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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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Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.16.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Roundup: Beyonce, Breakfast, and Scott Brown

Hello partiers, and happy snowy December! Did we mention Beyonce’s coming to town? And a few lawmakers are sticking around for the fun(draising)?

As Congress winds down this unproductive year, we’ve had a few recent end o’ the year surprises, like a budget deal passing the House and heading to the Senate. In the midst of that development, one of the budget’s primary architects, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., even managed to pop down to sunny Florida for two fundraisers. Now that’s multitasking, folks.

But the whirlwind of holiday-themed parties of the last few weeks is coming to a close, meaning this, faithful partiers, is our last Party Time roundup of 2013. Did we mention Beyonce is coming? It’s been a crazy year, from a “Bring Your Own Gun” fundraiser with Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., to the government shutdown shutting down some – but not all – parties, to a Taylor Swift concert bringing in some campaign cash for Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky. And of course . . . Beyonce!

As politicians head to their home districts, dreaming of sugar plum fairies and humming seasonal songs, we know they are hoping Santa brings them lumps of cash, not coal. Over here at Party Time, all we want for Christmas is Beyo–ok, for you to send us more party invites! Toss anything you’ve got here, and yes, we know we are the easiest people to shop for on your list.

Before we totally close up shop, the good news is a few brave pols are still partying this week. Check out what’s on tap …

Beyonce. Need we say more?
What with his California district encompassing the celebrity-spotting hotspot of Los Angeles, Rep. Adam Schiff knows the pull of a bold-named special guest. Enter Queen Bey.

That’s right – on the heels of her surprise album release last week, Beyonce is hitting up D.C.’s Verizon Center Wednesday night, with a fistful of fresh songs (and, we’re assuming, new, big dance numbers). Schiff is hoping the promise of multiple costume changes and, well, Beyonce will get you to shell out some cash for his 2014 campaign. But tickets aren’t cheap, friends: Get ready to drop $2,500 for one ticket, or $4,000 for two.

And Bey isn’t the only heavy-hitter of the evening. Defense contractor Raytheon’s PAC is hosting Schiff’s fundraiser. According to our Influence Explorer data, Raytheon gives loads in campaign donations and spends a chunk on lobbying. Records in our Party Time database also show that Schiff is one of only two Democrats who’ve benefitted from a Raytheon-hosted party.

And this just in! We recently learned that Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, is hopping on the Beyonce train. Sessions, who early last week got a Democratic challenger in his 2014 race, will have a fundraiser of his own at Wednesday’s concert. Tickets are a steal when you sit with Sessions, at $1,000 per person or $2,500 for PACs.

Turns out Republicans and Democrats can agree on one thing – Beyonce does run the world.

Booker and Bennet Breakfast at the Bistro
Bistro Cacao will be a hub of Democratic fundraising come Tuesday and Wednesday. Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Michael Bennet of Colorado are each throwing breakfast funders there, aiming to bring in some campaign cash over cappuccinos and croissants.

Fortunately for Booker, his 24-hour fast in solidarity with immigration activists was last week. So, barring a same-sex wedding that needs officiating or a driveway that needs shoveling, Booker should be chowing down with supporters at Bistro Cacao Tuesday morning.

And after attending a string of fundraisers benefitting various Democratic Party campaign committees, Bennet is having a party of his own Wednesday morning. From our records at Party Time, this looks to be Bennet’s first funder since February, which isn’t all that surprising since he’s been heading up the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for the 2013-14 cycle. Welcome back to the party circuit!

Scott Brown keeps us on our toes
Will he or won’t he? Scott Brown, former Massachusetts senator (and model), has been toying with a run in New Hampshire’s 2014 Senate race, which would pit him against Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. He’s headlining the New Hampshire GOP’s Holiday Party Thursday night, further stoking speculation of what a Brown campaign would look like in the Granite State.

One thing’s for sure – people on both sides of the aisle already have strong opinions about Brown’s candidacy, even though he hasn’t officially announced anything. The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, a gun-rights advocacy organization, is asking its members to attend a protest at Thursday’s dinner, while the state’s Democrats kicked off an anti-Brown ad campaign last Wednesday.

If you’re interested in attending – and braving some protesters – get ready to throw down between $50 and $2,500 for a ticket.

Lenard goes long for campaign cash
After a failed primary bid in 2012 against Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Brenda Lenard is trying again, this time running to unseat Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in 2014. On Friday, she heads to California to bring in some big-time cash at a dinner at the home of big-time football star Terrell Owens. The Tennessean reported in September that Owens and Lenard had never met, and that Owens was paid to attend.

That’s it for this week, partiers. See you in the New Year! (And, until then, if you hear of any fundraisers, let us know.)

2012 Elections Congressional Getaways Partytime special interests • POSTED - 02.17.12 BY Breanna Edwards

This Week’s Fundraisers: Golfing, Skiing, Shooting and breakfast with Bachus

With Congress taking a week’s recess in honor of Presidents’ Day, the party scene is moving beyond the Beltway. Some of the highlights:

Rep. Allen West partying hard: Having freshly relocated his reelection campaign to a new district following a decision by the Florida legislature that made his current seat far more Democratic, and trailed there by the same eager Democratic rival, the outspoken Tea Party favorite has more reasons than ever to get his political party on. West, a first-term Republican from Florida, has two events planned for Tuesday. He’ll host a luncheon and golf outing in Palm Beach, Fla., followed by a Mardi Gras reception at a private home in the same location. The events are all part of his First Annual West Florida Trip.

Skiing is in this weekend: For those who prefer colder climates, several Republicans are planning ski trips for the end of the week. A Party City Ski Weekend will be held in honor of Reps. Jeb Hensarling, Pete Sessions (both from Texas) and Greg Walden (Oregon) in Utah, from Feb. 23 to Feb. 26. Then, starting Feb. 24, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., will be holding a two-day Winter Ski Fling in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Shooting too: The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors PAC is hosting a Tuesday fundraiser at the Scottsdale Gun Club for freshman Republican Rep. Dave Schweikert, R-Ariz. Tickets start at $100 and it costs $1000 to sponsor what’s being billed as “a fun and safe range event.”

Bachus breakfasts with bankers: Reportedly under investigation for possible insider trading violations, Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., apparently remains a draw with the finance and banking industry. The Alabama Bankers Association will be hosting a breakfast for Bachus on Monday in Montgomery, Ala.  As Sunlight told you in an earlier report on this gathering, Bachus has raised more campaign money from the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate sectors than any other House member outside leadership this election cycle.

2010 Elections competitive races • POSTED - 05.06.10 BY Lisa Chiu

Obama’s home district could swing to Republicans

The congressional district where President Barack Obama was born and raised could go to the G.O.P., according to a recently-leaked White House poll which found Republican candidate Charles Kong Djou tied with Democrat Ed Case. Democrat Colleen Hanabusa–who has backing from both Hawaii senators–runs a distant third.

The special election for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District is an open race where candidates from all parties appear on the same ballot and the winner takes all. The election is mainly vote-by-mail and results will be announced on May 22. The seat was vacated by Democratic Rep. Neil Abercrombie in February, when he resigned to run for Governor of Hawaii. The winner would serve out the remainder of Abercrombie’s term.

Politico, which obtained the leaked poll, quoted a senior White House official who said that the data points to Case as the best chance for Democrats to maintain the seat.

The poll surveyed 500 likely voters and found Djou and Case in a virtual tie with 36 percent and 34 percent of the vote respectively, while Hanabusa trails at 20 percent.

Hanabusa, a Hawaii State Senator, has raised $716,000, the most of all candidates in the race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Djou, a Honolulu City Council member and former member of the Hawaii House of Representatives, has raised $545,000, while Case, a former U.S. Representative for Hawaiis 2nd Congressional District, has raised $399,000.

Party Time has only one fundraiser on file for this competitive race; A fundraiser for Djou on March 10 at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington. For $2,500, a political action committee could have co-hosted the event while individual supporters could donate $250. Also listed on the invite were Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas. The distribution was paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

With the exception of former Republican Pat Saiki who had the seat for four years in the late 1980s, Democrats have held Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District seat since it was first established in 1971.

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competitive races • POSTED - 04.26.10 BY Elham Khatami

Leadership from both parties intervene in campaign between insider and outsider

With the May 18 special election right around the corner, the race to snag former Democratic Rep. John Murtha’s seat representing Pennsylvania’s 12th district is heating up.

Both candidates, Republican Tim Burns and Democrat Mark Critz, a former aide to Murtha, held practical mirror-image fundraisers on the same day last week.

Burns held a reception at the Capitol Hill Club and was joined by Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Republican Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, and the Pennsylvania Republican Delegation.

Around the same time, Critz held a reception at Lounge 201, a bar the Washington Post calls “A Sinatra-style Capitol Hill martini lounge for those tired of the $2 Budweiser scene.” In attendance were Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen, and the Pennsylvania Democratic Delegation.

A recent poll by Public Policy Polling shows that Burns holds a small lead over Critz. Murtha was the first Democrat since 1942 to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th district, a position he held for more than 35 years. The Cook Political Report describes the race as a “toss up.”

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Burns also leads in fundraising. He has raised nearly $550,000, while Critz has raised less than $400,000. But Critz may have an ace in the hole: the Washington Post reports that Murtha’s earmarks for area defense contractors might continue paying dividends to Critz, the aide that used to request them. “Defense contractors, local business officers and lobbyists that relied on earmarked federal contracts from Murtha…recently chipped in $142,400,” the Post found.

Murtha was a central figure in the PMA Group scandal; the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct cleared him of wrongdoing. When he worked for Murtha, who served as chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Critz compiled the list of earmarks that Murtha would fund. According to the Post, Murtha “routinely approved the list his staff gave him without making any changes.”

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.


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.