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
Photo credit: Wikimedia CommonsTweet
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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