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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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2010 Elections competitive races • POSTED - 09.14.10 BY Nancy Watzman

Candidates in close races increase DC fundraising

With Congress back in session, candidates facing a tough election battle in November are going for a final fundraising blitz in the nation’s capital, with at least 48 DC fundraisers scheduled over the next three weeks alone.  (See spreadsheet below for a full list.)

We will update this spreadsheet weekly in the run up to the election as a tool to track fundraising parties for these races. To identify close races we’ve used analysis by the Cook Political Report.

Some highlights of this week’s list include:

  • Tomorrow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is scheduled to fundraise at this breakfast at the Hyatt Regency. Listed as hosts are the entire Democratic Senate “classes” of 2006 and 2008. His opponent, Sharron Angle, will be in town the next day for a reception at the offices of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) headlined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and NRSC Chairman John Cornyn, R-Texas. A new poll shows the two running neck and neck in their race.
  • Prominent Democratic lobbyists Tony and Heather Podesta are scheduled to host this breakfast tomorrow for Rep. Paul Kanjorski. The 13-term incumbent has long been a target for the GOP. This year his race against Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta is considered a toss up.
  • There are three scheduled fundraisers this month for Rep. Charles Kong Djou, R-Hawaii, who is running a closely watched race against Democratic challenger Colleen Hanabusa. Djou won the formerly solid blue seat last May in a special election to replace former Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who resigned to run for governor. Democrats regard it as one of the few prospects for a Democratic pickup this November. There is this $1,000-per-PAC, $250-per-individual lunch at the Associated General Contractors townhouse on Capitol Hill this coming Thursday. Then, on Sept. 22, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., is scheduled to appear at a lunch at the offices of the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC), and on Sep. 23, this breakfast, also at NRCC headquarters. features Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

Click here to download a spreadsheet of upcoming fundraisers for candidates in competitive races.

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financial reform • POSTED - 06.18.10 BY Keenan Steiner

As meetings continue, Wall Street reform conferees fundraise

As the 43 members of Congress on the financial reform conference committee meet this month to hash out the final bill, more than half have planned fundraisers for themselves or are scheduled to be special guests at fundraisers for their colleagues.

In Party Time’s database of invitations for the month of June, 28 of these events were for their own campaigns or political action committees, while 14 were for other lawmakers.

At least two members — Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the head of the House-Senate joint committee, and Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee — have postponed fundraisers since the committee convened on June 10, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bachus’ press secretary Tim Johnson also told Party Time that Bachus did not attend one of the fundraisers that conflicted with the conference committee meeting. “Obviously there was a conflict with conference and that’s where the congressman’s full attention is,” Johnson said. Our count does not include postponed or canceled events.

For our full list, check out the spreadsheet below. Note: Our database only includes some of the fundraisers in the D.C. area, which we learn about from anonymous sources, so there may be more that we don’t know about.

Of the June Party Time invitations that, as far as we know, were planned to happen, here are some that caught our eye:

On the GOP side, Reps. Sam Graves, R-Miss., and Lamar Smith, R.-Tex., had invites to quite a few June soirees. Graves, the ranking Republican on the House Small Business Committee, planned six events this month, including a lunch at noon on June 16th just an hour after the committee started meeting at 11 a.m.

On June 14th, Smith’s political action committee, Longhorn PAC, planned its annual tennis event at the Washington Golf & Country Club. Smith, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, is also set to host three events for either himself or his PAC this month, and was a guest at a fundraiser for Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.

On June 15th, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., planned to use an Eagles concert at Nationals Stadium to raise money. Issa, the ranking member on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform also plans to hold his 9th Annual “Issa Cream Special” on June 23rd at the Associated General Contractors of America Townhouse with special guests, the “California GOP Delegation”. A ticket could cost as much as $2,500, or as little as $100 for those 35 and under.

Issa was also scheduled to host a fundraising breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club on Tuesday hosted by lobbyist Will Moschella, who represents the Electronic Payment Coalition among others. Moschella’s firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shrek, LLP, is one of the top lobbying firms working on financial reform legislation, representing 19 clients to lobby on the financial reform overhaul in 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity.

On June 9, just before the joint committee opened, Spencer Bachus, was scheduled to wine and dine at a Financial Services Industry Dinner at Acadiana to raise money for Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif.

On the Democratic side, House-Senate Conference Committee head Barney Frank was listed as a featured guest on at least 15 fundraisers for his colleagues and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this year. On June 7, Frank was listed as a host to a fundraising lunch for his colleague Ron Klein, D-Fla. He also plans to headline a fundraiser for Alan Grayson, D-Fla., at the National Democratic Club on July 1.

Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., planned two fundraisers this month, including a June 10 breakfast at the home of lobbyist Robert Raben, founder of the Raben Group, which lobbies on financial issues. The invite highlights Maloney’s committee positions as chair of the Joint Economic Committee and a member on both the Financial Services and Oversight Committee and Government Reform Committee.

Next week, Maloney plans to schmooze with donors while watching the “Carole King and James Taylor’s Troubadour Reunion Tour” at the Verizon Center.

Elijah Cummings, D-Md., also has plans for a June 24 fundraiser. The invitation highlights his positions as senior whip, senior member of the Joint Economic Committee, and senior member of the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform.

On Wednesday, in the middle of the conference committee meeting, former NFL Quarterback and chair of the Subcommittee on Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., had planned for a $1,000-a-plate “Southern Summer Luncheon” at the National Democratic Club Townhouse to raise money for his campaign.

Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, was also scheduled to be a guest at a fundraising breakfast on June 11 for Rep. Bryan Lentz, D-Pa.

Of the 12 Senators on the committee, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, are billed as hosts while Sen. Tim Johnson was scheduled to hold a fundraiser at the National Automobile Dealers Association on June 15.

Finally, using Party Time’s Events by Committee search option, here are links to the fundraisers held by the House and Senate committees whose members were pulled for the conference committee:

House Financial Services Committee

House Committee on Agriculture

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Joint Economic Committee

House Committee on Small Business

Senate Banking Committee

Senate Commitee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry

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2010 Elections competitive races • POSTED - 05.19.10 BY Lisa Chiu

Specter jettisoned; Rand Paul rides tea party wave; Arkansas Dem. Fight continues

After 29 years as the senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter was voted out by Democratic primary voters yesterday in favor of a two-term House member, Rep. Joe Sestak, who currently represents the state’s 7th congressional district. Sestak will now face Republican and former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey for the seat in November.

Five Hundred miles away in the Kentucky senate race, Republican tea party candidate Rand Paul bested Trey Grayson, the secretary of state who won the endorsement of Sen. Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate. Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, will face Democrat Jack Conway, the state’s attorney general, for the seat in November.

In Arkansas, moderate Democrat Blanche Lincoln must continue to fight for her Senate seat, as results from the state’s Democratic primary have found no clear majority against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter for the party’s nomination. The two will face-off in a runoff election on June 8th.

Other notable results:

Democrat Mark Critz won a special election for the open seat of late Congressman John Murtha for the remaining seven months of Murthas term for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District. Critz recently held a fundraiser at Lounge 201 in Washington D.C., according to Party Times list of invites. In attendance were Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen, and the Pennsylvania Democratic Delegation.

Democrat U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, of the 11th congressional district of Pennsylvania, moves on to battle his Republican challenger, Hazleton, Pa., mayor Lou Barletta in the November ballot. According to Party Time invites, Kanjorski has held eight fundraisers since the beginning of the year, the latest was a May 12 fundraiser at the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, where for $5,000, people could host the event and for $1,000 they could attend. There is only one invite in Party Times files for Lou Barletta, an October 2008 fundraiser at the Capital Grille.

Republican Congressman Charlie Dent easily defeated tea party challenger Mat Benol and will face Democrat John Callahan for Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District in November. Since January, Dent has held 10 fundraisers, according to Party Time invites. He also has a fundraiser planned for May 25th, to celebrate his Big 50th Birthday with special guests. For $1,500, political action committees can participate and for $750 individuals can wish him a happy half-century.

Republican Rick Crawford won the GOP nominee for the 1st congressional district of Arkansas against Princella Smith, who at 26, hoped to become the youngest member of congress. Crawford faces a Democratic challenger who won’t be decided until a June 8th run-off election. Contenders will likely include Tim Wooldridge and Chad Causey.

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2010 Elections competitive races • POSTED - 05.13.10 BY Lisa Chiu

Beaten incumbents spooking Specter?

In a week of longtime incumbents being nixed by their own party, all eyes are on the May 18 Pennsylvania primary as Arlen Specter, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned Democrat, fights to keep his office for a sixth term against challenger Rep. Joe Sestak and 13-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski tries to beat back newcomer Corey O’Brien in the state’s 11th Congressional District.

Also sitting precariously is Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who faces off against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, in the Arkansas primary on May 18.

Last Tuesday, Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., lost his bid for a 15th term for the 1st congressional district to state senator Mike Oliverio in the West Virginia Democratic primary. On Sunday, Utah Sen. Bob Bennett lost his bid for a fourth term in the state Republican Primary, in a victory for tea party activists.

Bennett and Mollohan had both raised far more than their challengers, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Mollohan had raised nearly $800,000 to Oliverios $320,000, while Bennett had raised $3.9 million, ten times more than the next most-funded candidate.

In Pennsylvania, Specter has so far raised more than $15.4 million, while Democratic challenger Joe Sestak has raised nearly $3.6 million. The Democratic primary winner will face off against Republican Pat Toomey, who has so far raised $8.2 million. Meanwhile in the House race, Kanjorski has raised nearly $1.2 million compared to O’Brien’s nearly $358,000.

According to Party Times invites, Kanjorski has held eight fundraisers since the beginning of the year, the latest was a May 12 fundraiser at the Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, where for $5,000, people could host the event and for $1,000 they could attend.

Toomey has held three fundraisers this year, according to Party Time. The most recent was a April 27th fundraiser at Johnny’s Half Shell hosted by Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, where for $2,000 political action committees could co-host the event, and for $500, individuals could attend. The latest invites in Party Time for Specter and Sestak only date back to 2009.

Pennsylvania election results wont be known until next week, but according to early unofficial results of about 2,000 ballots, Specter was leading Sestak, 55 percent to 45 percent. Kanjorski was also leading in early votes of about 1,000 ballots with 50 percent of the vote to OBriens 33 percent.

In Arkansas, Lincoln has raised more than $8.7 million while Halter has raised $2.6 million.

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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.