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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 Congressional Getaways Partytime special interests • POSTED - 02.17.12 BY Breanna Edwards

This Week’s Fundraisers: Golfing, Skiing, Shooting and breakfast with Bachus

With Congress taking a week’s recess in honor of Presidents’ Day, the party scene is moving beyond the Beltway. Some of the highlights:

Rep. Allen West partying hard: Having freshly relocated his reelection campaign to a new district following a decision by the Florida legislature that made his current seat far more Democratic, and trailed there by the same eager Democratic rival, the outspoken Tea Party favorite has more reasons than ever to get his political party on. West, a first-term Republican from Florida, has two events planned for Tuesday. He’ll host a luncheon and golf outing in Palm Beach, Fla., followed by a Mardi Gras reception at a private home in the same location. The events are all part of his First Annual West Florida Trip.

Skiing is in this weekend: For those who prefer colder climates, several Republicans are planning ski trips for the end of the week. A Party City Ski Weekend will be held in honor of Reps. Jeb Hensarling, Pete Sessions (both from Texas) and Greg Walden (Oregon) in Utah, from Feb. 23 to Feb. 26. Then, starting Feb. 24, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., will be holding a two-day Winter Ski Fling in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Shooting too: The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors PAC is hosting a Tuesday fundraiser at the Scottsdale Gun Club for freshman Republican Rep. Dave Schweikert, R-Ariz. Tickets start at $100 and it costs $1000 to sponsor what’s being billed as “a fun and safe range event.”

Bachus breakfasts with bankers: Reportedly under investigation for possible insider trading violations, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., apparently remains a draw with the finance and banking industry. The Alabama Bankers Association will be hosting a breakfast for Bachus on Monday in Montgomery, Ala.  As Sunlight told you in an earlier report on this gathering, Bachus has raised more campaign money from the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors than any other House member outside leadership this election cycle.

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Super Congress Fundraisers • POSTED - 11.22.11 BY Keenan Steiner

Super Committee members didn’t reduce deficit, but they did raise campaign cash

Although the congressional supercommittee failed to reach an agreement to slash the nation’s deficit, every single member of the 12-person panel was able to accomplish something else this fall: raise money for their own campaigns or for other candidates and committees. Collectively, the dozen members took part in 55 fundraisers, according to a mix of Party Time’s invitations and other news reports.

That includes 24 fundraisers for their own campaigns or leadership PACs—funds they use to spread their influence—and 31 events where they served as special guests to help their colleagues or party committees attract campaign cash. All of these events were scheduled since their appointment to the panel in early August.

With a total of 19 events, Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the House Democrats’ Assistant Majority Leader, has been involved in the most fundraisers. Clyburn also led the pack with ten fundraisers benefiting his campaign or leadership fund, while Pat Toomey, R-Pa., held five such events and Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., held four.

Clyburn also hosted the most shindigs—nine of them—followed by Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Becerra, who hosted four each.

Below is table showing the number of fundraisers panel members were involved in, organized by each lawmaker (and here’s a complete calendar of events).

Fundraisers during supercommittee tenure
Member Held Hosted
Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. 10 9
Pat Toomey, R-Pa. 5 0
Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. 4 4
Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas 2 1
Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. 2 4
Dave Camp, R-Mich. 1 1
Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. 0 4
Patty Murray, D-Wash. 0 3
Fred Upton, R-Mich. 0 2
Max Baucus, R-Mont. 0 1
John Kerry, D-Mass. 0 1
Rob Portman, R-Ohio 0 1

There are also plenty of fundraisers for the committee members right around the corner. Becerra is the special guest at three gatherings in the first six days of December. Jon Kyl and Jeb Hensarling are the main draws at two separate events for their colleagues. And Clyburn is taking part in a holiday party on Dec. 1 raising money for Democratic “Frontline” candidates.

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Congressional Getaways • POSTED - 10.24.11 BY La Toya Gratten

This Week’s Fundraisers: Money Trees in the Florida Keys, Duck Duck Goose, Les Miserables, and more

Duck…Duck…Goose! – The Valley PAC, the leadership fund for Rep. Collin Peterson, D—Minn., will be hosting a Goose Hunt this weekend in Eagle Lake, Texas. This is not the first time the Valley PAC has hosted a poultry themed weekend.  Early this year, the PAC had a Turkey Hunt at the Blue Head Ranch in Lake Placid, Fla., as well as a Quail Hunt in 2009 at the Southern Woods Plantation in Georgia.

“Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go” – If you feel the need to reminisce to the popular Beach Boys song or the 80’s Tom Cruise movie Cocktail, Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., will be hosting a fundraising event in Key Largo this weekend.

This is Not a Repeat of 1832 - What better way to take a break from all that talk of income inequality related to the Occupy Wall Street protests by shelling out $1,000 to watch Les Miserables with a congressman? Donors can do just that on Wednesday evening at the Kennedy Center for Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa. The musical follows the lives of several struggling poor characters leading up to the Paris Uprising of 1832.

Ms. Pac-Man – As we reported earlier this year, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., swore off donations from PACs (and lobbyists) for her personal campaign when she took the helm at the DNC in May. But the leadership PAC, called Democrats Win Seats, that bears her initials is still going to be accepting dollars from such sources, and is doing so at a Tuesday dinner organized by lobbyists. The PAC is now run by one of her longtime supporters, although the congresswoman stepped down as its chairwoman earlier this year, POLITICO reported.

Super Committee members cashing in – Panel members have booked at least four events this week [See all of the panel's events]. Co-chair Jeb Hensarling’s, R-Texas, Leadership PAC is getting help from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday. The leadership fund of Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., is putting on a Wednesday breakfast.

On Thursday evening, Clyburn is one of the special guests for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event at the home of Tom and Linda Daschle, who lobbies for Lockheed Martin and General Electric. Both companies are impacted by the committee’s work, although Daschle did not report directly lobbying the panel in the third quarter.

The DSCC is putting on a “National Innovation Conference” in California on Thursday and Friday, and, Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chair of both the DSCC and the Super Committee, agreed to be one of the hosts.

Allen West’s fundraising surge – The biggest font on this Thursday invitation is reserved for former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who reportedly offered his services to help with former Lieutenant Colonel Allen West’s, R-Fla., reelection. Another tidbit: for $2,500, donors will receive a copy of the former Defense secretary’s memoir, “Known and Unknown,” according to an event notification sent to Party Time.

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Super Congress Fundraisers • POSTED - 10.05.11 BY Keenan Steiner

Upton, Becerra, keep super committee fundraising rolling

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said he wouldn’t schedule new campaign fundraisers while serving on the special deficit-cutting panel, but that doesn’t mean he’s not fundraising in Washington.

Fred Upton at Energy Summit Stakeout

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., made the same pledge, yet neither has addressed events that were already on their calendars. Nor do their promises cover the kind of event that Upton agreed to attend on Oct. 13, where deep-pocketed lobbyists and PAC representatives with business before the Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction—better known as the super committee—will have the chance to rub elbows with the Michigan lawmaker in exchange for between $500 and $5,000.

The event benefits the Tuesday Group PAC, a fund that helps moderate House Republicans’ re-election efforts. Upton is among dozens of House members hosting the affair at a Capitol Hill bar, according to the recently released invitation. While the event is not for his own re-election, it is the second fundraising event he will be involved in since being named to the committee in August, according to invitations received by Party Time. He also hosted a lunch for Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra in September.

A spokeswoman for Upton was not immediately available to confirm whether he would attend.

Upton is in good company on the 12-member super committee, which is trying to find at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to the nation’s deficit. The lawmakers have scheduled over 30 fundraisers from early August, when they were named to the committee, through Thanksgiving, when the panel’s work ends, according to released invitations [See a complete list]. Every member of the committee—except Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who canceled one—has been scheduled to appear at a fundraiser since being named to the committee, according to invitations received by Party Time.

Tomorrow evening, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., who, like most on the committee has continued fundraising as usual, has planned an attractive annual event called “A Taste of Los Angeles,” complete with live salsa jazz and tacos shipped in from Southern California, according to a newly-disclosed invitation. The flyer entices donors with the promise of “Food, Fun, Music & Friends!”

The committee’s co-chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, also appears to have continued helping his colleagues bring in bucks. Yesterday, the Texan planned to attend a barbecue fundraiser for Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas. The event sought to raise up to $5,000-per-head, though a ticket could be had for as little as $100.

Hensarling is also still fundraising for his own campaign, according to a Politico report last week. The Investment Company Institute’s leaders and lobbyists put on a fundraiser for him on Oct. 5 at ICI’s headquarters. The event was co-hosted by Paul Schott Stevens, Donald Auerbach, Dean Sackett, Peter Gunas, Allen Huffman, Tonnie Wybensinger and Jim Hart of the ICI. The suggested contribution was $2,000 and the invitation did not mention Hensarling’s membership on the super committee, Politico reported.

Spokespeople for Hensarling and Becerra were not immediately available to comment.

On Oct. 27, panel member Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., will be involved in yet another moneymaker—the eleventh on his calendar while the super committee is in session. This time he’ll be seeking to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the Washington, D.C. home of Tom Daschle. Besides Clyburn and other Democratic leaders, another main draw to the high dollar event is the presence of young author James Farmer, who recently published a book on Southern-style garden living.

Update, Oct. 6: This post was edited to reflect that Kay Granger’s barbecue fundraiser was not the first that Jeb Hensarling was involved in since being named to the committee and to add details about the Hensarling fundraiser at the Investment Company Institute.

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Partytime • POSTED - 08.03.11 BY Keenan Steiner

Many members cancel D.C. events during recess

Members of Congress had planned dozens of fundraisers in the nation’s capital this week, but with Congress adjourning for recess after reaching a deal to raise the debt limit, many events have been put off.

Yet at least one lawmaker—Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.—is sticking around town and will attend a Thursday campaign fundraiser.

Sherman isn’t going anywhere, campaign consultant Mike Fraioli said, especially since his wife, who lives in the area, is planning to have a baby in two days. His event attempts to raise between $500 and $5,000 per attendee.

That’s not the case for his colleagues. At least five fundraisers have been canceled or postponed. Many more may be delayed as well, but calls to other congressional offices and campaign consultants were not immediately returned on Tuesday. Still other consultants would not comment on the events.

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., who narrowly won her upstate New York seat last November, had landed Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for a D.C. fundraiser today, but it’s been canceled, spokeswoman Liza Lowery said. Scheduling a big-name congressman for a fundraiser can sometimes take months, and the event was to attract as much as $5,000 per head.

A member of the GOP leadership, Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, was also supposed to raise money today—at a hip bar in Logan Circle—but that, too, was called off, a campaign consultant said. Conservative darling Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was set to help him attract large checks.

Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, along with three fellow Patton Boggs lobbyists, were ready to fete the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp, R-Mich., on Thursday. Camp spokeswoman Megan Piwowar said, “The event is not happening.”

Events this week for two other legislators, Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., and James Renacci, R-Ohio, were also postponed, campaign consultants said.

The fundraisers that we are told are canceled or postponed are marked as such on each event’s page. If you know of other events being called off, please email partytime@sunlightfoundation.com.

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ethics financial reform • POSTED - 07.15.10 BY Keenan Steiner

Party Time has fundraisers that are focus of ethics investigation

As part of its ongoing investigation into whether eight lawmakers broke ethics rules by taking large campaign donations from the financial sector before a landmark financial regulation vote, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has requested documents from lobbyists who hosted fundraisers at that time,  according to a report in today’s New York Times.

The Party Time database contains invitations for fundraisers for seven out of eight of those lawmakers, all scheduled during the two days preceding the December 11 vote. The Times story today focuses particularly on two December 10 parties: Rep. Joseph Crowley’s, D-N.Y.,  fundraiser at the townhouse owned by financial industry lobbyist Julie Domenick and Rep. Tom Price’s, R-Ga., Capitol Hill Club lunch, where Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., ranking Republican on the Financial Services Committee, was billed as a guest.

These eight lawmakers are getting the attention of the OCE, but as the Times story notes–and the Party Time database shows–there were plenty of other fundraisers occurring near the time of the key vote. Take Domenick’s home as an example.

In all, Party Time has two dozen fundraiser invitations for events at the Domenick townhouse from Feb. 2009 through April 2010, including several parties right before the Dec. 11 vote. On Dec. 2, the townhouse was scheduled to be the site of a fundraiser for Rep. Scott Murphy, D-N.Y., with Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, listed as a guest. On Dec. 9, Rep. Frank Kratovil, D-Md., planned a fundraiser. Kratovil is a member of the Agriculture Committee, also involved in the Wall St. reform.

According to Party Time records, Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Paul Hodes, D-N.H., (who is running for Senate), Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Ron Klein, D-Fla, all Financial Services Committee members, invited donors to parties at Domenick’s home in early 2010.  Rep. John Boccieri, D-Ohio, planned a party there for February, where Crowley was listed as a guest.

We don’t know if Domenick, who lobbies for the Investment Co Institute and Federated Investors Inc., attended these events or just allowed her home to be used. Domenick recently sold her house, according to this May report.

Party Time has often tracked fundraisers occurring while key legislation is being debated in Congress.  Last month we blogged about (and made a spreadsheet) all of the invitations to fundraisers we had on file for the 43 lawmakers serving on the conference committee for the financial reform bill. We also pointed to invitations for fundraisers scheduled for some Democratic members during the final days of the conference.

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Uncategorized financial reform • POSTED - 06.16.10 BY Lisa Chiu

Lawmakers under scrutiny in Ethics probe planned fundraisers before crucial vote

The Party Time database shows that seven of the eight lawmakers currently being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics for holding fundraisers or receiving major donations just two days before the House vote on the Wall Street reform bill, have invites for fundraisers that took place within the time frame of the Ethics probe.

The probe is focused on whether the timing of accepting the campaign checks 48 hours before the vote on December 11, 2009 created an unacceptable appearance of a conflict, the Washington Post reported today. The Ethics Office has sent letters to lobbyists requesting information about these donations, the Post also found.

According to our database of fundraising invitations, which is by no means complete, the following lawmakers sent invitations to the fundraisers listed below which were set to take place on December 9, 2009 or December 10, 2009:

•    Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., planned a December 10, 2009 “Financial Services Luncheon” featuring Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., at the Capitol Hill Club. Guests and political action committees could attend by donating anywhere from $500-$2,500.

•    Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., planned a December 9, 2009 reception at Democratic National Headquarters titled “Bojangles’ Fried Chicken, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Mel Watt, of course!” Individuals were asked to contribute $500 and political action committees $1,000.

•    Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., planned a December 9, 2009 “California Wine Tasting” that cost participants anywhere from $500-$1,000. The distribution for the wine tasting event was paid for by the Gula Graham Group a fundraising and political consulting firm. Campbell also planned a December 8, 2009 lunch at the Capitol Hill club where guests could pay anywhere from $500-$2,000. The event also featured special guest Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

•    Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., planned a “Last Call” breakfast on December 9, 2009 at the Capitol Hill Club. The invitation prominently displayed his position as a ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, and a member of the House Financial Services Committee and House Science and Technology Committee. The cost to attend was $500 per person and $1,000 per political action committee.

•    Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., planned a “Holiday Reception” on December 9, 2009 for “max out donors only” who could attend for $1,000 per political action committee or co-sponsor the event for $2,500 per political action committee.

•    Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., planned two fundraisers in this time frame: A December 10, 2009 “Holiday Cocktail Reception” featuring special guest Sen. Mark Warner that cost $500-$2,500 to attend.

•    Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., planned a December 10, 2009 breakfast at the offices of Davis and Harman LLP where guests could pay anywhere from $500-$2,000 to attend. The firm has several financial firms as clients.

•    There are no invitations on file for the two-day time period of the probe for Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who is also being investigated. However there are plenty of other invites for Hensarling in our database. According to the Post, Ethics investigators want to know about the 10-day period before the vote when he raised at least $30,000 in case from financial firms and their advocates.

The 2008 House Ethics Manual states:

“The Standards Committee has long advised Members and staff that they should always exercise caution to avoid even the appearance that solicitations of campaign contributions are connected in any way with an action taken or to be taken in their official capacity.”

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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.