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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 • POSTED - 02.27.12 BY Breanna Edwards

This Week’s Fundraisers: From a DC dive to Palm Beach

The nation’s lawmakers have come back from their Presidents’ Day break refreshed and raring to go. The party scene is buzzing once again: Sunlight has more than 20 events in its database. Some of the highlights:

Celebrating Black History: Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., on Sunday evening hosted the second annual  “Standing on the Shoulder of Giants,” program, a tribute to the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus and the 100 Black Men of New Jersey, Inc. and The National Coalition of 100 Black Women (both the Bergen/Passaic and Southern New Jersey chapters). The event took place at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J.

Diving for cash at a DC dive: Some candidates have been having fancy (and expensive) soirées at high-end restaurants but Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., is bucking the trend. Inslee, who is running for governor of his home state, holds an event at 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Big Hunt, a grungy, safari-themed DuPont Circle drinking hole. Attendees are promised a chance to rub shoulders with the congressman and other Washington state Democrats: Sen. Patty Murray and Reps. Adam Smith and Jim McDermott,  as well as Smith’s chief of staff, Shana Chandler. Tickets to this event range from $1,000 for sponsors to $20 for students who pay online.

Presidential Partying: President Obama will be attending an event to help his Obama Victory Fund campaign on March 1. The Gala Reception, hosted by big names such as American business magnate, Russell Simmons, and famed alternative medicine guru Deepak Chopra, will be held in New York City. Ticket prices range from $35,800 to $1,000.

The Getaways: For those tired of the district’s bipolar weather and looking for a more active weekend, Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., will be having his 20th annual All Sports Weekend, from March 2 – 3. Tickets are $2,500 per person and include meals and all activities — golf, Grapefruit League baseball and an NBA game.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will be hosting a Winter Retreat from March 2-4 in Palm Beach, Fla. Sens. Max Baucus (Montana), Bernie Sanders (Vermont), Debbie Stabenow (Michigan), Patty Murray (Washington) and Chris Coons (Delaware) are slated to attend.

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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Super Congress Fundraisers • POSTED - 09.13.11 BY Keenan Steiner

Super Committee members nixing some events—but not all

Another lawmaker on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., has put off a fundraiser until after the panel finishes its work.

But a spokesperson for the congressman would not answer whether he has nixed all such events through Thanksgiving, when the committee will finish its work. And no member of the committee—except Senator John Kerry, D-Mass.—has said he would cancel all of them. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, indicated he would cut back on his events and Max Baucus, D-Mont., canceled one of his.

Dave Camp at Republican Leadership Press Conference

Camp’s fundraiser, originally planned for Aug. 4 and to be hosted by former Senate Majority Leader-turned lobbyist Trent Lott, among others at the lobbying firm Patton Boggs, has not been rescheduled. And it will not take place until after the so-called super committee comes to a close, according to Camp’s spokesperson Megan Piwowar.

The event will likely be held in December, according to Camp’s fundraising consultant, Elaine Svigos.

Party Time asked Piwowar, over email, if the Michigan lawmaker would continue to hold fundraisers while the committee was working. Her response was:

“Since being named to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Congressman Camp has not and will not schedule new fundraising events.”

But what about events that were already scheduled before his appointment to the committee on Aug. 10? After all, many fundraisers are booked months in advance, and fundraising consultants take advantage of the summer recess to book events for the fall. Camp had also planned a fundraiser on Sept. 7, the night before the super committee’s first organizational meeting, and there is no indication that it was postponed—only that it had been on the calendar before his appointment.

Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer last week, did not commit to canceling all of his events either. He told the paper, “Members aren’t going to have the time to be involved in (as many) events that they would have been. Personally, I’ve canceled a bunch of events.”

But that does not appear to include an event happening tonight, hours after the committee finishes its first hearing, Portman is the main draw to a fundraiser benefiting the campaign of Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio. And he still plans to be there, according to the event’s organizer.

“The latest I’ve heard, yes,” Chabot’s fundraising consultant Mackenzie Smith said this morning. Portman’s press secretary was not immediately available to confirm this.

Portman is among the nine lawmakers on the 12-member committee who are known to be holding or hosting events since being appointed to the committee.

*note: This post has been updated to reflect that John Kerry had announced he would not raise money while the committee meets.

Super Congress Fundraisers • POSTED - 08.30.11 BY Keenan Steiner

More Fundraisers for Super Committee members

Update, Sept. 1: Committee member Rob Portman is also hosting a fundraiser, which has been added to the list below. That list will be updated as more invitations are received.

During the week of Sept. 12, the week of the deadline for the Joint Committee on Debt Reduction to hold its first meeting, one of the panel members, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., has planned fundraisers on four consecutive days, according to newly-revealed invitations.

Clyburn at town hallThose events are just a few among the many (see list below and our page of all super committee fundraisers) being held or hosted by the members of the powerful committee as they decide how to slash at least $1.2 million from the nation’s deficit—work they have already begun.

As the lawmakers deliberate, they will also be accepting campaign checks as usual. Meanwhile, lobbyists who will be prodding them on issues from tax reform to Medicare will be attending their D.C. fundraisers.

As for Clyburn, there are a total of nine fundraisers on his schedule this fall, including the first one—a “Healthcare Breakfast” at the Caucus Room on Sept. 13. Pharmaceutical companies and doctors’ and hospitals’ groups will no doubt be interested in attending, as cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are expected to be considered by the panel.

On Sept. 14, another super committee member, Senate Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is a special guest at a moneymaker for Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc,—at the Caucus Room again—for those willing to donate between $500 and $2,000.

On the following Monday, committee member Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is planning to leave the capital for Boston, where he is headlining a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee—though few details about the event are known.

On Oct. 5, high rollers will have the chance to schmooze with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the headliner for a dinner benefiting his colleague, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Penn. PACs are asked to chip in $2,500 or $5,00o for that affair.

Other than these newly-disclosed events there are at least six others previously reported by Party Time and other media outlets since the committee members were announced. Below is a current calendar of events involving panel members. Note that if the lawmaker is hosting the event—if it’s not for his own campaign—the beneficiary committee is listed.

Aug. 31 — Xavier Becerra — Evening Event

Sept. 7 — Xavier Becerra’s Leadership PAC — Baseball Game

Sept. 7 — Dave Camp — Reception

Sept. 13 — Jim Clyburn –”Healthcare Breakfast

Sept. 13 — Patty Murray hosting — DSCC — Annual Fall Reception

Sept. 13 — Rob Portman hosting — Rep. Steve Chabot — Reception

Sept. 13 — Jon Kyl hosting — Sen. Roger Wicker — Reception

Sept. 14 — Clyburn’s Leadership PAC — Breakfast

Sept. 14 — Jon Kyl hosting — Sen. Ron Johnson — Dinner — POSTPONED

Sept. 15 — Clyburn hosting — Rep. Gabbie Giffords — Breakfast

Sept. 15 — Van Hollen hosting — Rep. Tim Ryan — Lunch

Sept. 15  – Jim Clyburn – Dinner

Sept. 16 — Jim Clyburn – Breakfast

Sept. 18 — Chris Van Hollen’s joint fundraising committee — Evening event

Sept. 19 — John Kerry hosting — DSCC — Breakfast

Sept. 19 — Fred Upton hosting — Pete Hoekstra — Lunch

Sept. 21 — Jon Kyl hosting — Heather Wilson –Reception

Sept. 21 — Becerra hosting — Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC — Reception

Sept. 22 — Pat Toomey’s Leadership PAC — Breakfast

Sept. 22 — Chris Van Hollen hosting — Reps. Tim Bishop and Kathy Hochul — Reception

Sept. 23 — Chris Van Hollen — Breakfast

Sept. 23 — Patty Murray hosting — DSCC — Reception

Sept. 26 — Clyburn hosting — Rep. Terri Sewell — Golf and Dinner

Oct. 4 — Jeb Hensarling hosting — Rep. Kay Granger — Texas Barbecue

Oct. 5 — Chris Van Hollen hosting — Rep. Allyson Schwartz — Dinner Reception

Oct. 5 — Jeb Hensarling — Event at Investment Co Institute (reported by Politico)

Oct. 6 — Becerra — A Taste of Los Angeles

Oct. 10 — Jim Clyburn – Reception

Oct. 13 — Jim Clyburn – Breakfast

Oct. 13 — Fred Upton hosting — Tuesday Group PAC — Reception

Oct. 16 — Max Baucus hosting — Sen. Jon Tester — Event at Oceana Restaurant in New York City (reported by Politico)

Oct. 20 — Pat Toomey — Breakfast at Bistro Bis (reported by Politico)

Oct. 20 — Jim Clyburn — Reception

Oct. 24 — Clyburn hosting — Emanuel Cleaver — Birthday and BBQ

Oct. 25 — Hensarling’s Leadership PAC — Reception and Dinner at Acadiana with Speaker Boehner (reported by Politico)

Oct. 25 — Clyburn hosting — DCCC — Speaker’s Cabinet National Issues Conference (reported by Politico)

Oct. 25 — Becerra hosting — Congressional Hispanic Caucus Bold PAC — Reception

Oct. 26 — Clyburn’s Leadership PAC – Breakfast

Oct. 27 — Patty Murray hosting — DSCC — National Innovation Conference

Oct. 27 — Clyburn hosting — DCCC — Reception

Nov. 1 — Kyl hosting — Sen. Ron Johnson — Breakfast

Nov. 3 — Clyburn hosting — Rep. John Yarmuth — Bourbon & BBQ Birthday Bash

Nov. 4 — Becerra hosting — Rep. Larry Kissell — Breakfast

Nov. 8 — Pat Toomey — Dinner at Charlie Palmer’s (reported by Politico)

Nov. 14 — Dave Camp hosting — Rep. Kenny Marchant — Dinner

Nov. 14 — Clyburn hosting — Steven Horsford — Reception

Nov. 15 — Van Hollen hosting — Rep. Lloyd Doggett — Breakfast

Nov. 15 — Jim Clyburn — Breakfast at Art & Soul

Nov. 15 — Xavier Becerra — Breakfast at National Democratic Club

Nov. 16 — Clyburn’s Leadership PAC – Breakfast

Nov. 16 — Clyburn hosting — Charles Rangel — Reception

Nov. 16 — Pat Toomey — 50th Birthday Party Reception (Reported by Politico)

Nov. 16 — Pat Toomey — Breakfast (Reported by National Journal)

Nov. 17 — Jon Kyl hosting — Sen. Orrin Hatch — Breakfast

Nov. 17 — Clyburn hosting — Suzanne Bonamici — Breakfast

correction: The original version of this post mistakenly said that a Sept. 14  fundraiser benefited Sen. Jon Kyl rather than Sen. Ron Johnson.

Update: The Oct. 4 fundraiser for Max Baucus has been canceled, Reuters reported.

Partytime • POSTED - 05.10.11 BY Patrick Simmons

Former Democratic operatives help Kaine raise cash

A month after announcing that he is running for Virginia’s open Senate seat, former head of the DNC Tim Kaine will be the beneficiary of a fundraiser hosted by some lobbyists with serious Democratic Party gravitas. The invitation to the event invites donors to a reception at 5:30 tonight at the offices of lobbying firm Cornerstone Government Affairs.

Seven lobbyists, including several who used to work for top Democrats, are listed as hosts to the event. Cornerstone’s own Paul Dinino, who was once deputy chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is featured on the invitation. Dinino also served as finance director for the Democratic National Committee under President Bill Clinton. Another former Reid aide hosting the event is Eddie Ayoob, who served as legislative council for the Nevada senator.

The invitation also lists Amy Tejral, former legislative director for Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Tracy Spicer, former deputy chief of staff to the late Ted Kennedy; and Jeff Forbes, former chief of staff to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and former staff director of the senate finance committee.

The requested contribution levels for the event range from $500 to $2,500.

health care • POSTED - 08.06.10 BY Nancy Watzman

Camp Baucus in Big Sky this weekend

This weekend is the annual “Camp Baucus” fundraiser for Sen. Max Baucus’, D-Mont., leadership PAC in Montana. “Camp Baucus is a trip for the entire family; Bring everyone to enjoy Big Sky,” reads the invitation, using similar wording from last year’s bash.

Last year, however, with the health care reform debate at a fevered pitch, Baucus skipped the “Camp Baucus” fundraiser to stay in Washington, his aide said at the time, to work on health care reform, for which he was a key player.

Baucus’ Glacier PAC has collected $720,000 this election cycle, with insurance, lobbyists, health professionals, and pharmaceuticals/health products all among his top five donating industries, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Among the contributions that flowed into the PAC in the days close to the event were $5,000 from Motorola’s PAC (7/27/09) and $5,000 from the American Staffing Association’s PAC (07/29/09); both organizations were registered to lobby on health care reform at the time. While there is no large cluster of contributions dated near the event last year in Glacier PAC’s campaign finance reports, it is difficult to trace donations related to a particular event, as there is no federal requirement that this be reported.

The senator’s office did not return a call for comment.

Partytime health care • POSTED - 09.16.09 BY josh

Health care lobbyists turn up the heat

Lobbyists who represent pharmaceutical manufacturers and other health care interests will be hosting at least five planned fundraising parties for members of Congress today.

Jocelyn Hong, of the 21st Century Group, will be hosting two events–a lunch for Rep. Mark Schuaer (D-MI) and an evening reception for Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ).  Hong represents both Sanofi-Aventis and Schering-Plough.

There are two breakfasts and one dinner scheduled to take place today as well.  Patton Boggs’ lobbyists Ben GinsbergEd NewberryDarryl Nirenberg and Kevin O’Neil will be hosting Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) while  Cesar Conda and Manus Cooney will be entertaining Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) over breakfast.

Finally, Jeff MacKinnon, who represents Avantis, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Merck, will be hosting a Cafe 8 Dinner for Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) at 6:30 pm.

In addition to today’s events, Steve Clark and Sam Geduldig (of Clark and Associates), who represent the likes of Ernst & Young and Barr Laboratories, held a dinner in Rep. Bill Posey’s (R-TX) honor last night at the Matchbox.

These six fundraisers–of the 16 total fundraisers featuring pharmaceutical lobbyist hosts we have in our database for the month of September, come on the heels of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s (PhRMA) rollout of a $150 million advertising campaign in support of the Baucus health care bill says Duff Wilson of the New York Times.

The drug industry’s trade group plans to roll out a series of television advertisements in coming weeks specifically to support Senator Max Baucus’s health care overhaul proposal, according to an industry official involved in the planning.

The move would be a follow-up to the deal that drug makers struck in June with Mr. Baucus [and the White House.]

President Obama has cited the deal with the group as signifying a new era of cooperation. But some critics say the advertising fund could be wielded against alternative approaches to health care legislation.

The industry’s support for the Baucus plan, critics argue, is a direct result of both Sen. Baucas’ and President Obama’s public support for an individual mandate. (See the text of President Obama’s speech and Senator Baucus’ “Framework for comprehensive health reform”)

A plan with an individual mandate and no public option is, as the Washington Examiner writes, the “Holy Grail” of reform for the health care lobby.

To see clients for lobbyists hosting events click on individuals’ names: Steve Clark, Ben Ginsberg, Ed Newberry, Darryl Nirenberg, Kevin O’Neil, Sam Geduldig, Cesar Conda, Manus Cooney, Jocelyn Hong, Jeff MacKinnon.

This post is first in a series on September fundraising efforts and the industries behind them.

Partytime • POSTED - 08.05.09 BY Nancy Watzman

Baucus skips his own fundraiser

Check out our own Paul Blumenthal’s post on the Sunlight Foundation’s blog about how Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) skipped his own fundraiser last weekend. Paul does a great job of showing how Baucus’ leadership PAC, the Glacier PAC, is like a magnet for health care industry contributions. He concludes:

While Sen. Baucus has promised not to accept any more contributions from health care PACs, he is still willing to accept contributions from their lobbyists and executives. It will be interesting to see who showed up at the senator’s big summer weekend getaway, even if the senator didn’t make it there himself.

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Partytime • POSTED - 07.06.09 BY Nancy Watzman

Health care lobbyists throw parties, too

Today’s Washington Post analysis on the massive lobbying forces deployed by industry groups on the health care debate features numerous prominent lobbyists who have close ties to key lawmakers (Sunlight’s Paul Blumenthal blogs about it here). At Party Time we can treat you to a glimpse at the social calendars of some mentioned in the story who are also active on the congressional fundraising circuit:

  • David Castagnetti, a former chief of staff for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), whose clients include PhRMA and America’s Health Insurance Plans;
  • Stephen Northrup, who worked for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), and now lobbies for Wellpoint, one of the world’s largest insurance conglomerates;

This was just a quick look based on the Post’s  story–we’ll be looking more at revolving door health care lobbyists who also party.

Uncategorized • POSTED - 06.19.09 BY josh

Enough Golf this weekend to Satisfy Ike

With half a dozen golfing fundraisers this weekend from Virginia to Montana, lawmakers must be hoping for good weather.

Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA), Glenn Nye (D-VA), and Tom Rooney (R-FL) will be hosting events involving golf in the Commonwealth of Virginia and they are asking for contributions ranging from $1,000 per individual to $5,000 per team of four. Nye’s event features “special guest” NFL hall of famer Bruce Smith. Senator Baucus (D-MT) is hosting his 10th Annual Fly Fishing & Golf event in his home state this weekend. He’s asking for contributions of $5,000.

Rep. John Larson (D-CT) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will be splitting their time this weekend at the MGM Grand’s spa in Foxwoods and the Lake of Isles Golf Course to benefit Larson’s Synergy PAC. Donors can join them in North Stonington, Connecticut for contributions of $5,000.

Finally, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) is offering PACs and individuals the opportunity to attend the US Open with him at Bethpage Black for $5,000 each.

Six golfing events in one weekend may seem like a lot—but if summers past are any indication of things to come, our legislators are just getting started.


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.