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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 - 05.19.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Obama continues fundraising frenzy, Republicans rally for Gov. Susana Martinez, and Jeb Bush parties with Iowa Gov. Branstad

Happy Monday, party people! It’s another busy week on the political fundraiser circuit, with big-ticket shindigs happening across the country. Some non-D.C. highlights? Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is partying with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday at a huge convention center in Greenville. And Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes throws a funder in Ohio with Democratic operative James Carville a few days after her state’s Republican candidates duke it out in their primary.

Back in D.C., at the Convention Center on Wednesday evening, the Aces and Angels Foundation hosts the always-bipartisan Congressional Poker Classic, where members of Congress, lobbying shops and other organizations will gather for a night of cards. Curious what California Rep. Darrell Issa’s poker face looks like? Now’s your chance!

Have we missed anything, partying fiends? If you’ve heard of something good going on, you know what to do – email us whatever you’ve got, or upload official invites here. We want it all: Send us the goods on state-level races and federal contests, and remember that we keep our sources completely confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.

And now, for your week in parties!

President Obama, aka the Energizer Fundraising Bunny
The Partier-in-Chief just can’t help himself. In the last few weeks, President Barack Obama has been hitting the partying scene hard, fundraising at seven different stops in California and New York (where he suggested that some of his devotees might move to North Dakota) for the Democrats’ House and Senate campaign committees. And Obama’s hectic schedule continues this week, with two more pricey outings.

On Monday, Obama – along with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y. – makes his way to Potomac for an “intimate dinner.” Tickets start at $10,000 per person and climb to $32,400 per couple for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event. Party Time data show that the dinner’s hosts, Lora and Jeff Drezner, threw a fundraiser for Van Hollen in 2011.

Obama will then jet off to his hometown of Chicago on Thursday for a reception and dinner benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That group’s chair, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, will be on hand to help chat up donors, as will Illinois’ own Sen. Dick Durbin.

It’s another high-dollar event, with tickets to the reception starting at $1,000 and going up to $15,000. The 5 p.m. reception is at the home of energy industry guru Michael Polsky and his wife, Tanya. Dinner, at the home of Newsweb Corporation owner and big-time liberal donor Fred Eychaner, goes for a cool $35,000 per couple.

Ring my bell
The last few weeks of political headlines have had a bit of a throwback theme to them – Monica Lewinsky wrote a first-person account of her affair with President Bill Clinton, and Marjorie Margolies is ramping up her campaign for the House seat she held in the ’90s.

Jeff Bell continues the trend, if pushing back the nostalgia a few more years to the late ’70s, when he last ran for Senate in New Jersey. The Republican is making another go at Capitol Hill, challenging Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., some 36 years after his first – and unsuccessful – run in the Garden State.

In February, Bell – a Republican political consultant who lives in Virginia – rented a house in New Jersey and announced he would run against Booker this year. And we all know what that means: It’s time for a party! PT records show Monday evening’s funder in Manhattan is Bell’s first of this campaign.

Booker is a fundraising powerhouse, with the likes of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck queuing up to throw him parties. But Bell’s got connections, too; CNBC personality Larry Kudlow is listed as a “special guest” on the invite to Monday’s event. Hosts Sean Fieler, Robert P. George and William Mumma are all big names on the conservative Christian scene: Fieler started American Principles Fund, which encourages Republican candidates to talk about opposition to abortion and gay marriage; the New York Times called George the “country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker”; and Mumma heads up the Becket Fund, a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases.

Money for Martinez
Republicans are rallying on Wednesday evening at a fundraiser for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. An overflowing invite to the event boasts a boatload of governors, senators, representatives … and lobbyists.

The reception is at the Chevy Chase home of American Beverage Association CEO Susan Neely. Neely and her soft drink lobbying outfit will co-host the event with, among others, Artemis Strategies founder Ari Storch, BGR Group founder (and former governor) Haley Barbour and BGR lobbyist Loren Monroe.

One governor missing from the list of notable attendees? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who, as the Washington Post pointed out, has gotten some post-bridgegate support from Martinez. Don’t read too much into his absence, though, since the Garden State head honcho will headline a New Mexico fundraiser for Martinez next week.

Jeb Bush + Iowa + Florida = 2016?? (Maybe.)
Like many other politicians called out as possible 2016 contenders, Jeb Bush is still playing the will-he-won’t-he game. Although he won’t say for sure what his plans are, Politico reported last month that Bush told the crowd at a Catholic Charities fundraiser that he is “thinking about running for president.” His comment came right in the middle of a spate of spring fundraisers that had the former Florida governor rubbing elbows with donors and party operatives.

It continues on Thursday, when Bush throws a party in Coral Gables for Gov. Terry Branstad, R-Iowa. It’s a savvy tip of the hat to the primary voters in the Hawkeye State, all without leaving the sunny shores of South Florida.

And that just about wraps up your week in political fundraisers, party animals! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Let us know!

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Uncategorized • POSTED - 11.11.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: BYO Gun to target practice, Gov. Rick Scott heads to D.C., plus an expensive Philly cheesesteak

Good morning, partiers! As we appreciate our country’s veterans today, politicians are also taking off time from the fundraising circuit – the Monday holiday is the only day on this week’s social calendar that’s party-free. But have no fear; the pols will be back in action on Tuesday, asking for cash to fill up those campaign coffers.

This week’s events run the gamut, from your run-of-the-mill receptions to a Philly cheesesteak lunch to a birthday party at an amusement park. Not to be outdone, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., has an afternoon of target practice with pistols and rifles planned for Tuesday in Virginia (could his own state’s new gun control law be the reason for crossing the river?). Plus, Gov. Rick Scott returns to the PT calendar on the heels of Charlie Crist’s announcement that he is running for governor.

And President Barack Obama continues his seemingly constant fundraising tour of the U.S., stopping in Philadelphia on Thursday for a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee funder.

It’s going to be a fun week, partiers. Here’s the lowdown.

Ready! Aim! Fundraise!

We love learning new things over here at Political Party Time, so imagine our excitement when we heard about Rep. Andy Harris’s BYOG event. Does that mean bring your own grog, or perhaps build your own garment?

Nope. We learned it’s “Bring Your Own Gun” to an afternoon of target practice.

Tuesday’s two-hour event benefits Harris, the physician-turned-politician who is looking ahead to his 2014 reelection campaign. Harris came to office in 2010 as a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, but John LaFerla and Bill Tilghman, the two Democrats lining up to challenge Harris, don’t want to scrap the law completely.

For those who want to support Harris at the Blue Ridge Arsenal on Tuesday, event organizers suggest leaving those shotguns at home: this is a rifles and pistols event. And in case you don’t have your very own, weaponry will be provided at the event. How accommodating!

Money for Matheson

Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, has been known to buck his party, voting with the GOP recently to fund sections of the federal government as the shutdown lumbered on. As each side hunkered down in their respective corners, Matheson told the Salt Lake Tribune, “I don’t vote with a party; none of us are supposed to do that. We’re supposed to be representatives.” Looks like that may have paid off: While Congress’s approval ratings are in the tank, Matheson is enjoying a 52 percent approval rating among Utah’s Republicans.

Matheson is prepping for his second faceoff with Mia Love, his opponent in a very close 2012 House race and the current mayor of Saratoga Springs. This go-around, Love already has gotten the endorsement (and the accompanying $5,000 contribution) of the Allen West Guardian Fund.

So far, each candidate’s cash-on-hand is about even, but Matheson is looking to bump up his bottom line with a breakfast fundraiser for his leadership PAC, SkiPAC. Tickets for the Thursday funder at Johnny’s Half Shell on Thursday start at $1,000 and cap out at $5,000.

Florida Fun

Gov. Rick Scott is back! After scratching a $25,000-per-person gator hunt in Florida last month, Scott is trekking to D.C. for a double-header on Thursday morning.

At 7:30 a.m., the Florida governor will be at a $2,500-a-plate breakfast reception. For $5,000, you can be a host and have a “photo opportunity.” (Let’s be real: If you are shelling out $5K that early in the morning, that photo better be guaranteed.) Then, at 9:30, it’s off to a coffee reception with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Both events benefit Scott’s “Let’s Get to Work” organization.

Scott is revving up for the 2014 election, and the field got a bit more interesting last week when Charlie Crist officially announced that he’d be running for his old job with a new party affiliation. Crist, the GOP governor from 2006-2010, opted to run for the Senate in ‘10 instead of another round at the Governor’s Mansion. He ended up losing to Marco Rubio, first skipping the Republican primary and then running in the general election as an independent. Now, Crist is seeing how Sunshine State voters like him with a Democratic label.

A day after Crist said he’d be running for his old job, Florida lawyer and major Dem fundraiser Mitchell Berger hosted a funder that reportedly brought in about $500,000. And Scott was ready on the draw with an anti-Crist ad titled “He’s an opportunist.” That’s right, folks: 366 days from the election and we’ve got negative ads and bold-name backers. Get ready for yet another intense year, Florida.

Republican Ragers

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, brings PT back to basics with two receptions at the Capitol Hill Club. On Tuesday evening, he’ll hobnob with Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and on Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is the featured guest.

And speaking of Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman and former VP candidate will head to Iowa on Saturday for Gov. Terry Branstad’s birthday celebration at Adventureland. The theme park may be closed for winter, but when the governor wants to have his party with roller coasters — like the wooden “Outlaw” pictured above – you just figure out how to make it work. We say: Bring a warm jacket.

Money Sandwich

Love a good Philly cheesesteak? Love it enough to spend $500 on one?

Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., is hoping the answer is a resounding yes to both questions. He wants to raise some dough with everyone’s favorite gut-buster at a luncheon on Tuesday. And although this get-together is at a Capitol Hill townhouse, Pitts knows how to party: He seems to like hitting up baseball games and having Cup of Joe coffee chats (we are suckers for puns and themed parties).

Whew, that was quite a week partiers! But we know there’s more good stuff out there, so let us know what you’ve heard about.

2012 Presidential Race Partytime • POSTED - 11.17.11 BY La Toya Gratten

Gingrich helping local Iowan Candidate and Gov. Barbour and Cain join forces in Florida

Yesterday presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, R-GA., was scheduled to headline a breakfast fundraising event in Urbandale, Iowa for Jeff Mullen, who is running for the state Senate. Cost was $35 for an individual and $50 for a couple.

Mullen told the Iowa Republican “I know Iowans are being bombarded with Presidential Candidates this close to the Iowa Caucus but we’ve got to keep in mind that our Iowa Senate is at a pivotal position.”

Earlier this week Gingrich saw a surge in the polls, after suffering campaign setbacks last summer. News also broke this week, however, that Gingrich earned at least $1.6 million consulting for mortgage company Freddie Mac, which is putting him under new scrutiny. On Wednesday the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings criticizing Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for lavish bonuses to executives.

Gov. Harley Barbour, R-Miss., and presidential candidate Herman Cain will be joining forces at the 2011 Statesman of the Year Dinner in Sarasota, Fla.  Barbour, a former Republican National Committee chairman, is being honored at this event to benefit the Republican Party of Sarasota County. In October, Barbour told The Hill that his wife would vote for Cain if the election were on that day.

Republican convention • POSTED - 09.03.08 BY Nancy Watzman

“It’s Haley Barbour’s Party”

We just went by the Epic nightclub, where a party for the Republican Governors Association (RGA) was underway, sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, the National Mining Association, and the American Gas Association.

Yet again, we were turned away by a pleasant gatekeeper, who did confirm that it was Mississippi Governor “Haley Barbour’s party” that we were not allowed to attend. “I’m sorry, but you’re not on the list.” Who was on the list? I looked while she paged through it and saw some company names leap out: Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and the lobbying firm the Dutko Group.

Meanwhile, there was a lot of energy on the streets. Outside the RGA party protestors rallied. We saw some folks from Code Pink and some people who described themselves as “lobbyists for lobbyists” protesting what they said were Sen. John McCain’s and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s ties to big oil.

A few blocks away a different crowd gathered in front of the Target Center. It was a group of Ron Paul supporters, who had attended a “Rally for the Republic” featuring Paul. Paul had tried and failed to get a speaking role at the Republican National Convention. The event’s organizers claimed they sold over 10,000 tickets.


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.