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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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Congressional Getaways Partytime • POSTED - 11.28.11 BY La Toya Gratten

This Week’s Fundraisers: Chaka Khan Sings, Holiday Soirees, Festive Treats, Ski Trip and more

Orange JuliusToday, Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., is scheduled to attend the National Orange Show Annual Awards Dinner in San Bernardino, Calif.  To join Baca at this event, tickets range from $5,000 for PACs to $99 for individual contributions. Baca’s fundraiser invitations appear frequently in the Party Time database.

Tuesday Moneymakers – Tuesday is a popular day to fundraise this week for several members of Congress. Legendary R&B singer Chaka Khan is the featured entertainment at an evening concert at the Birchmere, where Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga. plans to raise cash. Cost is $85 for a ticket from Ticketmaster; Johnson is asking donors for $1,500 for one ticket, $2,500 for two.Meanwhile, Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and Mike Quigley, D-Ill., are planning fundraisers at the Washington Capitals vs. St. Louis Blues hockey game. Stearns’ event is hosted by former Texas Rep. Jack Fields, now a lobbyist for the Twenty-First Century Group, along with an AT&T lobbyist, a Verizon lobbyist, and another with the Glover Park Group. Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., will be hosting a seasonal New York Apple Harvest Reception at the National Democratic Club Townhouse. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. plans to appear at a dinner fundraiser benefiting Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Tuesday night.

Race for Massachusetts - As the Massachusetts Senate race continues to heat up,  Sen. Scott Brown continues his fundraising efforts on Wednesday as he hosts a breakfast fundraiser. To join Brown for breakfast, tickets start at $2,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals.

Big Easy in DC – Bringing Louisiana flavor to the nation’s capitol, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D. La., will be hosting an evening filled with sweets and treats from the Bayou at her Capitol Hill home on Wednesday.

Tired of Turkey, Try Chinese Takeout – If people are tired of Thanksgiving leftovers, they can join Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., on Wednesday for Chinese Takeout. Hosts are lobbyists Dan Mattoon and Mike Zarrelli.

Texas Sized Breakfast – Originally scheduled for October 25, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, R-Texas, breakfast fundraiser has been rescheduled for this Thursday. Former Super Committee Member Rep. Xavier Becerra, R-Calif., is scheduled to attend as a special guest.

Tis’ the Season – As 2011 comes to a close, politicians are scrambling to raise money with holiday cheer. This Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will be hosting a holiday party featuring Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. This fundraiser is to benefit a long list of “Frontline Members,” including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

Reps. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., Melvin Watt, D-N.C., and Heath Schuler, D-N.C. will also be hosting holiday themed fundraisers on Thursday. Sewell will be having a holiday cupcakes and cocktails reception; Watt will be hosting a “holiday sip” in the evening; and Shuler will kick-off winter with a Southern reception.

Rep. Gwen Moore, D- Wis.,  is hosting a holiday concert fundraiser featuring American Idol finalist and Wisconsin native Naima Adedapo this Saturday. Attendees can pay $75 for two tickets or $50 for one ticket.

California Dreamin’ – Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., will be at Honorable Tom Reynold’s 19th Annual Pebble Beach Golf Weekend starting Dec.2-4. The cost is $5,000 per PAC and $2,500 per individual.

Ski Weekend- Sen. Lisa Murkowski will be in Deer Valley, UT for the First Tracks Ski Trip. Murkowski has raised cash while skiing before.

For the complete list of fundraisers this week, check out Party Time.

Partytime • POSTED - 07.27.11 BY Patrick Simmons

Lawmakers Sing Along with Swift to Raise Cash

Looking to start August on a fundraising high note, seven members of Congress have fundraisers scheduled at a Taylor Swift concert at the Verizon Center next week. The Nashville songstress has two sold out shows on August 2 and August 3.

Six members of Congress will be attending the August 2 performance. Republican senator John Thune, R-S.D, will join Republican representatives Jo Bonner, R-Ala., Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., Tom Price, R-Ga., and Kay Granger, R-Texas, in the Swift sing-along. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C,. is also scheduled to fundraise at the Swift show. The invitation to join the co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition features a distraught looking Swift and suggests invitees bring their son or daughter to join them at the show.

The following night on August 3, Swift will return to the stage, this time with only one lawmaker in attendance. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., is the only member of congress scheduled to attend the August 3 concert.

This is not the first time lawmakers have seen Swift as a fundraising draw. In June last year, Reps. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Tom Price all held fundraisers at a Swift concert at the Verizon center. Rep. Price apparently enjoyed her show enough to fundraise around her again this year.

Tickets to the show are currently sold out, but can be found for as little as $55. The privilege of rocking out to Swift in the company of a member of Congress however carries a price. Tickets to these fundraisers run from $1,000 for two individual tickets with Kay Granger to $3,500 for two PAC tickets with John Thune.

Editor’s Note: After a phone call from the artist’s publicist, we would like to add that Taylor Swift, Messina Group or the Verizon Center have no involvement in the fundraiser.

ethics • POSTED - 04.14.11 BY Keenan Steiner

Once again, DCCC taps top aides for donor circuit

Four top aides to House Democratic leaders have been tapped to host a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tonight, at least the second time in less than one month that the campaign arm tapped aides for its cause.

Unlike the $100-per head fundraiser last month, this event may be out of reach for young donors, asking for $500 to spend an hour-and-a-half with the aides at Ping Pong Dim Sum in downtown Washington.

One of the staffers, Jason Cole, the chief of staff to DCCC leader Jim Himes, D-Conn., is a repeat host from the March event. The others are Stacey Bernards and Brian Romick, top aides to Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, R-Md., and Hayden Rogers, the chief of staff to Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., a leader of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

There is nothing improper about aides participating in fundraising when not working in their official roles but the line between aides fundraising and official duties has come into question before, including during a recent investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

The House Democrats out-raised their Republican counterparts in the first quarter by bringing in $19.6 million compared to the NRCC’s $18 million, the DCCC reported today.

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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special interests • POSTED - 06.16.10 BY Nancy Watzman

Shuler hunting fundraisers

We have a couple of hunting fundraisers on file for Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), who is reportedly the lawmaker seeking to exempt the National Rifle Association (NRA) from the DISCLOSE Act to require more disclosure of campaign finance advertisements.

Both are at the Wynfield plantation in Georgia. One, on December 13, 2009, asked donors for $2,500 to participate. The other, was a weekend long  quail hunting trip in March 2009.

Shuler has gotten $3,500 directly from the NRA’s PAC this election cycle.

Click here to see a list of congressional fundraisers that feature hunting as the entertainment, and here to see parties hosted by the NRA.

(Hat tip: Ellen Miller.)

Partytime • POSTED - 02.25.09 BY Nancy Watzman

More parties outside DC

Jumping off from USA Today reporter Fredreka Schouten’s reporting last week on fundraising at ritzy locales, here are some more upcoming fundraising parties that are taking place way outside the beltway.

Rep. Joe Crowley of New York has two different weekends listed for his “I Love NYC” weekend fundraiser, May 1-3 and June 12-14. California Rep. Loretta Sanchez also has an NYC weekend in the works, March 13, 15.

California Rep. Ellen Tauscher is charging $2,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals to attend a weekend retreat at the Inn at Perry Cabin on Maryland’s Eastern shore.

Rep. Jim DeMint from South Carolina is hosting a “family weekend and golf outing” at the Fazio Harbor Course at Wild Dunes. There will be lots of golf, of course, but also plenty of food and an awards ceremony to boot. This event is a fundraiser for a joint committee–the proceeds are split according to complicated rules between DeMint’s Senate 2010 campaign and his leadership PAC, the Senate Conservatives Fund PAC.

For sports lovers, specifically Arizona sports lovers, Rep. Ed Pastor has his 17th annual “All Sports Weekend” March 20-22. This includes two days of golf, a Phoenix Suns basketball game, Spring Training and all meals. But–your $3,000 doesn’t cover your hotel and airfare. That’s extra.  And, if you read the fine print, you also find that “Due to ticket limitation and rising costs on some events, we may not be able to accommodate guests.” Hmm.

If quail hunting is your style, North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler is going on one March 13-14 at the Wynfield Plantation in Albany, Georgia. Says the invite, “We will be hunting off jeep with a guide and dogs. This is my favorite event of the season and I do hope that you will join me.”

(Thanks to Sunlight Foundation intern Tim Wiseman for ferreting these out).


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.