Hey, party people, hey! It has been a busy few weeks on the party circuit, and we love hearing about all of the fundraiser details: What was on the menu for Vice President Joe Biden’s visit? How were Rep. Tom Price’s dance moves at the Justin Timberlake concert? (Know more details, or have some invites to share? Send it all here.)
This week is shaping up to be a bit more traditional, with your run-of-the-mill luncheons and receptions. But even those can get interesting once you throw in a boldfaced politician or two, such as the fundraiser-in-chief himself: President Barack Obama will be out shaking the money tree for his party. And on Friday, the Republican Governors Association will be lunching and fundraising in Atlanta with Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Nathan Deal. The two GOP leaders continue to get heat for recent traffic issues in their respective states, with Christie not able to shake the George Washington Bridge scandal at home and Deal still recovering from the snow-induced commuter nightmare at the end of January.
And, as he’s fond of doing once every few months, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., is having one of his Bagels with Ben fundraisers on Wednesday morning. We’ve always had a soft spot for this event, seeing as it combines two of our absolute favorite things – alliteration and carbohydrates.
Let’s keep this train going, folks. Here’s the rest of your week in parties!
No, not that “Magic Mike.” We’re talking about Mike McFadden, the investment-banker-turned-Senate-candidate hoping for a magical run for Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s seat.
Franken squeaked into the Senate in 2008, besting his Republican opponent by just 312 votes (out of the approximately 2.4 million cast). But after six years of legislating, fundraising and shedding a bit of his “SNL”/Hollywood boisterousness, Franken doesn’t look as vulnerable as he once did. Rothenberg even put the seat into the “Safe Democrat” column for the 2014 cycle.
No matter – the GOP is throwing some of its biggest names behind McFadden this Wednesday at Party Time’s first recorded fundraiser for the Republican candidate. Last May, McFadden stepped down from his post as co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market to focus on his campaign; just a few months later, and he’s partying with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 13 other senators, plus former Minnesota Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and Norm Coleman.
Our Real-Time tracker shows McFadden will need to keep the parties coming in order to elbow out Franken, who has been known to get creative on the social circuit. The Republican has just shy of $1.7 million in the bank compared to Franken’s $4.8 million.
Mike Making Money
Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Mass., wants to stay in the House and is having a luncheon this week to prove it. The Massachusetts native will fundraise over cheeseboards and meatball appetizers at Sonoma Restaurant on Wednesday afternoon.
This funder comes a few months after Capuano opted out of a run for governor in his home state. The Democratic primary would’ve pit him against Attorney General Martha Coakley, who bested Capuano once before. Back in 2010, the two duked it out for a chance to face Republican Scott Brown in that year’s special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat. Capuano lost that primary by almost 20 points, and then Brown won the general, becoming the first Republican senator elected from the Bay State since 1972.
Party Time’s data show the luncheon fundraiser is a go-to move for Capuano, but we’ve got high hopes that the congressman will spice it up a little during this campaign. After all, his nephew is “Fantastic Four” actor Chris Evans, who went out on the trail in the run-up to the 2010 special election. If you hear about a Capuano party in the works, you know what to do – send the details here.
Rally that base
This weekend (in a fairly accurate visualization of our country’s political polarization, by the way), the right and the left will be partying with some of their staunchest supporters on opposite coasts.
In Los Angeles, California Dems are having their State Convention, and inviting a fistful of big names to draw all sorts of blue state voters and operatives. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will all be on hand on Saturday, as will Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (a potential 2016 White House contender) and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
Across the country, on the Maryland Harbor, the Conservative Political Action Conference will get going on Thursday. This is going to be the place to be for conservative activists and politicians this weekend, and boy oh boy, it looks to be a jam-packed weekend.
Be sure to come caffeinated: Things get started at 9 a.m. with speeches from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Donald Trump. And the hits just keep on coming Friday and Saturday – Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Heritage President Jim DeMint, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin are all slated to speak. And if all that speechifying gets you down, check out the Ann Coulter-Mickey Kaus debate Saturday afternoon.
Democrats hit the road
We know the president is scheduled to headline an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in DC on Tuesday and, the following day, two fundraisers in Boston for the Democratic National Committee. But if you’ve got more deets, please share!
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has a busy weekend planned. He’ll pop down to Florida on Friday and then head north on Sunday for two days in New York. He’s had the trips on the books for a few weeks now, and the timing couldn’t be better for the freshman senator. Last Wednesday, Udall and political watchers everywhere learned that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner would challenge Udall rather than running for reelection to the House seat he has held since 2010. Expect the GOP to pour lots of money and resources into this race, as Gardner is considered an up-and-comer and the National Republican Senatorial Committee made him a top recruiting target. Gardner has close — very close — ties to the energy industry, Sunlight has found.
With his southern California district encompassing some of the best-known movie and TV studios, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., knows the powerful draw of a big-screen star. This weekend, he is having his Second Annual Weekend with the Stars fundraiser in L.A. Specifics are TBA, although there is a nifty film role on the invitation, undeniable proof that donors will be rubbing elbows with celebs all weekend long.
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Party people, we are just about recovered from the State of the Union – we’ve sifted through our fair share of Joe Biden memes and watched that video of Rep. Michael Grimm lose it. We’ve even made our own version of the speech with Sunlight’s State of the Union Machine.
Politicians of every stripe took advantage of the all-eyes-on-Washington week and fundraised their tails off (Sen. Mitch McConnell had morning and evening events last Wednesday; First Lady Michelle Obama told donors to “write a big fat check” at one of her four California events). The trend looks to continue into this week, with a busy social calendar for heavy-hitters in D.C., Florida and Pennsylvania, plus a swanky weekend getaway to Vail, Colo.
The schedule is busy, but we are confident there are other parties happening out there that we haven’t heard about. Know of anything good going on? Email us those invites and newspaper clippings, or use our handy-dandy (and confidential) upload feature.
And now, for some parties!
Fundraising for Florida
Florida never fails to entertain. A perpetual swing state full of close local races – not to mention the competing (and entertaining) fundraising forces of Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist – Florida will yet again compel all of politics to pay hyper-close attention.
This go-around, it’s a special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Bill Young, who died last October. Although the Republican kept his 13 th District in the GOP column for 42 years, the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report ranks the seat as one of six “pure toss-up” races of 2014. Translation: Fasten your seatbelts.
Republicans already duked it out during a contentious primary in January. State Rep. Kathleen Peters ultimately lost to David Jolly, but not before she routinely referred to him as a lobbyist (yep) and charged that he worked in favor of President Obama’s health care law (nope). Jolly was no saint, either; according to the Tampa Bay Times, a Jolly mailer said Peters wouldn’t “take a stand” on the health care law even though she consistently said she was against it.
Things didn’t get much better after the primary. The Times reported that Peters, name-checking Jolly’s lobbying career again, wasn’t ready to endorse her party’s candidate quite yet. “Is there going to be trust there? That’s been my concern all along, and that’s where I think we’re going to be weakened,” Peters told the Times.
But just a few weeks later, and Peters is ready to belt out “Kumbaya” with the best of them. She will be partying Wednesday morning (at, yawn, 7:30 a.m.) with Jolly and virtually every other elected state-level Republican in Florida. Gov. Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, state GOP Chairman Lenny Curry and a fistful of state senators and representative are throwing their support behind Jolly at the Tallahassee reception.
That kind of across-the-board support is exactly what Alex Sink has been enjoying for months now. Democrats lined up behind their 13th District contender from the get-go, labeling her a “jumpstart” candidate, which translates into extra hands on deck for her campaign. In December, Dem leaders threw her a fundraiser in D.C., and on Wednesday evening, a similar cast of characters will party with her at the DNC’s headquarters. Tickets start at $250 for individuals and cap out at $5,000 for PACs.
Sink, Florida’s former CFO, has a significant cash advantage over Jolly. She raised more than $1 million in the last months of 2013 (including a noteworthy $1,000 contribution from Charlie Crist), and recorded a one-day haul of $31,500 earlier this month. Jolly raised $388,450 at the end of 2013, and has since brought in an additional $35,700.
Pelosi in Pennsylvania
Democratic leadership will kick in support for some of its other “jumpstart” candidates on Thursday. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., fresh off a “who-moi?” performance on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, heads to Philadelphia for a party at the Racquet Club. Three new-to-the-national-stage candidates, all hoping to turn their districts from red to blue in 2014, will benefit from the draw of Pelosi’s name at the top of the invite.
Party leadership recruited Kevin Strouse, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, to run against Republican Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 8th District. Another veteran, Michael Parrish, announced he was throwing his hat in the ring for Pennsylvania’s 6th District seat, which opened up when GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach said he was retiring. And in a race that has the potential to get real interesting real fast, Aimee Belgard will go head-to-head with conservative Steve Lonegan – who lost to now-Sen. Cory Booker in a special election last fall – in a race for New Jersey’s 3 rd District seat. After two terms in the House, Rep. Jon Runyan, a Republican, won’t run for reelection.
According to PT’s data, this is the first fundraiser for all three candidates. (Know of more? Send us those invites!)
Red, White and Blue – and Rand Paul
Last year, there were two official retorts to the State of the Union address – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., delivered the tea party response and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., became infamously thirsty during the Republican Party’s reaction. But for 2014, a few more people got in on the action: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., represented Republicans, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, weighed in for the tea party … and Sen. Paul spoke on behalf of, well, himself.
As the Washington Post noted, this mirrors the intense power plays going on in the GOP. But it also sheds some light on Paul’s political aspirations – and potential strategies – as he blends his libertarian bona fides with a growing appeal among conservatives. He may have started out as a long-shot candidate, but he’s gaining steam as a viable 2016 contender. Other things that keep up that kind of chatter: last year’s fundraising stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina (hey, key primary states, hey).
On Wednesday, Paul will deliver the keynote at the American Principles Project’s Red, White & Blue Gala at D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel. The benefit for the conservative nonprofit – board members include National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher and leading Catholic scholar Robert P. George – will allow Paul to beef up his social conservative street cred. He may even weigh in on the hot topic of immigration, especially seeing as American Principles recently launched an initiative to gin up support for immigration reform among conservatives.
Udall hits the slopes
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., had a tough week. After the State of the Union, he fumbled with questions about campaigning with President Obama during Udall’s upcoming reelection fight. And a few days later, he learned his son was arrested and charged with heroin possession and trespassing. Sounds like he could use a breather.
It’s perfect(ish) timing, then, that Udall cruises over to Vail on Friday for a weekend retreat benefiting his leadership PAC, Peak PAC. We first heard of the funder in December, when Peak was having a breakfast event in D.C. Do you have more details to share? Email us what you’ve heard about.
Whew, party people, what a week. There’s a lot going on, but we bet there’s more happening that we haven’t heard about. Keep us in the loop – send those invites and save the dates our way!
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Hey, party people, hey. It’s Monday, it’s a long weekend, it’s cold out; members of Congress have left D.C. and are back in their home districts for the week. We’ve got a lot going against us, but Party Time is still going strong, hunting for fundraisers and keeping track of the politicians and lobbyists who attend them.
Although the absence of lawmakers makes this a slim week on our social calendar, but we have high hopes things will pick up. Last week, for example, started out with a usual-suspects smattering of events and developed into a blockbuster fundraiser-palooza. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., hit up well-heeled business leaders in Atlanta, Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., had a funder that he limited to four attendees (which feels like a new – and bizarre – tactic for raising money), and Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., had a cocktail reception at D.C.’s Bistro Bis.
And we can’t forget about Gov. Chris Christie’s Florida swing over the weekend. In a whirlwind tour on Saturday, the New Jersey governor hopscotched to Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Orlando in a bid to raise money for fellow Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Scott, running for reelection in 2014 and a formidable fundraiser in his own right, is suffering from low approval ratings at home and must’ve been counting on the added star power of Christie – the everyman governor and newly minted head of the Republican Governors Association – to help bring in even more dough. But as the Fort Lee/George Washington Bridge scandal continues to brew at home, Christie brought more baggage than usual.
As political talking heads wonder if Christie is still a big-time donor draw, a good barometer of the traffic jam’s reverberations was most likely a dinner on Sunday in the Sunshine State. Billed as a casual combo of conversation, cocktails and football on the big screen, the dinner was a chance for Christie to hobnob with deep-pocketed GOP donors. Technically, it wasn’t a fundraiser, according to the event’s host, Home Depot founder Ken Langone, but intimate gatherings like this rarely end without at least the promise of a check in the mail.
We learned of a lot of these events because you, faithful partiers, slipped us the invite. So, as you hear of more fundraisers – especially those local ones happening while your elected representatives are back at home for the week – send them our way! Upload them here, or shoot us an email.
Moran heads out
Rep. James Moran, D-Va., announced last week that he was hanging up his hat and retiring from Congress after serving more than 20 years. PT was surprised by the announcement, seeing as Moran was hitting up donors into October of last year. He even had a fundraising luncheon scheduled for this Thursday, but we learned it got scuttled the same day he announced his retirement.
Although Moran planned some fairly run-of-the-mill fundraisers (luncheon here, wine tasting there), PT will still miss the congressman, mostly for his well-documented outbursts and tantrums. Remember that time when he slugged a fellow congressman on the House floor? Or when he grabbed an 8-year-old boy in an Alexandria parking lot?
Durbin in sunny SoCal
Looking for some dough to cushion that reelection fight in the fall? Does Mother Jones tag you as a “top Senate liberal”? If so, it only makes sense to head to the deep blue ATM that is California, where Dems from across the country travel to cash in on wealthy, left-leaning donors.
Our records show Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., usually sticks to D.C.-area fundraisers. Come Monday, he’s taking advantage of the long weekend and making his way to Los Angeles for an event at the home of Jamie and Chuck Meyer. Hey SoCal-ers: Know any more details? Let us know!
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., is up for reelection this year, and he’s already gotten creative with fundraising, like in December when he told donors he’d do a pushup for every dollar raised. On Thursday, he’ll be going the more traditional route with a country club reception in Englewood.
In 2012, Coffman narrowly bested his Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Joe Miklosi. This time around, he’ll face Andrew Romanoff, the former speaker in Colorado’s House of Representatives. It looks to be a competitive race again, especially considering the shifting demographics in the 6th District. Coffman, who was once an immigration hardliner, for example, softened his approach last February.
Dollars for D.C.’s Tommy Wells
Current D.C. City Council member Tommy Wells is running for mayor of the nation’s capital, and that’s going to require some serious fundraising. Thursday evening, he’ll be hitting up donors at a cocktail reception hosted by banker and lawyer folks.
Wells made headlines last week for passing a bill that would lower the fine – from $100 to $25 – for pot possession in the District. It’ll be interesting to see how this move impacts Wells’ popularity, or if it will become a bellwether issue in the race, especially considering a recent Washington Post poll that showed D.C. residents now favor legalizing pot by 63 percent.
That rounds out our week, partiers. As always, let us know what you’ve heard is happening out there!
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Contrary to popular belief, America is no longer a democracy. It is, in fact, a constitutional monarchy presided over by none other than the Queen Bee herself, Beyonce Knowles.
The R&B songstress and her hip-hop hubby, Jay-Z, earned more than $1 billion last year, and Knowles’ Mrs. Carter world tour continues to sell out arenas in every locale it visits. However her Monday show at Washington’s Verizon Center will be unique, as the BeyHive will be bolstered by three members of Congress and their generous pals.
That’s right, Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., have all scheduled fundraising events for the evening show, though we at Party Time must tip our hats to Kaine for having the most glamorous invitation.
PT records indicate that Shimkus, who recently returned to work after a heart procedure, takes a particular interest in supporting the arts — three of his last four fundraisers in our database have been held at concerts, and the fourth was an off-broadway performance of the Book of Mormon. And his taste in music is quite eclectic. Before the Beyonce concert, there were trips to see New Kids on the Block (with fellow boy bands Boys II Men and 98 Degrees) and Fleetwood Mac. Too bad The Hill newspaper reports that he doesn’t actually attend these concerts. What a rip-off!
It’s unclear what the asking price is (if you know, drop us a line) but Kaine is asking donors for $5,000.
If this “sexy and fierce” musical experience is not enough to sate your appetite for political partying fear not! Here’s a snapshot of some other noteworthy fundraisers taking place this week.
Paul pays his dues
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is certainly making the rounds — for himself and his GOP friends.
Sunday he appeared at a fundraiser for in Tennessee for state Sen. Jack Johnson before rushing back to the District for a fundraiser benefiting Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H. Monday evening. The event will be attended by three other potential presidential hopefuls, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., John Thune, R-S.D., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
As Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post tells it, her recent trip to Ground Zero of any presidential campaign (Iowa) indicates a clear desire to be considered for the Democratic nomination should Hillary Clinton pass on it.
Nothing gets us more excited at Party Time than some seriously groovy clip art on fundraiser invitations.
Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., went with a ‘beachy’ theme for her invitations to her summer soirée fundraising party on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Perhaps a dip in the beautiful Potomac River is on the docket?
The 15-year incumbent (and mother-in-law of Bill Burton, the former Obama aide who co-founded a pro-Obama super PAC) will be facing newcomer Paul H Coyne Jr. in her 2014 battle for reelection. The suggested contributions of $1,000-$2,500 will no doubt be greatly appreciated.
The Book tour
The Cory Booker-for-Senate machine keeps churning, and the Newark mayor keeps attracting A-list talent to his fundraising affairs. Seemingly everyone is interested in hooking their wagon on to the Booker train.
On Wednesday, the founder of the major law and lobbying firm Cozen O’Connor will be hosting Booker for a fundraiser in the Philadelphia suburbs at the home of the firm’s founder, Stephen A. Cozen. The Cozen firm is both a heavy-hitter on K Street and a major contributor to Democratic campaigns.
Just a half hour later the Booker camp is supposed to be at an event for young professionals in Philadelphia. It seems there’s just not enough hours in the day to collect campaign cash when you’re Cory Booker. As to how he manage to attend both events, PT’s best guess is gyrocopter.
We’ll just be here. Waiting on those invites… Until next week partiers!
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Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Nothing can stop the partying.
That’s the message presented by our friend Dave Levinthal at the Center for Public Integrity, who recently wrote a piece chronicling lawmakers and their never-ending quest for cash — no matter the circumstances. The third week of April saw numerous tragedies unfold, but that didn’t stop politicians from bombarding supporters with fundraising emails and attending swanky soirees. Levinthal gives examples of messages sent out during the week, like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (“Tomorrow is our ad buy deadline in the South Carolina special election“), Obama’s non-profit Organizing for Action (“Let’s keep fighting for change. Chip in $5 or more to support Organizing for Action today“) and others. The Party Time calendar also showed 23 fundraisers including parties for Democratic S.C. hopeful Elizabeth Colbert Busch and for Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, all of whom had multiple events that week. It just goes to show you that Congress will party on and no one can stop them — the Beastie Boys would be proud.
Now back to your usually scheduled partying. Since Congress’ spring bre- er we mean, “District Word Period” is over, the lawmakers is back in the District and ready to party at their peak once again. PT has the highlights below:
GOP Senators Double Up
Either Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, are saving up enough money to take over the entire world, or they’re in some kind of political contest. Both are debt-free yet have been partying at astonishing rates — Crapo has 17 funders scheduled in 2013 while Alexander has 15! Alexander’s interest in the party circuit is obvious: He’s up for reelection next year. Crapo won’t face the voters till 2016, but he might have an interest in helping Republicans win back control of the Senate, putting him in line to be chairman of the Banking Committee, a la another one of our favorite Party Time animals.
Alexander’s campaign gets a kick start on May 9 when he’ll be hosting two events to stuff his campaign coffers. That morning Alexander will be at a breakfast — not at a restaurant where most people would generally eat food, but at the Capitol Hill townhouse of Fluor, a construction and engineering company. Seems an odd place for a meal. Just three hours later, he’ll go more conventional with a noon lunch at the Monocle Restaurant. You too can attend both events for the low price of $2,500 PAC or $1,000 personal.
Meanwhile, Crapo’s Freedom Fund is freaking out with funders, and this week Crapo’s holding two more events benefiting his liberty-themed leadership PAC. On Monday, he’ll be at a Financial Services Industry Dinner at Mexican joint Rosa Mexicano (which PT mistakenly thought was a host at first; we obviously aren’t getting enough money to dine at Mexican restaurants of the expense account variety). No hosts are listed, but expect many Wall Street types here — securities and investments has been the biggest industry to contribute to Crapo over his career. Following this is a Young Professionals Reception on Thursday, priced at a young-person-friendly $250-$100. Unless you’re a young person with a PAC, which will cost $1,000.
Friends Don’t Let Friends Fundraise Alone
If you’re serious about political partying (as PT is of course), then you should check out a new paper using PT data by Yale professor Eleanor Neff Powell entitled “Dollars to Votes: The Influence of Fundraising in Congress.” Sunlight’s Lee Drutman covered the major themes if you don’t have time for the full paper, but Powell found members of Congress who headline events for other members get something in return — surprise! — votes for their legislation! And guess what else — the calendar shows two cases just this week of pols helping pols party.
First up, a Wednesday reception for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., headlined by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. Mikulski is chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee, of which Landrieu is a member, and can lend some powerful support to Landrieu’s challenging campaign in solid-red Louisiana. But she won’t be the only one there; several PACs representing tech businesses and unions will be on hand to host the festivities. To join the crowd, contribute either $2,500 or $1,000.
Later on that evening, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., will be enlisting the help of fellow lawmaker Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., at a dinner on Capitol Hill. On the invite Capps calls Pallone both a “colleague and friend,” and friends don’t let friends fundraise alone. Tickets to this dinner range from $5,000 to $1,000.
2016 Preview Pt. 2 at the Iowa GOP Dinner?
Tonight the S.C. GOP is holding its annual Silver Elephant Dinner, featuring potential presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as the party’s guest speaker. Well, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., another possible White House successor, tried and failed to get that gig — but he did land the Iowa Republican Party’s 2013 Lincoln Dinner! Tickets to this annual fete cost $450 for a table, $150 for a VIP entree and $50 for a regular ticket. It’s no coincidence that Iowa happens to be an important early voting state in presidential elections, with its spectacular straw poll and all. It’s going to be a packed house next Friday, so hopefully Paul doesn’t blow the dinner speech – and with it his 2016 chances. After all, it’s practically presidential campaign season — in Iowa at least.
Enjoy the Kentucky Derby, and until next time, Partiers.Tweet
Party Animal Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Early this morning, the Committee Formerly Known As Obama’s Campaign, Organizing for Action, reported hauling in just under $4.9 million for the first quarter of 2013, an amount that the Los Angeles Times dubbed “a modest debut.” What a world we live in where $5 million dollars is considered “modest” and not “an absurdly gargantuan mountain of cash.” What’s even more impressive is that OFA started late into the cycle, missing an entire month as the committee transitioned from a campaign to the non-profit “social welfare” group it is now. It’s worth noting that the group had 109,582 unique contributors with an average donation of $44 — however, OFA did solicit gifts up to $500,000.
While OFA continues to rake in the cash, Congress is also partying hard as the 2014 campaign season gets into gear. We’ve flipped the calendar on our Follow the Unlimited Money tracker and you can see why by checking the number of new campaign committees that have popped up just since the first of the year. This week features funders benefitting S.C. congressional hopeful Elizabeth Colbert Busch, GOP darling Rand Paul and more.
Colbert and Colbert Team Up Again
Democratic candidate Elizabeth Colbert Busch has proven herself to be a formidable fundraiser capable of competing with her Republican rival Mark Sanford, a former governor and former congressman, in special election for an open South Carolina congressional seat. And now she’s upped her game. Talk about a lengthy VIP list — this “Colberts United” event on Monday features 41 lawmakers! The attendees include (drum roll, please): DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., House minority whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., DNC head Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md. Additional hosts include high-powered Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta and his brother, liberal think tank czar John Podesta — and we haven’t even mentioned that big brother Stephen Colbert will be there! The massive party takes place at B. Smith’s inside Union Station, and guests will have to fork over $10,000 to get in. So much for Colbert Busch being a D.C. outsider…
Rand Rakes It In
Current Republican starlet Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is cashing in on his surge in popularity with a breakfast on Thursday. Although he stumbled through “a polite but tough reception“ at Howard University earlier this week, Paul is hoping to right the ship in a more welcoming atmosphere — the law offices of Covington and Burling in downtown D.C. The fundraising breakfast will cost PACs $1,000 and individuals $500.
Women Win at Klobuchar’s Funder
Hurray for women! Especially women that help you raise campaign money! Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is hosting her Annual Women Winning Breakfast this year on Wednesday morning — early on Wednesday morning. The start time was pushed back to 7:30 AM — but don’t worry, Klobuchar promises “we’ll have enough coffee to go around!” The host committee is packed with winning women , such as top lobbyists Linda Daschle, Susan Buck, Daniella Landau and more. The event is located at the law firm McGuire Woods — right on K Street. For guests that would like to take part in the winning, they’ll have to lose anywhere from $2,600 to $500.
Alaska Lt. Gov. Eyes Senate Seat
One of the most vulnerable senators in 2014 will be Mark Begich, D-Alaska — he barely won in 2008 and is facing stiff competition from the right in 2014. Popping up on the official National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraising list is the state’s lieutenant governor, Mead Treadwell, who is weighing a challenge against Begich. It appears he’s more than just thinking about it now, hosting a “Birthday Celebration and Meet + Greet” on Friday at the Westin in D.C. Although the invite states “No donations are requested,” the very next sentence solicits “voluntary contributions up to $2,600″ — sounds like a request to PT! The guests that do donate will benefit the Treadwell for Alaska Exploratory Committee. The question now is will he or won’t he; the number of donations on Friday may help answer that question.
Alexander Continues Partying Hard
With 10 funders planned in 2013, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is officially a party animal. And this week he’s not letting up, holding two events for his campaign committee. The first is a dinner on Tuesday at the brand new Osteria Elisir in downtown Washington. (It’s so authentic, you can even view the menu in Italian — oh wait, all it does is take the website and put it through Google translate.) Hosting the dinner will be Andy Mekelburg, VP of Government Relations at Verizon, Jay Perron, VP of Governmental Affairs at the International Franchise Association, and former Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Katie Hays. Tickets will cost $2,000 across the board.
The second funder for Alexander is a Thursday breakfast most likely inside the offices of Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell, a multi-national lawfirm. The firm’s political committee as well as Healthways Inc. will be hosting the event, which will run PACs up to $2,500 and humans up to $1,000. Alexander’s torrid party schedule has been paying off as well — his campaign’s already crossed the $1 million mark!
Check the calendar for the full slate of events. Until next time, Partiers.Tweet
Sure, there’s a new pope and he’s very humble and nice and all, but Party Time is more excited for the return of another nearly omnipotent figure — the Partier-In-Chief! Yes, President and heavyweight champion fundraiser Barack Obama is back, heading West for a Democratic gold rush in early April. The swing will retire some DNC debt and generate some cash for the DCCC as it launches into the 2014 midterm battle. Buzzfeed obtained an email sent by Bay Area Democrats Chair Wade Randlett describing the events: An April 4 brunch with a remarkable $32,000 price tag, as well as a lunch later that day that costs as much as $20,000. It seems like Obama hasn’t lost his touch — in fact, he looks better than ever.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; next week alone offers a bevy of quality parties to check out. See the highlights below.
Dingell raises funds with guns
After California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein’s verbal assault on Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a full ban on assault weapons yesterday — so what better time to have a fundraiser featuring guns! Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., will be having his Annual Pheasant Shoot on Monday in the small town of Boonsboro, Md. Dingell is an avid sportsman and vehemently pro-gun, receiving A+ ratings from the NRA. Prices are TBD, so if you’ve got the invite send it in here!
Cash Course for Crapo
Ever since Mormon Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, had that small drunk driving incident earlier this year, he’s been lying low in Party Time (and everywhere else). But that respite appears over, as PT picked up on eight upcoming parties planned in 2013 for his leadership PAC Freedom Fund, three of which are happening next week. He’ll be starting out with a Tuesday breakfast at top international law firm Faegre Baker Daniels on K Street, costing up to $2,500/PAC and $1,000/individual. Two days later, Crapo will be doubling up. First, he’ll celebrate the annual NCAA tournament with a March Madness Kick Off at the townhouse of Diageo — oddly enough, the world’s biggest producer of alcoholic drinks (Guinness, Smirnoff, Bailey’s, Captain Morgan, etc.). Prices for that event are also $2,500/PAC and $1,000/individual. Later that day, Crapo (pronounced CRAY-POE) will rush to Ruth’s Chris Steak House for dinner, again at the same price point. With all this partying scheduled, maybe Crapo should pump the brakes a bit.
Barrasso’s boys club
It’s going to be a boys night out for Senate Republicans on Monday, as Wyoming’s John Barrasso hosts his Leadership Reception. Riding along in the “Bro-jan Horse” will be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, John Thune, R-S.D., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan. It’s taking place right at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C. and will run guests as much as $5,000/PAC and $2,500/individual. The event will be benefiting his leadership fund, Common Values PAC (apparently the only value they approve of having in common is conservatism). And don’t worry, girls are allowed — as long as they bring the entry fee.
GOP forgives, forgets and fundraises for DesJarlais
Talk about forgive and forget — House Republicans forgave, forgot and are now fundraising for embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. Or at least some of them. As a practicing doctor, the pro-life, family-values oriented lawmaker encouraged not only his wife to have an abortion, but his mistress and patients as well, according to divorce proceedings. The controversy is apparently too much for one Republican, Minnesotan John Kline, who said this week he would not attend the event after originally lending his name to it. But other DesJarlais colleagues are evidently on board to help Tuesday at the Capitol Hill Club, such as House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa, Calif., and Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Frank Lucas, Okla., as well as Reps. Jim Jordan, Ohio, Tom Price, Ga., and Steve Scalise, La. The price to let everyone know you’ve truly forgiven DesJarlais is $1,000/PAC and $500/individual.
#Stand (and #fundraise) with Rand
Fresh off his filiblizzard of now-CIA Director John Brennan, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will be capitalizing on all that attention with a Reception and Dinner on Tuesday. It’s located at the UPS townhouse, and transportation industry groups like BNSF RailPAC are hosting. Also on the host committee are eye-popping groups like the National Association for Gun Rights (which sits to the right of the NRA, and has contributed to Paul before) and the PAC of the infamous nonprofit group Citizens United. And don’t forget the power lobbyists like Doyce Boesch, Kirk Blalock and Hunter Bates. If you’d like to stand with Rand, and use him as your personal sounding board, just pony up $5,000 per PAC or $2,500 per person.
Paul Ryan makes a “Schocking” appearance
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., released a new budget proposal that “changed the conversation” on fixing America’s economy… according to Paul Ryan. If you’d like to hear Ryan talk about his game-changing policies, catch him stumping for conservative young gun Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., at his Reception and Dinner on March 21. It takes place at the Five Points Washington — Washington, Illinois, that is. The fundraiser exhibits how highly the former VP candidate thinks of Schock — Ryan’s been in high demand since the election, but has largely stayed off the party circuit. Plus it’s only $250 to get in — all the more reason to attend.
In case you missed it
Mr. Indecision A.K.A. Newark Mayor Cory Booker also has three events this week benefiting his Senate campaign committee, but PT already covered his fundraising explosion with a detailed stand-alone post here. Also make sure to read up the surge of fundraisers for lawmakers involved in the debate over immigration reform, featuring corporate-sponsored funders for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, members of the “Gang of 8″ and more.
Until next time, Partiers!
Photo courtesy of Pete Souza via Wikimedia CommonsTweet
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Black Friday has launched that super-commercialized door-busting retail onslaught, also known as the holiday season. Much like shoppers rushing out at 4 a.m. to snag the best deals, politicians are hustling in the weeks after Election Day to throw parties and raise some serious holiday dough.
Check out the highlights below, and send us your invites here!
2014, Start Your Engines
If you thought you were safe from political campaigning, think again. Some politicians have already started preparing for their 2014 bids, beginning with some old fashioned partying. Class II Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., are both hosting fundraisers in the upcoming week, despite their elections being two years away.
Chambliss is making his desire clear with the “Quarterly Max-Out Reception,” not so subtly suggesting that donors contribute as much as they can to the campaign. The suggested price for this Monday event at the Capitol Hill Club is $5,000 for PACs and $2,500 for individuals, the maximum amount allowed for one election cycle. What a coincidence!
Inhofe is celebrating his birthday with style at the “Annual Joe’s Stone Crab Reception” on Wednesday. For as much as $2,500 or as little as $500, you too can enjoy Florida stone crab right here in D.C! (But that’s not as impressive as it sounds, however, as the crab can be found in places like Texas and Connecticut…) The event name refers to the famous Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach, which is turning 100 next year. If you can’t make it to the party but still want some tasty crab, you’re in luck – Joe’s delivers all across the continental U.S.
Lose Some, Lose Some More
For Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, R, Election Day didn’t go as planned. His political committee, RANDPAC, bet against all the wrong candidates, resulting in a total success rate of 0% – and a loss of $500,000. Check the races he influenced (or tried to) below from Follow the Unlimited Money:
Ouch, that hurts. Perhaps to offset these losses, Paul will be hosting a luncheon on Nov. 29 at fundraising favorite Johnny’s Half Shell. Admission will cost up to $5,000 to sponsor, up to $2,500 to host, and up to $1,000 to attend. Just 500 attendees and he’ll be in the clear!
Debt Retirement Alert
Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently prevailed in his Senate race, and now he needs to pay off some of that burdensome campaign debt – about $1.2 million of it. To accomplish this, Cruz is doubling up on Wednesday, hosting a $2,000 “Debt Retirement Reception” followed by a $5,000 “Debt Retirement Dinner” with a special guest, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Party Time covered the world of debt retirement fundraisers earlier this month – check it out!
Crapo Does Double Time
Senior Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo (it’s pronounced “Cray-poe”!) isn’t taking an extended Thanksgiving break, getting right back to his busy Washington schedule – of partying, that is. Crapo is pulling a double ‘draiser, hosting two benefits on Tuesday. He’ll fill up with a $2,000/$1,000 lunch, take an afternoon siesta, and then head over to Charlie Palmer’s for a dinner at the same price point. If Crapo is still eating that much food soon after a Thanksgiving meal, maybe he deserves the money.
Just like Black Friday has encroached upon other holidays, with some stores this year opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, fundraising season is chewing up more of the political calendar — just ask Mitch McConnell, who held a $2,500 dinner the night after the election.
Perhaps lawmakers should follow the “Buy Nothing Day” movement, an international day of protest against high-octane consumerism, and chill their fundraising efforts. Activities of Buy Nothing Day include: The Whirl-Mart, where participants silently steer their shopping carts around a store in a “long, baffling conga line” without putting anything in them; and the Zombie Walk, where people wander around malls staring at shoppers with a blank expression on their face. I have a feeling that some politicians wouldn’t be so bad at that last one.
Until next time, Partiers!Tweet
An upcoming Washington, D.C. fundraiser for former Rep. Mark Neumann, R-Wis., who is running for the open Senate seat in Wisconsin, is hosted by a biotechnology lobbyist with ties to GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., are listed as special guests. Both senators have endorsed Neumann.
This is the first DC-based fundraising invitation Party Time has received for Neumann, who ran and lost a bid for the gubernatorial race in 2010. He will likely face Democratic candidate Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the general election next year, which is considered a toss up, despite Baldwin’s large fundraising advantage. Neumann is expected to get extra help from outside conservative interests.
The lobbyist hosting the fundraiser, Allen Shofe, works for the firm Emergent Biosolutions, and reportedly does congressional outreach for Huntsman. He was one of a long list of hosts for a June 15 Washington, D.C. event raising money for Horizon PAC, a political action committee that has been linked to the presidential candidate, although the campaign claims it is not connected. In the past, Shofe has hosted fundraisers for Sen. Scott Brown, R.-Mass., and other Republicans and Shofe has worked for drug company Eli Lilly and tobacco interests. He did not return a call for comment.
Baldwin recently had a joint fundraiser with Democratic Massachusetts candidate Elizabeth Warren.
Note: The original version of this post mistakenly stated that Sen. Tom Coburn represented Maryland.Tweet
For freshman members of Congress looking to expand their influence in the legislature establishing a leadership PAC is a well-travelled route. Of the 12 freshmen Republicans in the Senate, nine have formed leadership PACs (although four of those Republicans did so during their terms as House Members). Only Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., have yet to form a leadership PAC. Party Time has received invitations to several events benefitting these various PACs, two of which are scheduled for this week.
Tomorrow evening, Rand Paul’s, R-Ky., leadership PAC (RAND PAC), will be at the offices of R.B. Murphy and Associates for cocktails and dinner. The fundraiser will be hosted by a number of lobbyists and PACs including Hunter Bates, who was once chief of staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The Senate Minority Leader himself will also be at the dinner. This is the first event invitation in the Party Time records to feature both Kentucky senators since Paul was elected. Suggested contributions for the RAND PAC event run from $500 to $2,500.
The following night of June 29, Kelly PAC, the leadership PAC of Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., will be holding a Defense Industry Dinner at Bobby Van’s Grill. Details on the invitation are few so it is unknown which representatives of the “defense industry” will be present, but Sen. Ayotte has been building her national defense gravitas since arriving in the Senate in January. Her leadership PAC, established in February, has been holding regular events since May. Listed contributions range from $500 for an individual to $2,000 for a PAC co-host.
*Correction: This post was updated after it was discovered that McConnell hosted a fundraiser for Paul during his senatorial campaign.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)
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.