Since the bills’ introduction in late October, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and its Senate counterpart the Protect IP Act (PIPA) (S. 968) have been met with controversy. The legislation has unleashed passions that cross party lines, as vividly illustrated in the California delegation, where the fight over SOPA has turned into battle between the North and South: Hollywood media giants versus the heavy hitters from the tech world in Silicon Valley.
Southern California Democratic Reps. Howard Berman, Joe Baca, Karen Bass, Adam Schiff, Judy Chu and Brad Sherman and Republican Reps. Mary Bono-Mack and Elton Gallegly are proponents of the SOPA bill according to ProRepublica.
Berman has been an active supporter of SOPA since its creation. He joined Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt, and Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, John Conyers, D-Mich., Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., on Capitol Hill in April for a press conference on fighting online infringement.
“The theft of American Intellectual Property not only robs those in the creative chain of adequate compensation, but it also stunts potential for economic growth, cheats our communities out of good paying jobs, and threatens future American innovation,” he said at the media event. “Today I remain as committed to this fight as ever, and I look forward to working with my colleagues – both Republicans and Democrats to protect American businesses, workers, and innovators.”
Party Time records on Berman show that he has had four fundraisers with lobbyists representing clients such as Verizon Communications, Comcast Corporation and the National Association of Broadcasters. One fundraiser in October included the Yahoo! Inc., PAC.
While Berman’s says his aim is to protect American intellectual property, his efforts also would protect a long-time and lucrative constituency in a year when the veteran lawmaker is in the fight of his political life, forced by redistricting into a battle with another powerful Democratic colleague. Berman, who has long represented parts of Hollywood as well as Studio City and Universal City, where many television shows are made, counts television, film and music among his top financial supporters, according to OpenSecrets. Those industries are also leading the fight for enactment of legislation to stop online piracy.
Another California Democrat who backs SOPA, Rep. Adam Schiff, has received contributions from of the legislation such as Comcast, Microsoft (which just announced it opposes the current draft of the bill), the Motion Picture Association of America PAC, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, and Time Warner.
Schiff’s 29th Congressional District, which includes Burbank, is home to Warner Brothers Studios, Disney Studios, NBC Studios, and DreamWorks Animation Studios. Party Time has the invite to Schiff’s First Annual Weekend with the Stars fundraiser, scheduled for March in Los Angeles.
Among other SOPA supporters who have been feted by backers of the legislation:
Rep. Joe Baca: Jocelyn Hong, a Twenty-First Century Group lobbyist who represents clients such as Time Warner Cable and Verizon Communications — both SOPA supporters — has hosted two fundraisers for the California Democrat.
Rep. Mary Bono-Mack: The AT&T Federal PAC hosted a fundraiser for the Palm Springs Republican in April, with tickets ranging from $1,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals. The AT&T Federal PAC has given $5,000 to Bono-Mack. Other proponents of SOPA, including, but not limited the Walt Disney Productions Employees PAC, the Motion Pictures Association of America PAC, Comcast Corporation PAC had made contributions to Bono-Mack.
Of the 189 opponents of the SOPA/PIPA legislation, 9 are Democrats from northern California, home of many of the tech firms that are leading the opposition to the bills. The list includes: Reps. Anna Eschoo, Mike Honda, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, George Miller, Jackie Speirer, Pete Stark, and the leader of the House Democrats, Nancy Pelosi.
Lobbyist Dom Ruscio was one of the hosts for a breakfast reception in June for Honda. Ruscio is a lobbyist at Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates LLC and one of the clients he represents is the IBM Corporation. IBM is one of many tech companies that oppose SOPA.
Lofgren’s 16th congressional district covers most of the Santa Clara County, which includes the capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose. Lofgren’s top contributors are tech industry titans, including Google Inc., which has been a vocal opponent of SOPA.
In March, Rep. Lofgren held a Technology Industry Breakfast, with tickets starting at $2,500 for PACs and $500 for individuals.Tweet
On Valentine’s Day, at least two members of Congress are using love to attract some special interest honey. Two other members also planned Cupid-themed events in advance of the holiday this week.
Rep. Connie Mack’s, R-Fla., is putting on a couples-themed, early-evening, wine bar event with his wife, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif. (Sorry, Party Time only has a blurb, not the full-page invitation).
The congressional pair wanted to put on an event for other couples, said GOP Fundraiser Rob Jennings, who is accepting checks for the affair. “They thought it would be fun to have a one hour reception before votes and try to get people together to celebrate Valentine’s Day,” he added.
The event is also an occasion for PAC representatives and lobbyists to let the congressman know their love equals $1,000. But, Jennings said, the event is just like many others in the nation’s capital.
“In Washington everyone finds an excuse one way or another to have a fundraiser,” he said.
If not romance, Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, is luring lobbyists with the promise of the holiday’s other mainstay: chocolate. The Democrat is asking PACs for between $1,000 and $5,000 to attend his lunch at a classic D.C. establishment. That is, according to the invitation, as Michaud’s office has not confirmed whether the event will happen.
This week, at least two other members tried to romance their donors. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., invited “you and your sweetheart” to an evening reception with candies, asking for donations between $1,000 and $5,000. Speier’s chief of staff would not say whether the fundraiser actually took place, saying that she does not comment to the press on the congresswoman’s fundraising activities despite the fact that the aide is listed as the person to contact to RSVP for the event.
Earlier this week, Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., and his wife invited donors — and their significant others — to their annual Valentine’s Day dinner at an Italian restaurant. Manzullo’s fundraising consultant has not responded to an email confirming if this event was held.
But not all of Monday’s gatherings are for lovers.
Joe Pitts, R-Pa., is putting on an intimate, $2,000-per-head, lunch but there is “nothing romantic” about it, said fundraising consultant Meredith Mino.
“It just happened to fall on that day,” she said.Tweet
But this is the first time we’ve seen a lawmaker use candy as a lure. And according to the invitation, which trumpets “Candy & Candy & Candy & Candy & More Candy!!!” there will be plenty to go around.
The event is billed as a candy battle between the district of Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., which includes San Mateo County and southwest San Francisco, and that of her colleague, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., who represents the northern coast of the state, including Napa Valley.
But this event includes a lower brow item: jelly beans. There will be two battles: “Chocolate VS Jelly Beans” and “Lollipops VS Licorice.”
It’s likely that Speier would represent chocolate since Ghirardelli is associated with San Francisco. Thompson is probably rooting for Jelly Belly, whose Fairfield headquarters is just outside his district.
However, it’s worth noting that neither company’s headquarters is actually in either member’s district. And jelly beans might be considered an odd choice for Democrats, considering they were a favorite of Ronald Reagan, who used to keep a jar on hand for important meetings. Even today, the Jelly Belly Candy Co. doesn’t give to Speier or Thompson but to Republicans Meg Whitman (to the tune of over $25,000 last year), Carly Fiorina and Dan Lungren, R-Calif., according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Speier is seeking to raise between $1,000 and $5,000 per donor at tomorrow night’s soiree, taking place at the party room of the Capitol Hill Tower in Southeast Washington.Tweet
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)
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