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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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Government teeters on the verge of shutdown, but the fundraising must go on

Updated 10/1 at 2:43 PM

A government shutdown would sabotage the country’s economic growth, put 800,000 federal workers on furlough and further damage Congress’ standing in the eyes of their electorate at a time when approval of the legislative branch is already at an all time low. However, PT records prove that there’s one thing a shutdown would not stop:

Congressional fundraising.

‘The show must go on’ appears to be the motto for members of Congress in the days following post-midnight, when government services will start to wind down should Congress be unable to reach a budget deal. Party Time data reveals that at least seven different members have planned fundraising bashes that will occur on, or directly after, the potential shutdown.

And something tells us there’s more. Let us know (anonymously) here.

Reps. Gene Green, D-Texas, along with Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, and Lois Capps, D-Calif. all have funders scheduled for Tuesday, the very day the shutdown would go into effect.

**Update: Chabot’s fundraiser has been canceled according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Chabot’s offers PACs and other individuals a chance to enjoy a “taste of Cincinnati” with the entire Ohio Republican delegation. Truth in advertising compels us to caution that contributors may be robbed of the presence of the delegation’s top dog: Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. The Republican leader already had a fundraising retreat fall victim to budget negotiations (see below for more details), and will likely still have his hands full parlaying with Dems — not to mention his own caucus members — come Tuesday.

***Update: Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., has postponed her “Autumn Reception” scheduled to take place at the Erickson & Co. Townhouse.

Other fetes on the social docket include a $500 and up reception for longtime Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. — which will feature a bevy of the New Yorker’s congressional allies — as the 83-year-old New Yorker raises money for a race in which he does not yet have a challenger.

For those seeking a nice capstone for your weekly social calendar, Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. has his Second Annual Trout Fishing retreat scheduled for this weekend. For $2,500 you too can join the senator at Gaston’s White River Resort in Lakeview, Ark., for a weekend of fishing tackle and trout filets — what better way to unwind from a hectic week of closing up Uncle Sam’s shop?

And then there’s what you might call the shutdown profiteers:

Healthcare ire means big bucks for pols’ campaign coffers

**Update: Roe’s fundraiser has been canceled according to a source at the Huffington Post. The never-ending debate over health care that’s causing the potential shutdown may be threatening the paydays of government workers, but, hey it’s turning out to be a money-making opportunity for some of our enterprising pols. For instance, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., is hoping to capitalize on the furor over “Obamacare” with a Thursday fundraising breakfast.

Party Time has obtained an invitation for the bash, which will benefit the Healthcare Freedom Fund –Roe’s “new” leadership PAC, established “to help elect federal candidates seeking office to add to the debate here in Congress to establish healthcare freedom and reform,” according to the invite. The term “new” may be a stretch, as FEC filings show that HFF first registered in Sept. 2012.

The veteran and former doctor is asking for contributions from $250 to $1,000 for attendees of the party, which also features Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.

Not to be left out of the Obamacare bashing, the Koch brothers-led Americans for Prosperity — a conservative dark money group — is using the bill to stir up support for a three-pronged canvassing session just outside of the beltway in Northern Virginia. A recent e-mail from the group urges supporters to join a door-to-door canvassing effort aimed at upending healthcare overhaul, Medicaid expansion and, not so coincidentally, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee in next month’s Virginia governor’s election.

In a fundraising countermove, Organizing for America — President Obama’s own dark money operation — sent out a similar e-mail asking for funds and urging supporters to “[pick] up a phone, [get] the facts out to friends on social media, or [show] up at your local congressional office.” Of course, clicking the helpful the link to “Add your voice” directs you to a web page asking for contributions from $15 to $1,000.

To check out the e-mails for yourself, head on over to PT’s own Tumblr. Of course, if any of our friends in the party-sphere catch wind of other Obamacare-themed fundraising efforts, do us a solid and send ‘em this way.

All work and no play

Obviously, not everyone is able to raise dough off Congress’ healthcare shenanigans.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio – the man of a thousand fundraisers — had to postpone a high-dollar retreat scheduled to take place last weekend at a posh resort in northern Virginia.

As reported by the Washington Examiner, the House Republican leader will reschedule the kickoff event for his “Capitol Program” — a fundraising campaign aimed at pulling contributions of $10,000 or more from major DC donors.

Bringing donors on a retreat is a common tactic of politicians seeking to squeeze a little more scratch out of supporters than they could at a regular, humdrum breakfast reception near Capitol Hill. The increased access that comes from spending multiple days with a member can be appealing to lobbyists and other deep-pocketed donors hoping to make their issues heard with the relevant party.

Peter, Paul and Martha

Beyonce, The Eagles and Justin Bieber are just some of the pop music superstars that have been graced by the presence of congressional funders in the past.

It appears that Democratic congressional hopeful Martha Robertson is aiming for an older, more nostalgic cadre of contributors. On Monday, the New York Dem will raise money with an exclusive performance from folk music legend Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. Yarrow is perhaps best-known for penning the whimsical 60’s hit: “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” The Robertson campaign is charging $250 to $1,000 for the event.

Unfortunately for Robertson, media interest in the event has not centered on the musical stylings of Yarrow, but rather his past conviction as a sex offender — Yarrow pleaded guilty to “taking indecent liberties with a child” in 1970. State and national GOP reps have harped on the Yarrow appearance, pressuring Robertson to disinvite the singer from the event.

The event was still on as of press time.

A giant in Hoboken

With the NFL season in full swing, the New York Giants are still in search of their elusive first win, and the offense in particular has come under fire for its poor performance in the first three games of the season.

Maybe that’s why the quarterback, Eli Manning, is testing out the political fundraising game.

The younger Manning brother will appear Monday at a benefit for Hoboken, N.J. Mayor Dawn Zimmer, where the entertainment will be — what else? — watching a football game: the 8:40 p.m. tilt between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints.

Suggested contributions range from $500 to $1,500. While that might sound like a bit of a hefty price tag for a trip to the local sports bar, how often do you get to show off your football IQ with a real-life professional player?

An NC Insurance Commissioner in NYC?

A midtown New York City fundraiser charging contributors donors thousands for a little more than an hour of face time with a pol? It sounds like a classic Big Apple funder for a Senate or House bigwig. Not in this instance.

On Wednesday, North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin will join insurance executives at a reception at Tavern 29.  For $4,000, you have the chance to join the exclusive ranks of Goodwin’s Platinum Sponsors, though it’s anyone’s best guess what that distinction will earn you.

Insurance commissioners may be an increasingly hot commodity as insurance corporations explore ways to profit from the federally-mandated state exchanges that come with the Affordable Care Act. If it ever gets funded, that is.

Till next week, partiers! Remember: government or no government, the fundraisers must go on!!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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2012 Elections 2012 Presidential Race • POSTED - 05.21.12 BY Lindsay Young

Dinner and a show with Presidents Obama and Clinton and Bon Jovi

Two New York City events for President Obama on June 4 combine the Broadway experience with a Bon Jovi Gala for the ultimate fundraiser duo.

The president and former President Bill Clinton are featured at Jon Bon Jovi Gala Dinner. The gala begins at 6 p.m. at the Waldorf Astoria. Tickets for the event range from $2,500 to $35,800 per guest.

Twelve blocks away and mere hour later, Obama and Clinton will headline “Barack on Broadway.” The event is being held at the New Amsterdam Theater. Tickets for this NYC event range from $100 to $1,000.

Both events benefit Obama Victory Fund 2012.

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2012 Elections 2012 Presidential Race Partytime • POSTED - 05.14.12 BY Lindsay Young

Obama looks for campaign donations from Denver to Dublin

The four fundraisers that President Obama’s campaign is holding tonight kick off a busy month of fundraising from Denver to Dublin (as in Ireland) and beyond. As of this morning, there are 23 upcoming Obama Victory Fund fundraisers on the Party Time books. (See all of Party Time’s Obama fundraisers here.)

Tonight’s New York City fundraiser, hosted by the Futuro Fund and LGBT Leadership Council, features Ricky Martin and the president himself. Tickets range from $5,000 to $35,800. Meanwhile, Michelle Obama will host a fundraiser in Dallas, where the price of admission ranges from $250 to $5,000. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is hosting a dinner in Boston. Tickets range from $10,00 to $30,800. A fourth, more modestly priced ($200-$2,500) event will be take place this evening in Chicago.

Hot on the heels of his declaration of support for same-sex marriage, Obama will undoubtedly be hoping for an enthusiastic showing of financial support at a gala reception in Los Angeles on June 6 with LGBT donors.

Obama also has fundraisers planed for Boston, Redwood City, Chicago, Denver and even Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin event includes a film screening and reception with Charles Adams. Tickets range from $100 to $500. The invitation cautions that only U.S. citizens and green card holders can donate.

Secretary of the Navy, Richard Danzig is holding a fundraiser at the Offices of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP on K Street. Tickets range from $100 to $1,000.

Other upcoming events include the well publicized fundraiser at George Clooney’s house May 10 and a Chicago Runway event at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios June 12. The cocktail soiree is hosted by Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, super model Chanel Iman and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

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inaugural • POSTED - 01.15.09 BY Nancy Watzman

All the familiar faces

Speaking of the inauguration, the watchdog group Public Citizen took a long hard look at Obama’s list of official inaugural donors and discovered that they include a lot of familiar faces from the campaign. Nearly 80 percent of the $35.3 million raised came from just 211 individual “bundlers.”

More than half the inaugural bundlers also served as bundlers to the Obama campaign, according to Public Citizen’s analysis. They include many prominent Wall Street executives, who have been much in the news during the financial bailout, including:

• Louis Susman, vice chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking and managing director, vice chairman of investment banking, Citigroup ($300,000);

• Mark Gilbert, senior executive, Lehman Brothers ($185,000);

• Robert Wolf, chairman and CEO, UBS Americas ($100,000);

• Jennifer Scully, vice president, private wealth management, Goldman Sachs ($100,000);

• Bruce Heyman, managing director of the Private Wealth Management Group, Midwest region, Goldman Sachs ($50,000);

• Kobi Brinson, senior vice president and assistant general counsel, Wachovia ($35,000)

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has this interesting chart showing donors by employer. Topping the list are Hollywood’s Dreamworks, Microsoft/Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation, and Google.

Updated to add: The Center for Responsive Politics today released its own analysis of official inaugural donors here. From the news release:

The struggling finance, insurance and real estate sector still managed to pull together at least $7.1 million in contributions for Obama’s inauguration, leading all sectors in giving. Financier George Soros and his extended family contributed at least $250,000. The miscellaneous business sector, which ranges from retailers to liquor companies and advertising firms, is next, donating $4.9 million, followed by $3.3 million from the communications and electronics sector, which includes technology companies. Lawyers and lobbyists have given $3 million. (As he did during the campaign, Obama is refusing contributions from registered federal lobbyists but accepts money from their family members and coworkers who aren’t registered.)

Looking at specific industries within these sectors, the securities and investment industry ranks first. Individuals with Wall Street ties–118 of them–have contributed more than $3.6 million, or an average of $30,534 each. The entertainment industry has donated $1.7 million, with $275,000 coming from individuals associated with Dreamworks SKG alone. The film studio’s principals, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, were among the $50,000 donors, along with their wives.

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Spending inaugural • POSTED - 01.15.09 BY Nancy Watzman

Getting the party started

If you haven’t noticed already, the capitol city is turning into one big party. The celebration of the inaguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president is well underway. For example, the Hip Hop Caucus is planning a party tonight billed as an “exclusive pre-inauguration celebrity affair,” invitation only, with sponsorship levels reaching as high as $100,000, according to this schedule of events compiled by the political consulting group ConklinScott.

Events like the Hip Hop party are part of the long list of private events that are not required to comply with President-elect Obama’s restrictions and disclosure requirements for inaugural events. Obama certainly has gone further than any previous president-to-be, limiting contributions from individuals to $50,000, refusing donations form corporations, political action committees, and lobbyists, among other restrictions. (Read the fine print here.)  He’s also made information avaialble about his inaugural donors who give more than $200 here.  But these rules apply only to events funded by the inaugural fund, such as the ten official inaugural balls on Jan. 20.

Private events include corporate-sponsored state society balls, such as the Illinois State Society’s ball. That party is drawing contributions from lobbying firms PMA Group and Holland & Knight, as well as major corporations such as United Airlines, Motorola, Google, and Microsoft, reports the Washington Times.

As at the political conventions last summer, often these parties are carefully planned so members of Congress and top staff can attend while complying with ethics laws. Says the Washington Times:

These parties are being structured so that lawmakers can attend without breaking new rules that restrict their socializing with lobbyists. Many of the invitations include a menu of “heavy hors d’oeuvres,” for example, because lawmakers cannot accept full meals from lobbyists under the rules.

The Poker Players Alliance is hosting a private, invitation-only event to honor “our new poker player in chief” starting at 11 p.m. on Inauguration Day at a well-known local cigar bar. The fine print of the invitation, sent to some lawmakers, notes that the event “conforms with the congressional ethics committee rules.”

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PARTYFINDER™ Hints

Beneficiary: congressional candidate, lawmaker, or entity which collects funds raised at party

Host: person who is hosting party-often, but not always, a registered federal lobbyist

Venue Name: where the party is

Entertainment Type: type of gathering, such as "breakfast," "ski trip," "bowling"

Other Lawmakers Mentioned: lawmakers mentioned on invitation who are used as a draw for the event

Sunlight's Party Time is a project to track parties for members of Congress or congressional candidates that happen all year round in Washington, D.C. and beyond. (read more)

We also post information we receive about parties where members of Congress are expected to participate—such as convention or inaugural parties.

Since we don't hear about all the parties, you can also tell us if you know where the party is and we don't.