Party people, Congress is returning to D.C., so, obviously, the best way to celebrate is with a fundraiser … or two … or three. Our social calendar blows up this week with 28 parties as politicians come back to Capitol Hill after their weeklong recess. Ready them checkbooks!
This week also ushers in installments of two recurring fundraisers for Republican congressmen. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., has his first of nine breakfast funders on Thursday morning at the Capitol Hill Club. If you throw down $5,000, you get two seats at each of the monthly breakfasts, cleverly titled the Dr. Phil Breakfast Club. And Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., has his second standing lunch date with supporters on Tuesday. Each one-hour lunch at Bullfeathers will put you back $500, or $1,000 to $2,500 for PACs.
Welcome back, Mitt!
Since taking a break after his 2012 loss to President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney has mostly stayed out of the political limelight, heading to Disneyland with the family and working on a remodel of his La Jolla home. But in the last month or so, Romney has been popping up in the news – penning an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, weighing in on the proposed Arizona legislation that would allow businesses to deny service to gays based on religious beliefs – and on the party circuit.
After taking off about a year from fundraising, Romney is officially back in action. Last month, he headlined an event for the Republican Governors Association at the Lenox Hotel in Boston with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and this week, he’ll attend three more funders.
On Monday, Romney and Florida Gov. Rick Scott will hit up donors for the RGA during a pricey evening reception (as in, $25,000 to $50,000 per couple). Constance and Mike Fernandez, who chairs private equity firm MBF Healthcare Partners, will host the event at their Coral Gables home. Coincidentally, MBF Healthcare Partners went in big for Romney in 2012, tossing $500,000 to Restore our Future, the super PAC set up to support the Republican nominee.
The next day, he jets up to the Big Apple to headline back-to-back fundraisers for Ed Gillespie, RNC-chairman-turned-American-Crossroads-founder-turned-Virginia-Senate-candidate. Gillespie, who worked on Romney’s campaign in ’12, is mounting a challenge to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in November, and a new poll shows the race is getting tighter.
The Romney-headlined parties for Gillespie get started with a $1,000-per-person reception at the swanky Essex House. Then it’s off to a $5,200-per-plate dinner at the home of billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, founder and CEO of asset management firm Blackstone.
Thom Tillis gets some D.C. love
The Senate race in North Carolina gets hotter and hotter by the day. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s poll numbers keep dropping and the Cook Political Report just shifted the race from “leans Democrat” to “tossup.” She’s cruising above the fray of a primary fight, but the Republican contenders who want her seat are making a lot of noise and gaining traction among their party’s better-known personalities.
Monday evening, a fistful of GOP senators gathers at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s D.C. headquarters for a reception for Thom Tillis, the current speaker in North Carolina’s House of Representatives and one of Hagan’s top challengers. Tickets start at $500 for individuals and go up to $2,500 for PACs. It isn’t the first time Tillis has thrown a D.C. event with GOP heavyweights, either; in December, he partied with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
But it isn’t smooth sailing until the state’s Republican primary in May. In a familiar storyline, establishment-backed Tillis will face off against Greg Brannon, who has picked up endorsements from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and FreedomWorks head Matt Kibbe (the latter two even partied with Brannon during CPAC weekend). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Hukabee is weighing in on the race, too. He attended a fundraiser for another Republican candidate, Mark Harris, a Baptist minister and founder of a group that successfully advocated for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Money for Mooney
Alex Mooney has been collecting top-tier conservative endorsements during his run for West Virginia’s second district House seat. The likes of Ann Coulter, Gun Owners of America, Family Research Council and the Tea Party Express are throwing their support behind Mooney’s candidacy. And his opinion piece from a few weeks ago, blasting the Environmental Protection Agency and “President Obama’s anti-coal policies,” should only further endear him to conservative voters.
On Tuesday evening, Mooney fundraises with fellow Republicans at D.C.’s Capitol Hill Club. Among others, the invite lists as hosts National Right to Work and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who just called the Koch brothers “two of the most patriotic Americans” during a town hall meeting. Maryland Rep. Andy Harris and Georgia Rep. (and Senate candidate) Paul Broun – who recently had a BYO gun target practice fundraiser and an AR-15 giveaway, respectively – are slated to attend.
Grimes goes for green
Democrats of all stripes keep coming out of the woodwork for Alison Lundergan Grimes in her bid to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Mega Dem donor and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, former President Bill Clinton and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet have all done fundraisers for her so far this year, demonstrating her party connections and Democrats’ confidence that Grimes just might win the race.
On Wednesday, two prominent and well-connected gay political activists, Karen K. Dixon and Nan Schaffer, will host Grimes at their D.C. digs for a fundraising dinner. The couple are well-known LGBT activists in their hometown of Chicago, where Schaffer started a gay news outlet in the ’80s. And their Kalorama home was the site of that DNC fundraiser last June, where a gay rights protester interrupted First Lady Michelle Obama during her speech.
Joe Garcia’s fundraising frenzy
Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., is a one-man partying machine this week. He’s heading to three D.C. funders in as many days, an impressive schedule even for some of PT’s most experienced party animals.
Garcia is one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” members, a designation that means more money and resources will go to those races. On Monday, he joins three other “Frontline” members and Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen for lunch on Capitol Hill. Then, on Tuesday, Garcia meets up with two different “Frontline” members and California Rep. Adam Schiff for breakfast at the DNC’s Wasserman Room.
On Wednesday, Garcia is throwing his own fundraiser, his second annual Cuban Style Taste of Miami. We’re not sure how festive a Capitol Hill row house can get on a Wednesday evening, but we can only assume it’ll be a raucous and celebratory evening, considering it caps off a full week of hobnobbing.
Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., knows how to take a staid political fundraiser to the next level. He’s known around Party Time as a politician who favors hot dog receptions, Chicago-style pizza, ice cream socials and baseball games to traditional luncheons private dinners. And this week is no different.
On Tuesday – right at happy hour, we might add – the National Beer Wholesalers Association PAC is throwing a reception for Quigley at the Oracle Townhouse on D Street. Tickets to get in will set you back $1,000 to $2,500, so drink up.
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That’s certainly on Congress’s mind this week, even if it’s just a distraction from yet another looming budget battle. In fact, the Republican leader of the budget negotiations, Rep. Paul Ryan, will start out the week shaking the (palm) trees for cash in the Sunshine State. According to St. Petersblog, Ryan will breakfast Monday in the Orlando area with Republican supporters and members of Congress at the home of Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. The same day, Ryan is also slated to headline a $500-per-person fundraiser for Rep. Steve Southerland in Panama City, Fla.
Fundraising swing with Carl
The week of Thanksgiving, we pointed out how the partier-in-chief, a.k.a. President Barack Obama, was going on a fundraising tear along the West Coast, headlining seven parties in three days in Seattle and California. Party Time is similarly impressed with Carl DeMaio’s upcoming cross-country fundraising spree. (Hey, it’s hard work and somebody’s got to do it.)
DeMaio, a gay fiscal conservative whose campaign materials tout him as a “new generation Republican,” served on the San Diego City Council for one term before losing to former Rep. Bob Filner in the 2012 mayor’s race (and we all know how that turned out). But DeMaio isn’t interested in jumping into the special election to replace the scandal-plagued Filner; instead, DeMaio is looking to oust Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in 2014.
The San Diego race will be one to watch, and DeMaio is viewed as a potential star within the GOP. But last week, Politico reported a dustup within the party about whether or not the National Republican Congressional Committee should throw its support – and dollars – behind gay candidates.
But that’s not stopping DeMaio from hitting up the fundraising circuit: PT counts 25 scheduled fundraisers for DeMaio from June 2013 to next February, including this week’s tour. After hosting a champagne brunch at his San Diego home over the weekend, DeMaio hops over to Dallas for an evening reception on Monday. Then it’s off to New York City on Tuesday for a Log Cabin Republican event with fellow gay GOP candidate Richard Tisei, who is running to unseat Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass. And on Wednesday, DeMaio hits up D.C. donors with an evening reception.
Busy morning at Hotel George
The Hotel George is a popular fundraising spot – it’s swanky, it’s within spitting distance of the Capitol, and it’s getting a makeover. Come Wednesday morning, it’s the site of two separate breakfast fundraisers for Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Ill., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.
Enyart recently made it official that he’d be running for reelection in 2014, but our Party Time data and Real-Time filings indicate he never really stopped raising campaign cash since arriving on the Hill earlier this year. On Wednesday, he’ll benefit from the fundraising pull of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, who is the “special guest” at the $1,000-plus breakfast.
That’s also the price tag for Speier’s funder, happening at the same time and at the same place. We suggest checking out what the Northern California native orders at her Winter Wonderland Breakfast Reception – in September, she brought a cooked steak, a bottle of vodka and a can of caviar to the House floor during a speech about food stamps and congressional food and travel expenses. Know what’s on the menu Wednesday, or any other good details? Share here.
Meeting up with Mitch
On Monday night, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell is slated to attend an evening reception at the Bethesda home of Bruce and Leslie Lane. The event is billed as a “Washington Area Pro-Israel Reception” and lists 15 new-to-PT hosts.
The Kentucky Republican is fending off tea party challenger Matt Bevin in the primary as well as looking ahead to the general election, most likely against the well-funded Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Bluegrass and big bucks
Tickets start at $50 for the fundraiser benefiting the Virginia Democrat’s 2014 reelection campaign. Although Warner remains popular and isn’t facing numerous challengers, he’s still shoring up support. Ken Cuccinelli, who recently lost the Virginia governor’s race to Terry McAuliffe, told the Washington Post it would be “tempting” to run against Warner next year. Expect plenty more barbecue if that comes to fruition.
Holiday happenings with Allen West
Florida’s fiery conservative Allen West may not be running for office, but he’s not far from the fundraising game. On Friday night at St. Jude Catholic Church in Boca Raton, the former GOP congressman headlines a holiday party, complete with a buffet dinner and holiday music. Proceeds from the $75-per-person event (or $1,000 to sit at West’s table) go to his namesake foundation. (And if this video is any indication, you are in for a rollicking good time.)
West’s leadership PAC, which works to elect more conservatives “in the same vein as Allen West,” also continues to rake in the dough, bringing in more than $1.3 million during the first half of this year. The PAC recently backed four candidates for the 2014 races, and 10 more endorsements are expected.
Florida football fun
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., is betting a sports fan or two will plunk down some serious cash for a weekend-long retreat to watch the Dolphins-Patriots game with him. This isn’t the first time Deutch has spiced up a fundraising event; although he’s had his fair share of receptions and luncheons, he also hit up a Heat-Wizards game a few years ago and a Pink concert at the Verizon Center last spring.
What else is happening out there, partiers? Keep us posted.
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What better way to celebrate a member of Congress than with a lil’ pigskin? The District’s chilly days and fast-changing leaves signal the coming of pumpkin spice lattes, football and of course congressional funders.
We must have ESP(N). Just this past Monday we here at Sunlight were discussing professional football’s popularity among our members of Congress, when lo and behold, what’s made its way over our transom: another NFL fundraising invite!
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., aims to catch some campaign cash this Sunday, as the Washington Redskins take on the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. As the ‘Skins try to steal their first win of the season, Brad Cheney and Bill Killmer (Note: this is not the similarly-named former Washington QB) of the Mortgage Bankers Association will be on hand. This may or may not have something to do with Warner’s place on the Senate Committee on Banking.
While Warner, a George Washington University grad, may have rooted for the boys in burgundy and gold for years, a survey of FedEx Field fundraisers show that local NFL games are a fundraising fixture for lawmakers from across the nation.
But the cash-chasing opportunities of the most lucrative professional sport in the world aren’t just limited to live games. In the past, prospective members have charged donors thousands just for the pleasure of watching a televised NFL game at the local wing joint and young Democrats enjoyed a lovely afternoon of financial football at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
When it comes to the political fundraising scene, the NFL is no benchwarmer. It’s not just the formidable campaign and K Street clout of the NFL; PT archives show that members of Congress aren’t immune from football frenzy.
In June, the gridiron gang played host to two fundraisers for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who serves on the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. The NFL is has huge workplace issues, as illustrated by the class-action suit it recently lost from former players affected by head injuries.
Been to a football funder we don’t know about? Got an invitation. As always, make sure to send ‘em this way
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After all, DeMint has thrown over 60 events since 2009, packing the PT database with fundraisers like it was a stuffed stocking. He even scheduled a $2,000 lunch at Congressional favorite Charlie Palmer’s on Dec. 13, but John Graham of the fundraising firm the Gula Graham Group notified PT that it had been canceled. The Tea Party hero (and partying powerhouse) will be shifting gears to become president of the Heritage Foundation. It’s located right on Capitol Hill, so DeMint won’t be straying too far. Maybe he’ll amp up the conservative think tank’s party profile. PT can find only one measly invite for a Heritage-sponsored party in our files and it wasn’t even in D.C.
Meanwhile, who will replace this party animal? Rumblings of fellow Palmetto Stater Stephen Colbert have arisen, who proved an intimidating fundraiser – his super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow raised over $1 million. But S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has already quashed that idea – all because Colbert didn’t know the state drink was milk.
There are still plenty of parties going on, and we’ve got the low-down. Check the invites below:
The Blue Plate Special
The DSCC is bringing in the big guns for their Majority Trust Dinner on Dec. 12, located at the swanky St. Regis Hotel just blocks away from the White House. In attendance will be the top members of the Democrats’ Senate leadership team: Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. This core of blue heavy hitters costs a pretty penny to dine with – guests have to cough up $30,800 – the maximum an individual is allowed to donate to a national party committee, and there are no cheaper seats.
More Campaign Kick-Offs for 2014
While 2014 may be more than a year off, more and more politicians are nonetheless preparing for the next election season. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Col0., is hosting his self-explanatory “Reception to Kick Off his 2014 Reelection” on Dec. 10. It takes place on the Cava Mezze rooftop, which could get a tad chilly this time of year… To join the senator, guests will need to fork over anywhere from $5,000 to $1,000.
Another politician getting a head start on the 2014 election is Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. The NRSC HQ will be the site of his “Kick Off Breakfast” on Dec. 13, a mere eight days after his dinner at Ruth’s Chris. And that event was a mere 11 days after his Quarterly Max Out Reception – it seems like his fundraising campaign has already kicked off, no? To attend Chambliss’ third event since the Election Day, it’ll run you as much as $2,500.
The Return of the Koch
It was a tough election for the Koch brothers, billionaire businessmen Charles and David. Their 501 c(4), Americans for Prosperity, spent over $33 million to oppose the reelection of Barack Obama. After doing the math, that’s a return on investment of about, say, 0%.
But the brothers are back! They are helping kick off another campaign for the 2014 season, and this time it’s Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Koch Industries is hosting a “Campaign Kick-Off Reception” at the NRSC, an event costing between $5,000 and $500 dollars. Cornyn serves on the Finance subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure – what will Charles and David expect in return for this party? If nothing else, at least Cornyn is a bit of a safer bet for the brothers, winning his last election 55% to 43%.
Looking into the week after, PT spots its first event for McConnell Victory Kentucky, a joint fundraising committee set up with McConnell’s campaign fund and the Kentucky GOP. The Dec. 18 fundraising dinner is also hosted by Koch Industries, and will cost guests $1,000 and PACs $2,500. It seems as though their 2012 return on investment (or lack thereof) hasn’t deterred the Brothers Koch, and they are setting their sights on 2014.
Bobbing for Lobbyists
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is trying to escape the cold weather of D.C. and get back to the blissful days of summer with his “Bluegrass and BBQ” fundraiser, taking place at the downtown Hill Country BBQ restaurant. It will run guests up to $1,000, and it looks like the party will be packed – packed with lobbyists, that is. Take a look at some of the sponsors and hosts:
Do you see a pattern yet? These are all people representing special interests that have helped out Warner, who’s up for reelecton in 2014. And these are just three from a list of dozens – who else listed on the invite could be expecting things from Warner?
Food for thought with your eggnog . . .
Until next time, Partiers!
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Tweet
The Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is mixing politics with technology this week, putting on a fundraising conference featuring top executives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other Silicon Valley companies on Thursday. Many of these executives have already contributed handsomely to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
On Friday morning in Menlo Park, Calif., the execs will be on on a panel explaining to Democrats where innovative jobs are being created, according to the event invitation. Hours later, the Democrats will be giving the tech-focused crowd an update on the 2012 Senatorial elections over lunch.
The DSCC sent out an updated invitation yesterday highlighting “recently confirmed panelists,” including Elliot Schrage, the VP of Global Communications, Marketing and Public Policy at Facebook, Dan’l Lewin, a corporate VP at Microsoft, and David Drummond, senior VP at Google.
Another panelist is venture capitalist John Doerr of KPCB, who was appointed by President Obama to be on his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Executives from LegalZoom, ShopKick, Bloom Energy, Yelp and Symantec will also be speaking.
Many of these executives have also been big supporters of the DSCC. Doerr gave $40,400 to the committee in 2009 and 2010. John W. Thompson, Symantec’s board chairman, gave $30,400 in 2010, the maximum annual donation that year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Drummond sent $10,000 to the committee in 2009. Schrage and K.R. Sridhar, of Bloom Energy, a fuel-cell company, have contributed in smaller amounts.
President Obama also tapped Silicon Valley for cash recently, holding a $35,800-per-couple fundraiser there in late September.
The conference kicks off on Thursday, where the night seems to be more about mingling than the “innovation ecosystem.” A reception and dinner will feature eight senators, including special deficit panel committee co-chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., Democratic caucus vice chair Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mark Warner, D-Va., who is a former venture capitalist himself and has held tech-focused events before (like this fundraiser with Google’s former CEO and this meetup in Chicago). The special guest speaker that night is liberal economist and former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich.
The senators may be listening for clues to how they can use social media and mobile applications for their own campaigns, as two other panels are titled “How Social Media Has Empowered Movements and Change” and “The Application Revolution/Mobile Internet.”
12 conference tickets cost $30,800, the maximum annual contribution to party committees for the 2012 election, yet one ticket is a mere $1,000. Political Action Committees can give $5,000 or $15,000 for two tickets.
Contributions to Democratic congressional candidates from the tech community have waned compared to Republicans, although some of that decrease can likely be explained by the fact that there are far more Republicans in office now than in 2010. So far this year, Republican candidates have received about $1.1 million from the computer and Internet sectors, compared to about $800,000 to Democrats. However, in 2010, donations to Democrats trounced Republicans by over 60 percent, according to data tabulated by CRP.
The same is true for money from the venture capital sector. Donations are evenly spread between liberals and conservatives this year while Democrats raised more than double the funds that Republicans did in 2010, according to CRP.
Yet, the DSCC appears to be in slightly better shape than Democratic candidates. The party committee has taken in about $380,000 from the computer and Internet sectors this year, compared to $255,000 given to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Last year, the DSCC received $1.7 million from the sector, compared to $1.1 for the NRSC.Tweet
The TV show “Top Chef D.C.” may be over, but Mark Warner, D-Va., is bringing it back for one night.
In an episode of the Bravo hit show earlier this year, the contestants cooked a “power lunch” at the elite steakhouse The Palm for the senator, MSNBC “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and former Bill Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, among others.
Warner is now turning that cameo into a moneymaker, putting on a fundraising dinner tomorrow night at The Palm for his leadership PAC, Forward Together PAC. What’s on the menu? The winning dish from Top Chef, according to the invitation.
Does that mean the overall winning dish, or merely the one from the “power lunch” episode? The latter was applewood smoked salmon over pea puree prepared by Hollywood chef Alex Reznik. The season’s winning four-course meal included a pan-seared rouget (a fish) with cuttlefish noodles, braised pork belly and squid ink. Chef Kevin Sbraga’s dessert was a twist on the classic cocktail the Singapore Sling served with coconut panna cotta.
One wonders whether the meal’s chef will also be on hand. Donors are being asked to shell out $1,000, to be a “friend,” $2,500 to be a “sponsor,” or $5,000 to be a “co-chair.”
Virginia’s junior senator, who is not up re-election until 2014, is reportedly a top candidate to replace Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., as the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, though he has said he does not want the job. Warner flirted with running for president back in 2006, visiting key states and raising more than $10 million for his leadership PAC before deciding against it.Tweet
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) will be fundraising at an “evening of discussion” tonight at the Hotel Monaco headlined by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, according to reports in both The Hill and the National Journal. (See the invitation here.) Other featured speakers will be Norman Augustine, former chairman of Lockheed Martin, and Martin Neil Baily, a senior economics fellow at the Brookings Institution.
The topic is “The Road to the Future: A Strategy of Growth and Competitiveness,” and the cost to attend is anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Warner, who is not up for reelection until 2014, is collecting the money for a joint fundraising that benefits both his campaign committee, Friends of Mark Warner, and his leadership PAC, Forward Together. Lockheed Martin ranks third among his top lifetime donors. (Linked to wrong Sen. Warner; however, Schmidt gave $2,300 to Sen. Mark Warner in October 2008.)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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