Hey, Partiers. It’s been sort of a tough week in the nation’s capital, what with the scandal at the Internal Revenue Service, the outrage at the Justice Department and the drumbeat of GOP criticism over Benghazi. I could go on for pages about how bad it’s been for the White House — but others have beaten me to it. Besides, things must not be as bad as they look — President Obama still managed to squeeze in three fundraisers on Monday, after some of these problems surfaced.
And in the Party arena, we had our our own controversy to deal with: Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who’s running to take over the Senate seat that opened when John Kerry was appointed secretary of state, disinvited former Congressman Ben Jones — known for playing “Cooter” on “Dukes of Hazzard” — from a fundraising event over Jones’ support of the Confederate flag. Apparently, Jones is not pleased. Markey is no stranger to controversial guests, having appeared earlier this year with disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer — a.k.a. Client 9 — so maybe this time he thought he could avoid some flack in advance. I guess not.
If only there were some way to fix all of this…
But, to borrow a sentiment often expressed by our nation’s politicians, let’s not look to the past, but to the future…to next week’s parties!
Monday is busy for Sen Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who is hosting two funders in one day! (Luckily, she scheduled them for different times so she doesn’t have to face the classic sitcom conundrum of juggling two dates at once).
First, Ayotte has a Health Care Lunch at Art & Soul, where guests can munch on smoked pork ribs and, if they chose, snicker at how disastrous the Affordable Care Act is. (The meal’s $500+ tag may or may not be served with a sphygmomanometer). Then at 6 p.m., it’s time to hit the town for Ladies’ Night! Six seems a little early for such an event, but it is on a Monday, after all. Drinks with the girls will set you back $500, or $1,000 if you want to co-host.
But if you can’t do Monday, fear not. The former New Hampshire attorney general likes to get her schmoozing done with before Hump Day — she’s got another event Tuesday.
We all scream for …
Illinois Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley will host his “Summer is Near” Ice Cream Social Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. You might think that $1,000 is a bit too much for ice cream, but just look at that flyer. It has cows. And puns. You can’t put a price tag on that stuff, especially when you compare it to some of the other exciting invitations Party Time is blessed with.
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., will be collecting funds Tuesday evening at Charlie Palmer Steak House, along with a secret “VIP guest.” I couldn’t find out who the guest is, but I have a hunch, or at least a strong preference. Clint Eastwood, anybody?
UPDATE 5/20/2013: It turns out I don’t have ESP, as Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will be the guests of honor.
Do I look like I need to diet?
Freshman New York Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is behind the district’s bargain fundraiser for the week! You can get in Wednesday at Cava Mezze for just $200! But this is Washington after all, so there has to be a catch in the fine print. Yes, you are stuck with a “small dinner.” It’s okay though, fearless lobbyists and PAC managers, because there are plenty of other fundraisers going on that night — just check the calendar. Or, if you’re the kind of weary lobbyist that is simply sick and tired of being treated by politicians like an ATM machine — you don’t have to tell me, brother! — just have a “me” night up the street at DC-3, where you’ll find comfort in this ridiculous bacon-wrapped hot dog. But first — stick those unwanted invites right here.
Two Govs, One County
Speaking of bargains, everything’s cheaper in the Midwest. If you find yourself in Des Moines, Iowa this Thursday you can see two governors in one night! Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will travel to Iowa to appear at the Polk County GOP’s Annual Spring Dinner Thursday evening, along with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. (Walker is no stranger to out-of-state fundraising, and he has at least a couple more events outside the Badger State coming up.)
You can go stag to the event for just $75. But for $1,000, you get a photo op with Walker, a table for 10, tickets to a “host” reception and of course the biggest prize of all: The ever-so-prestigious ‘Host’ label itself. What a steal!
Well, that about does it. Don’t forget to send any invitations you may have our way, and, as always, check a mirror before you pose for any pictures with your favorite candidate. It’d be a shame to pay all that money just to have broccoli in your teeth. Until next time, partiers!
(Photo credit: CJ Sorg via Flickr.com)Tweet
Sure, there’s a new pope and he’s very humble and nice and all, but Party Time is more excited for the return of another nearly omnipotent figure — the Partier-In-Chief! Yes, President and heavyweight champion fundraiser Barack Obama is back, heading West for a Democratic gold rush in early April. The swing will retire some DNC debt and generate some cash for the DCCC as it launches into the 2014 midterm battle. Buzzfeed obtained an email sent by Bay Area Democrats Chair Wade Randlett describing the events: An April 4 brunch with a remarkable $32,000 price tag, as well as a lunch later that day that costs as much as $20,000. It seems like Obama hasn’t lost his touch — in fact, he looks better than ever.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; next week alone offers a bevy of quality parties to check out. See the highlights below.
Dingell raises funds with guns
After California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein’s verbal assault on Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a full ban on assault weapons yesterday — so what better time to have a fundraiser featuring guns! Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., will be having his Annual Pheasant Shoot on Monday in the small town of Boonsboro, Md. Dingell is an avid sportsman and vehemently pro-gun, receiving A+ ratings from the NRA. Prices are TBD, so if you’ve got the invite send it in here!
Cash Course for Crapo
Ever since Mormon Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, had that small drunk driving incident earlier this year, he’s been lying low in Party Time (and everywhere else). But that respite appears over, as PT picked up on eight upcoming parties planned in 2013 for his leadership PAC Freedom Fund, three of which are happening next week. He’ll be starting out with a Tuesday breakfast at top international law firm Faegre Baker Daniels on K Street, costing up to $2,500/PAC and $1,000/individual. Two days later, Crapo will be doubling up. First, he’ll celebrate the annual NCAA tournament with a March Madness Kick Off at the townhouse of Diageo — oddly enough, the world’s biggest producer of alcoholic drinks (Guinness, Smirnoff, Bailey’s, Captain Morgan, etc.). Prices for that event are also $2,500/PAC and $1,000/individual. Later that day, Crapo (pronounced CRAY-POE) will rush to Ruth’s Chris Steak House for dinner, again at the same price point. With all this partying scheduled, maybe Crapo should pump the brakes a bit.
Barrasso’s boys club
It’s going to be a boys night out for Senate Republicans on Monday, as Wyoming’s John Barrasso hosts his Leadership Reception. Riding along in the “Bro-jan Horse” will be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, John Thune, R-S.D., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan. It’s taking place right at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C. and will run guests as much as $5,000/PAC and $2,500/individual. The event will be benefiting his leadership fund, Common Values PAC (apparently the only value they approve of having in common is conservatism). And don’t worry, girls are allowed — as long as they bring the entry fee.
GOP forgives, forgets and fundraises for DesJarlais
Talk about forgive and forget — House Republicans forgave, forgot and are now fundraising for embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. Or at least some of them. As a practicing doctor, the pro-life, family-values oriented lawmaker encouraged not only his wife to have an abortion, but his mistress and patients as well, according to divorce proceedings. The controversy is apparently too much for one Republican, Minnesotan John Kline, who said this week he would not attend the event after originally lending his name to it. But other DesJarlais colleagues are evidently on board to help Tuesday at the Capitol Hill Club, such as House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa, Calif., and Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Frank Lucas, Okla., as well as Reps. Jim Jordan, Ohio, Tom Price, Ga., and Steve Scalise, La. The price to let everyone know you’ve truly forgiven DesJarlais is $1,000/PAC and $500/individual.
#Stand (and #fundraise) with Rand
Fresh off his filiblizzard of now-CIA Director John Brennan, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will be capitalizing on all that attention with a Reception and Dinner on Tuesday. It’s located at the UPS townhouse, and transportation industry groups like BNSF RailPAC are hosting. Also on the host committee are eye-popping groups like the National Association for Gun Rights (which sits to the right of the NRA, and has contributed to Paul before) and the PAC of the infamous nonprofit group Citizens United. And don’t forget the power lobbyists like Doyce Boesch, Kirk Blalock and Hunter Bates. If you’d like to stand with Rand, and use him as your personal sounding board, just pony up $5,000 per PAC or $2,500 per person.
Paul Ryan makes a “Schocking” appearance
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., released a new budget proposal that “changed the conversation” on fixing America’s economy… according to Paul Ryan. If you’d like to hear Ryan talk about his game-changing policies, catch him stumping for conservative young gun Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., at his Reception and Dinner on March 21. It takes place at the Five Points Washington — Washington, Illinois, that is. The fundraiser exhibits how highly the former VP candidate thinks of Schock — Ryan’s been in high demand since the election, but has largely stayed off the party circuit. Plus it’s only $250 to get in — all the more reason to attend.
In case you missed it
Mr. Indecision A.K.A. Newark Mayor Cory Booker also has three events this week benefiting his Senate campaign committee, but PT already covered his fundraising explosion with a detailed stand-alone post here. Also make sure to read up the surge of fundraisers for lawmakers involved in the debate over immigration reform, featuring corporate-sponsored funders for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, members of the “Gang of 8″ and more.
Until next time, Partiers!
Photo courtesy of Pete Souza via Wikimedia CommonsTweet
The terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad sequester is back again to wreak financial havoc on the American people. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said it would cripple our borders; Secretary of State John Kerry warned it would impair vital foreign missions; NASA officials cautioned that it would further slash their budget to about $13; and the White House itself claimed the reductions would essentially decimate the middle class. This paralyzing firestorm of automatic spending cuts — upwards of $1 trillion over the next 10 years — is set to ignite on March 1, so what Congress is doing to prevent this potential economic catastrophe?
They’re taking the week off: A quick look at the House and Senate calendars shows that both chambers have hung “Gone Fishin’“ signs on their office doors. There are plans to avert the sequester, but with only 10 days until the clock expires it may be too late. But maybe America doesn’t have to worry; Congress may just delay the self-imposed cuts, as they have done over and over (and over) again.
Unfortunately for Party Time, the Congressional break also means a break from our favorite activity. There is a lengthy valley amongst the grey peaks of the PT calendar, but some persistent lawmakers will be forging onward to generate some green. Check out the highlights below, Partiers.
Dukakis lends a hand to Brad Sherman — again
Former Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis will be a featured guest at a Feb. 21 dinner reception for Brad Sherman, D-Calif. The pair seem to be old friends, as Dukakis has made several appearances for Sherman in the past, such as this 2008 reception and this 2011 dinner.This event is to help Sherman retire some serious debt after defeating fellow Democrat Howard Berman twice; once in the primary and again in the general election due to California’s new rule where the top two vote-getters compete — regardless of party. And Sherman sure has a hole to dig himself out of — he accrued over $800,000 worth of debt in the last cycle, and has less than $50,000 cash on hand. If you’d like to help Sherman out, contributions range from $5,000 to $500.
NRSC takes a holiday
The chills of winter seem to be getting to the NRSC, so they’re leaving the cold behind, traveling to sunny Palm Beach for their annual NRSC Winter Retreat. The destination for this weekend trip is the luxurious Breakers resort, where featured activities include deep sea fishing, golf at the Ocean Course, spa trips and more. The retreat is for PACs only, and is priced at $15,000/$5,000. However, the event has filled up completely and all rooms are sold out — maybe next year, slow pokes.
The Colbert Bump
The Rev. Sir Doctor Sen. Stephen T. Mos Def Colbert, D.F.A., Heavyweight Champion of the World, Ph.D will be stumping for his own sister in a two-part fundraising event on Feb. 22. Elizabeth Colbert Busch, or Lulu as she’s known in the Colbert household, has her eyes set on the South Carolina congressional seat vacated by Tim Scott, and her TV personality brother is hyping her on the Colbert Report and on the road. Part one involves a reception with Stephen at a private residence in New York City’s Upper West Side and is priced up to $2,600; Part two whisks you to the swanky Boulud Sud restaurant where guests will be treated to a chef’s dinner and personalized book signing, costing $5,200. No word on which Stephen Colbert will show — the Democrat, or the Republican… (Sis, BTW, is running as a Democrat.)
Weekends in winter out west in Wyoming
Wyoming is one of the most beautiful states in America, and the Tetons make a great backdrop to any fundraiser. So it’s no surprise that Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both Republicans from the Equality State, are taking advantage of their time away from Washington to throw funders out in the mountains. Enzi’s hosting a Dinner in the Tetons on Feb. 22 that features fellow Wyomingite Barrasso. It takes place at the Snake River Lodge and Spa, named after an actual river that actually looks like a snake. Tickets to the dinner cost $2,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals.
But something fishy is up: Sen. Barrasso is hosting his own Sixth Annual Winter Snow Fling from Feb. 22-23, the same time as Sen. Enzi’s party. Wait a minute, how could Barrasso be at both places at once? Easy — they’re both at the Snake River Lodge! It appears Barrasso will be taking a moment to help out his fellow Wyomingite, then continue on with his own weekend funder — what a party animal.
Until next time, Partiers!Tweet
The election’s finally decided; dark money groups are falling back into the shadows; TV and the Internet are no longer crammed with horrifying attack ads; and at least some people are finally getting back to what’s important – partying!
The columns of Party Time still run thin as most members of Congress either sit back and relax to celebrate their win, or take some time pining over what could have been. But for several Republicans in the Senate, there seems to be no respite from fundraising – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., even had an event the day after the election!
The big event this week is Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s Birthday Bash, being held at the Palace Theater within the amusement park Adventureland. The headliner for this event is Florida Sen. and potential GOP savior Marco Rubio. Could Rubio be preparing already for a 2016 bid? The event holds more importance than most funders, since it’s honoring the governors of one of America’s highest-profile swing states, and the caucuses that just so happen to kick off the quadrennial presidential sweepstakes. Last year’s bash took place during the battle for the Republican presidential nominee and every one, barring Mitt Romney, showed up to honor Branstad.
Earlier in the week, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., hosts a dinner on Tuesday. Perhaps Toomey has the energy to fundraise because he got to sit out the 2012 election – he slipped by Democrat Joe Sestak 51% to 49% in a narrow victory of his own two years ago. The event takes place at Acqua Al 2, a popular Capitol Hill site, and will run guests up to $2,000.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., also didn’t have to worry about Election Day this year, defeating Democrat Paul Hodes in 2010. She will be returning to a Congressional favorite, Johnny’s Half Shell, for a breakfast running guests anywhere from $2,000 to $500.
Another senator who was able to relax this week was Dan Coats, R-Ind. He’s breaking out some conservative star power and hosting a breakfast with retiring Senate minority whip Jon Kyl R-Ariz. The bill for this meal could run you $2,000, but you can grab a seat for just $500.
But newly-elected Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., is proving to be quite a trouper. Fresh off a win in over former Sen. Bob Kerrey, she’ll be throwing an appropriately titled Nebraska Victory Reception at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. To get in and celebrate the good times will be up to $2,000.
And if you think these candidates are planning ahead, wait until you meet Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. Party Time has already received an invite to his “Teton Tee-Off and Wine+Art Escape” – taking place in August of 2013. Wow. Here’s hoping Barrasso supporters have marked their calendars, because they are going to have no excuses for missing this one.
Elections are won and lost, politicians come and go, but fundraisers are forever.
Until next time, Partiers!Tweet
It’s looks like a slow mid-August week, Party Timers, with a fewer than 15 events in our admittedly Beltway-centric database. Remember that the nation’s lawmakers are officially on their month-long holiday so parties may be slow for a while. However, if you know of any interesting fundraisers — especially those coming up in Tampa and Charlotte — be sure to fill us in!
On to the highlights:
Obama Cashing in with Celebrities: It’s not slow for President Obama’s campaign. Along with the usual campaign fundraisers there will be a (belated) birthday celebration in Chicago and some hob-nobbing with celebrities.
The president and his wife will kick off the fundraising week Sunday in different cities: Michelle Obama will be in Los Angeles for a party at a reception in her husband’s honor at a private home. That event will cost between $2,500 and $25,000.
Mrs. Obama then will head to the Beverly Hills home of singer and fashion designer Gwen Stefani for a ‘Sunday of Fun‘ with members of the American rock band No Doubt. To co-chair the event with the celebrities and Mrs. O, individuals have to dole out $25,000. A family photo opportunity comes at a hefty $8,000 while a couple photo-op costs $5,000. General admission for a family of four (that is, two adults and two children) will cost $1,000.
While his wife is in the Golden State, the president will be in his hometown of Chicago for a four-fundraiser day, including an exclusive party at his home for a few close friends able to pony up $40,000 a ticket and a Gen44 birthday celebration. To play on the president’s 51 years, VIP admission will cost $551 (this includes the VIP reception and ropeline placement), preferred admission $251, while general admission will be $51.
Later in the week, on Wednesday the Obama campaign will be hosting a reception with the cast of The Wire, an American TV drama. The event, which will be held at Martha’s Vineyard, will cost hosts $2,500 and guests $500. The campaign won’t be quick to leave the Vineyard however. On Friday they will have yet another fundraiser, a dinner, in the area. This one logs in at at $10,000 per couple or $5,000 per individual.
Romney in Alabama: GOP nominee, Mitt Romney will be in Birmingham, Ala. on Wednesday for a reception. Party Time does not have many details for this event, but it will reportedly cost between $5,000 to $25,000.
Update 08/13, 1:15 EST; Romney will also be in Nantucket on Saturday for a reception and dinner at a private home. Party Time doesn’t have any record for the ask of this event or who else will be in attendance.
Other Interesting Events: For those who are interested in getting out of the capital and heading for a different climate in Colorado, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, will be hosting a Broadmoor summer retreat to benefit the Free State PAC. Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S.D. and Rep. John Boozman, R-Ariz. are all expected to attend the retreat which starts on Sunday and goes until Tuesday. Party Time has no record of the ask for this event.
Fishing fans may be interested in the annual “Hook ‘n Bullet” event for Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. The two-day event starts on Tuesday on the Silver Springs Angus Ranch in Picabo, Idaho. Again, we are not sure of the ask for this event.Tweet
It is officially August Party Timers! Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives have taken their month-long leave from the capital, so the partying pace has slowed to a crawl. If you know of events beyond the Beltway, let us know. Here are the highlights:
Presidential Partying: The Obama Victory Fund has three fundraisers lined up this week, starting with the president himself visiting Connecticut on Monday. There’s an evening reception at the Stamford Marriott Hotel, there general admission costs $500 and a photo opportunity with Obama runs $10,000. For $38,500, Nutmeg State supporters of the president can join him at a glam funder in nearby Greenwich. Hosts are media mogul Harvey Weinstein and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Both Wintour and Weinstein have hosted fundraisers for Obama before.
Later the same day, the campaign turns to the West Coast with another reception, this one including a performance by world-renowned cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. The Santa Monica event will cost $10,000 per couple to co-chair, and $2,500 for general admission.
First lady Michelle Obama will then take the fundraising reins, heading to Wyoming for a Saturday luncheon in her husband’s honor. The title of “founding families,” which comes at a price of $35,800 per family, includes a reception, photo opportunity and the luncheon. Co-hosts are asked to pay $20,000 for a greet, photo opportunity and the luncheon. For just the photo opportunity and the luncheon, $2,500 is required. A luncheon attendee (or sponsor) gets in with a mere $100.
The Romney campaign will be doing a little touring of its own this week. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will be in West Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday for a fundraising dinner. Two big name state Republicans, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Gov. Terry Branstad, are expected to attend. The event starts off at a price of $1,250 per head and photo opportunities cost $10,000. “Silver” hosts and “Gold” hosts are asked to contribute $10,000 or $25,000 respectively. Co-chairs have to dole out a whopping $75,000.
On Wednesday, Romney will hand over fundraising duties to his brother, Scott Romney (who is also his senior campaign advisor) and Matt Hoffmann, (his senior healthcare policy advisor). Both men will be present at an early morning “small business and healthcare policy roundtable” in Wisconsin. The title of event chair carries a price tag of $5,000. Hosts have the option of either contributing $2,500 or bundling $10,000 for the Romney campaign. Those who wish to skip the private meeting can attend the breakfast roundtable for $1,000.
“Pro-choice,” pro-fundraising: Two abortion rights organizations, the NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado PAC and the Voices for Choice are holding a brunch in Denver on Sunday. Ticket prices are $100 for hosts and $50 for guests. Donations will be evenly split between both groups.
Other interesting events and getaways: Those who wish to vacation with Congress can get a bright and early start. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., will be the honoree at his Great Lakes golf outing, which takes place from Sunday to Tuesday. Attendees will be visiting multiple clubs across Michigan. Hosts pay $5,000 (includes 2 golfers), while participants pay $2,500.
Other options include Sen. John Barrasso’s “summer Teton tee-off and wine and art escape.” The Monday event benefits the Wyoming Republican’s leadership PAC, Common Values. Party Time doesn’t know the ask for this event, but if you do, please tell the class..
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., will also be making the best of summer in the Tetons, holding his “annual day in the Tetons” event on Thursday. This event also to benefit his own leadership PAC, Making Business Excel. The ask is $2,500.
Golfers have another chance to tee off while supporting Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. The lawmaker will be having his 3rd annual golf weekend in Park City, Utah from Friday to Saturday. The first package which costs $3,000 per PAC and $1,500 per individual includes golf for both Friday and Saturday, while the second package ($2,000 PAC or $1,000 individual) includes only Saturday golf.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, will be the special guest at a Thursday reception honoring Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill. Tickets range from $2,500 to $75.
One of Romney’s potential veep pics (and leading Republican party boy), Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. will be headlining a Montana fundraiser for ex-Rep. Rick Hill, who is a Republican candidate for governor this year. This event costs between $150 (for individual tickets) to $1,000 (for a couple photo and 2 reception tickets).Tweet
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.Tweet
Over the next few days, quite a few members of Congress are using getaways and sports events to stock their re-election accounts.
Two members have booked suites at basketball arenas and two others have planned ski outings. One senator, Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, will be fundraising at the Lady Gaga concert in D.C. tonight, according to the invitation.
Freshman congressman Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., has invited donors to a suite at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for a college basketball game between Villanova and St. Johns on Saturday.
A seat with the former National Hockey League referee costs much more than it would normally. A mid-level suite at the arena can be had for between $3,000 and $3,750, depending on how many people squeeze in. The freshman congressman is requesting that each PAC contributes $1,500 for a spot, while each individual can get in for $750, according to the invitation.
Philadelphia area donors contributed more than $1.5 million, about half of his total fundraising, to his campaign last election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Rep. Jesse Jackson, R-Ill., will also be holding a basketball fundraiser — watching his hometown Chicago Bulls play the Wizards at the Verizon Center on Monday, according to the invitation. Jackson is charging $1,500 for a ticket.
Meanwhile, congressman Ron Kind, D-Wis., will be joined by donors for a ski and spa retreat in Park City, Utah, according to the invitation, which highlights his position on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and as a leader of the Democrats’ Blue Dog Coalition. The donation ($2,500 for individuals, $5,000 for PACs) goes towards Kind’s leadership PAC.
Jackson Hole, Wyo., a popular ski retreat, also appears to be the site of a congressional fundraiser this weekend, with the fourth annual “Winter Snow Fling” for Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. PACs can become “primary ski pass” sponsors for $5,000, according to the invitation.Tweet
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, write-in-Alaska, is still the top Republican on the Senate Energy committee even as she runs to retain her seat after losing the G.O.P. primary to Tea Party-powered rival Joe Miller, but lobbyists for interests regulated by her committee are raising money for a senator in the running to be her successor.
Next week, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., – is set to hold a fundraiser, though he’s not up for re-election in 2010. On the invitation to Barrasso’s event, at least three energy industry lobbyists are listed as hosts. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who with Barrasso are the next-ranking Republicans on the Energy Committee, is also holding an event, headlined by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Burr faces voters this November.
Burr and Barrasso, like the woman they might succeed, have benefited from campaign contributions from industries they oversee. As the ranking member, Murkowski has amassed over $800,000 in campaign donations from the energy and natural resources sector, trumping all other sectors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Burr and Barrasso have received a few hundred thousand dollars less, and both have received more support from other sectors.
Both senators have a major energy company in their home states – Alpha Natural Resources (which merged with Foundation Coal) in Barrasso’s Wyoming and Duke Energy in Burr’s North Carolina — that are among their biggest campaign contributors, according to CRP.
Burr’s $2,000-per-PAC fundraiser is at the Capitol Hill eatery Johnny’s Half Shell while Barrasso is holding his annual Italian buffet event, asking donors for between $250 and $2,500, at UPS’s Hill townhouse. Two coal industry lobbyists are listed as hosts on the invitation, including one that has lobbied on clean coal issues that Barrasso has promoted in the Senate. David DiStefano lobbied this year for Baard Energy on “energy legislation related to coal-to-liquid fuels,” according to his lobbyist disclosure form. The company is developing a coal liquefaction plant in Ohio. The other industry lobbyist is Mark Valente of North American Coal.
Barrasso has been a supporter of clean coal technology, writing a letter criticizing a White House official for questioning the technology’s viability. He was also a co-sponsor of the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007.
Alpha Natural Resources – which merged with Foundation Coal, Barrasso’s second largest campaign donor – has lobbied for a federal loan program for “qualifying coal-to-liquids” facilities as well as “all provisions providing incentives for investment in carbon capture and sequestration.” The company operates mines in Wyoming. Barrasso has introduced a bill to authorize the Secretary of Energy to give financial rewards for carbon capture technology.
Greg Pensabene, another host for Barrasso’s Italian buffet, lobbies for Anadarko Petroleum, part owner of the well drilled by the infamous Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which exploded causing a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Barrasso has criticized Senate Democrats for removing the oil spill liability cap entirely; he said doing so would create a monopoly for the biggest oil companies. On the Senate floor he disagreed with the “overly broad drilling moratorium that’s been imposed by the Obama Administration.”
He added that the oil spill commission was “stacked with people who philosophically oppose offshore exploration.”
Barrasso has tried to establish a separate, bipartisan commission by introducing an amendment to the energy committee’s Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2010. Pensabene reported lobbying on that bill.
If Burr is offered the energy panel ranking position, he would have to step down as ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, something he told The Hill he would “seriously consider.”
Republicans elected not to remove Murkowski from top energy post since they expect her to lose in November, CNN reported. However, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did push Murkowski to relinquish her spot as vice-chair of the Senate Republican Conference after she decided to run a write-in campaign.Tweet
Staffers and lobbyists have mixed at least three fundraisers this month – most recently a fundraiser for Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., where the purpose of the fundraiser was to introduce Dan Kunsman, the senator’s new chief of staff.
According to a Roll Call article, [subscription required] at least one lobbyist present at Kunsman’s debut felt the event crossed the line between legislating and fundraising.
“It was definitely a unique approach, and not one I would want repeated,” said a GOP lobbyist at the lunch to Roll Call. “It was uncomfortably close to the explicit staff access/money line.”
There have been at least two other fundraisers this month where staffers and lobbyists have crossed paths. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee held its annual staffer-lobbyist dinner at Hotel Monoco. In the past, the event has raised almost $250,000. The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee also planned a June 23 fundraiser with two dozen Senate chiefs of staff, who were given top billing on the invitation, Roll Call reported.
The 2003 Senate Ethics Manual states that it’s not improper for a Senate employee to engage in campaign activity on his or her own time, so long as such activity complies with the Senate Rule that prohibits fundraising by most Senate employees for federal campaigns.
The 2008 House Ethics Manual states that staff is allowed to do campaign work as long as it’s done on their own time and their bosses don’t compel them to do it.
What constitutes an employee’s own time? According to the House manual, it is: “…determined by the personnel policies that are in place in the employing office. Time that is available to a staff member, under those policies, to engage in personal or other outside activities may instead be used to do campaign work, if the individual so chooses. This free time may include, for example, a lunch period, time after the end of the business day, and annual leave.”
Another interesting bit from the House manual: “A Member may not adjust the work requirements of the congressional office, or add unpaid interns during the campaign, in order to create more “free time” for staff to do campaign work.”
According to both manuals, however, a staffer can work part-time in Congress for a period in order to dedicate time to a campaign, with the corresponding reduction in pay.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)
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.