTED - 03.12.12 BY Breanna Edwards

This Week’s Fundraisers: Parties for St. Paddy’s and O’Bama

Obama Victory Fund 2012 Events: This week the Obama Victory Fund 2012 will benefit from two events. The first is a Monday dinner at the home of Sen. John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Vice President Joe Biden will be attending. Tickets range from $10,000 per couple to attend the dinner and reception to $25,800 per couple for the greet clutch, photo reception and dinner.

On Friday, the president himself will be present at a reception featuring Cee Lo Green. The event will be held at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Ga. Tickets for this event start at $2,500.

Top o’ the week to ya: After early celebrations last week, two St. Patrick’s Day events are lined up to spread the Irish cheer even further. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will be holding a St. Patrick’s Day Reception on Thursday at Hill County BBQ. Tickets range from $1,000 to $2,000.

The next day,  Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., will celebrate his 18th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Fete at Kena Temple. Tickets to this event range from $40 to $500.

The PACs are at it: This week Party Time’s calendar shows nine PACs hosting fundraising events. Kelly PAC, named for Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. will be holding a breakfast.  Tenn PAC, affiliated with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Freedom Fund, affiliated with Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, will have lunches. Holding dinners or receptions this week: The Reclaim America PAC, affiliated with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; the Fund for America’s Future (Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.);   ARK PAC, (Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.);  Denali PAC, (Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska); the Tallatchee Creek PAC (Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala..) and the Free State PAC (Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.).

Cummings going strong: Rep. Elijah Cummings, who most recently made news for introducing a bill that would change how the government would deal with Hatch Act violations, will be holding two fundraisers this week. On Tuesday, the Maryland Democrat will have a reception priced from $250 to $2,500. Two days later, another equally priced reception, will be hosted by the members of Organized Dentistry.

Goodbye Snowe: Sen. Olympia Snowe, who had been active on the PartyTime circuit last year, has cancelled all of her future fundraising events. In a surprise announcement late last month, the Maine Republican announced she will not be seeking reelection.

PartyTimeData Partytime special interests • POSTED - 01.27.12 BY La Toya Gratten

SOPA Fundraisers

Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Chris Dodd set off a firestorm of criticism last week when he suggested that Hollywood would withhold campaign money from President Obama and lawmakers who don’t toe the Hollywood line on online piracy.

Losing support of the entertainment industry would not be insignificant for the president: In 2011, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg gave $2 million to Priorities USA, the super PAC backing Obama. Another major bankroller is Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax Films, who along with Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour last August co-hosted a $71,600-a-couple fundraiser for Obama at his New York home.

But so far at least, Party Time hasn’t detected any slowdown in the entertainment industry’s enthusiasm for the president, despite the White House’s decision to put the brakes on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Just a few days before the White House raised concerns about the legislation, which is being enthusiastically backed by the entertainment industry, Obama was raising funds at  the New York City  home of director Spike Lee.

In addition, Party Time records show a Feb. 7 Runway to Win fundraiser scheduled for the Obama Victory Fund 2012. Hosts for the event include: Wintour, actress Scarlet Johansson,  hip-hop moguls Sean Combs and Russell Simmons, singer Beyonce, and fashion designers Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang. Party Time records also show a Jan. 9 reception fundraiser in DC featuring featuring singer-songwriter Sarah Bareilles. Both the fashion and music industries support SOPA.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the SOPA debate has set off a $100 million lobbying war. Both the entertainment companies who back SOPA and the tech giants who oppose it have lined up blue-chip lobbyists who are regulars on the Party Time circuit.

Former Rep. Victor Fazio, D-Calif., now a lobbyist at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, represents AT& T, a proponent of SOPA. He was one of the hosts at a dinner fundraiser benefiting Democrats Win Seats, the leadership PAC of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a SOPA supporter and the Democratic Party’s national chair. Reps. Karen Bass, D-Calif and Ted Deutch D-Fla., both SOPA supporters, and Reps. Adam Smith, D-Wash., and Bruce Braley, SOPA opponents, were listed among those scheduled to attend. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Senate Judiciary Committee member and one of the four co-sponsors of PIPA, has had several  fundraisers featuring lobbyists from tApple (has not formally stated a position on SOPA), the Motion Picture Association of America, Time Warner and Time Warner Cable.

And as we’ve previously told you in this space, companies backing SOPA have held several fundraisers benefitting Reps. Howard Berman, Adam Schiff, Joe Baca and Mary Bono Mack of California .

Not to be outdone, the tech industry, which sent a powerful message Jan. 18 about its distaste for SOPA on popular websites such as  Google, Wikipedia and Craigslist, has been well represented on the Party Time circuit.

Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., a member of the Judiciary Committee is one of the 27 co-sponsors of SOPA; on the day of the online protest, he issued a press release withdrawing his support, saying his constituents have “made clear” their opposition to legislation.   Alex Vogel of Mehlman, Vogel and Castagnetti, who once worked for then-Republican Senate Leader Bill Frist, was one of the four hosts for Griffin’s reception in early December of last year. Vogel clients include CC Media Holdings, eBay Inc., Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and Yahoo! Inc.  Yahoo! and eBay are opponents of SOPA. Also hosting the fundraiser were other lobbyists representing a range of communications interests, including some on both sides of the SOPA debate:  Marc Lampkin, who represents AT&T, Microsoft Corporation, Sony Corporation and Visa Inc. Kathryn Lehman, who represents Google Inc. and Verizon Communications, and Susan Hirschmann, who represents Comcast Corporation, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Recording Industry Association of America; US Chamber of Commerce and Visa Inc.

Sen. John Cornyn R-Texas, the chairman National Republican Senatorial Committee and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee member, is another former backer of anti-piracy legislation who shifted his position.  Cornyn’s Alamo PAC had two fundraisers featuring a lobbyist from Clear Channel, Verizon Communications and AT&T, all supporters of SOPA. But after the online protest, the Texan took to  Facebook to share misgivings about the legislation those companies are backing.“Better to get this done right rather than fast and wrong. Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about unintended damage to the internet and innovation in the tech sector require a more thoughtful balance, which will take more time,” Cornyn wrote.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., also once supported the anti-piracy bill but now opposes it. According to Party Time records, he had a fundraiser hosted by lobbyists Doyle Barlett and Becky Relic. Barlett represents clients such as Comcast Corporation, eBay, and the US Chamber of Commerce. Relic represents eBay. Another supporter-turned-opponent, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., had a fundraiser in which three of the hosts are lobbyists who represent Comcast, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Time Warner Cable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

There are a few lawmakers who have not formally expressed a stand on SOPA. One example is House Oversight Committee member Rep. Ed Towns, D-N.Y. At his 25th Annual Taste of New York fundraising event,  Towns had lobbyists representing both sides of the SOPA debate as hosts. Paul Braitwaite, a lobbyist for the Podesta Group represents Google, Time Warner Cable and the National Association of Broadcasters is listed as one of the hosts. The list of hosts for Towns event also included Roger Mott with Verizon Communications, Lyndon Boozer of AT&T, Matt Gelman of Microsoft and Jesse McCollum, a lobbyist with the Eris Group representing the Comcast Corporation.

financial reform • POSTED - 06.18.10 BY Keenan Steiner

As meetings continue, Wall Street reform conferees fundraise

As the 43 members of Congress on the financial reform conference committee meet this month to hash out the final bill, more than half have planned fundraisers for themselves or are scheduled to be special guests at fundraisers for their colleagues.

In Party Time’s database of invitations for the month of June, 28 of these events were for their own campaigns or political action committees, while 14 were for other lawmakers.

At least two members — Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the head of the House-Senate joint committee, and Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee — have postponed fundraisers since the committee convened on June 10, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bachus’ press secretary Tim Johnson also told Party Time that Bachus did not attend one of the fundraisers that conflicted with the conference committee meeting. “Obviously there was a conflict with conference and that’s where the congressman’s full attention is,” Johnson said. Our count does not include postponed or canceled events.

For our full list, check out the spreadsheet below. Note: Our database only includes some of the fundraisers in the D.C. area, which we learn about from anonymous sources, so there may be more that we don’t know about.

Of the June Party Time invitations that, as far as we know, were planned to happen, here are some that caught our eye:

On the GOP side, Reps. Sam Graves, R-Miss., and Lamar Smith, R.-Tex., had invites to quite a few June soirees. Graves, the ranking Republican on the House Small Business Committee, planned six events this month, including a lunch at noon on June 16th just an hour after the committee started meeting at 11 a.m.

On June 14th, Smith’s political action committee, Longhorn PAC, planned its annual tennis event at the Washington Golf & Country Club. Smith, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, is also set to host three events for either himself or his PAC this month, and was a guest at a fundraiser for Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.

On June 15th, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., planned to use an Eagles concert at Nationals Stadium to raise money. Issa, the ranking member on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform also plans to hold his 9th Annual “Issa Cream Special” on June 23rd at the Associated General Contractors of America Townhouse with special guests, the “California GOP Delegation”. A ticket could cost as much as $2,500, or as little as $100 for those 35 and under.

Issa was also scheduled to host a fundraising breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday hosted by lobbyist Will Moschella, who represents the Electronic Payment Coalition among others. Moschella’s firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shrek, LLP, is one of the top lobbying firms working on financial reform legislation, representing 19 clients to lobby on the financial reform overhaul in 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity.

On June 9, just before the joint committee opened, Spencer Bachus, was scheduled to wine and dine at a Financial Services Industry Dinner at Acadiana to raise money for Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif.

On the Democratic side, House-Senate Conference Committee head Barney Frank was listed as a featured guest on at least 15 fundraisers for his colleagues and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this year. On June 7, Frank was listed as a host to a fundraising lunch for his colleague Ron Klein, D-Fla. He also plans to headline a fundraiser for Alan Grayson, D-Fla., at the National Democratic Club on July 1.

Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., planned two fundraisers this month, including a June 10 breakfast at the home of lobbyist Robert Raben, founder of the Raben Group, which lobbies on financial issues. The invite highlights Maloney’s committee positions as chair of the Joint Economic Committee and a member on both the Financial Services and Oversight Committee and Government Reform Committee.

Next week, Maloney plans to schmooze with donors while watching the “Carole King and James Taylor’s Troubadour Reunion Tour” at the Verizon Center.

Elijah Cummings, D-Md., also has plans for a June 24 fundraiser. The invitation highlights his positions as senior whip, senior member of the Joint Economic Committee, and senior member of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.

On Wednesday, in the middle of the conference committee meeting, former NFL Quarterback and chair of the Subcommittee on Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., had planned for a $1,000-a-plate “Southern Summer Luncheon” at the National Democratic Club Townhouse to raise money for his campaign.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, was also scheduled to be a guest at a fundraising breakfast on June 11 for Rep. Bryan Lentz, D-Pa.

Of the 12 Senators on the committee, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, are billed as hosts while Sen. Tim Johnson was scheduled to hold a fundraiser at the National Automobile Dealers Association on June 15.

Finally, using Party Time’s Events by Committee search option, here are links to the fundraisers held by the House and Senate committees whose members were pulled for the conference committee:

House Financial Services Committee

House Committee on Agriculture

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Joint Economic Committee

House Committee on Small Business

Senate Banking Committee

Senate Commitee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

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Partytime venues of interest • POSTED - 04.16.10 BY Anupama Narayanswamy

ProPublica and Washington Post use Party Time data

At two Bruce Springsteen concerts in DC last year there were more than a dozen fundraisers held for members of Congress, according to a Washington Post article today.

Reporters at the nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica and the Post wrote about these fundraisers using Party Time data and combined it with campaign finance and lobbying reports, identifying some of the organizations involved with these fundraisers.

Here’s a complete list of all the fundraiser fliers for the concerts Party Time collected last year:

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., May 2009.

Democratic Congressional Committee/Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., May 2009.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., May 2009.

Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., Nov 2009.

Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., May 2009.

Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., May 2009.

Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., May 2009.

Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., Nov 2009.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Nov 2009.

Rep. John Carter, R-Tex., Nov 2009.

Rep. Ed Towns, D-N.Y., Nov 2009.

Rep. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa., Nov 2009.

Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., Nov 2009.

Rep. Baron Hill, D-Ind., May 2009.

Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., May 2009.

Rep. Ed Towns, D-N.Y., May 2009.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., May 2009.

Rep. Tom Harkin D-Iowa., May 2009.

Elham contributed to this report.


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.