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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 - 10.20.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama hit up ATM states; Rand Paul, Chris Christie party in Iowa; Rick Scott beats the FanGate heat with a Florida fundraiser

Hey, party people, hey! The whirlwind of pre-midterm political fundraising continues this week, with another packed social calendar that takes us from Illinois to Iowa, from California to the Carolinas. It’s crunch time, folks, so ready those checkbooks!

While most politicos are hitting the road for ATM states (New York, California) or key presidential primary pockets (South Carolina, Iowa), we have to salute one guy heading to the beach – on a Wednesday, no less. Sen. Bob Menendez is throwing a two-day retreat for his leadership PAC at the Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico, with tickets going for $5,000 a pop. The New Jersey Democrat – who faced an ethics complaint in 2012 for not disclosing flights to the Dominican Republic gifted by a campaign donor – isn’t up for reelection until 2018.

Whether they are catching some sunshine or chatting at a reception, this week’s schedule runs the gauntlet of fundraising ploys. But what have we missed, faithful partiers? If you know of something in the works, you know what to do! Use our confidential upload page right here, or email us invites or news clippings.

Buckle up, friends! Here is your busy week in political parties.

Hillary does California
Becoming a grandmother shook up Hillary Clinton’s travel plans, but only a little bit. In the days immediately following the arrival of tiny tot Charlotte, Clinton canceled a fundraiser for influential New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro and dispatched husband Bill to sub for her at a party for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown.

But the potential grandmother-in-chief was back at work sooner rather than later, packing her bags for fundraiser appearances in Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, Denver and Louisville. This week, she has two high-profile stops in deep blue California, where she will raise money for Democratic House and Senate candidates.

On Monday, Clinton heads to downtown San Francisco for an event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Called the “Ultimate Women’s Power Luncheon,” it (a) pairs Clinton with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and (b) makes us want to talk in that deep voice from movie trailers. It’s $500 for one seat at the Fairmont Hotel lunch, but a VIP reception and photo will cost you $32,400.

Later that day, Clinton is the special guest at a reception and dinner at see-and-be-seen L.A. restaurant Tavern. The party’s host list includes Hollywood heavy hitters Alan and Cindy Horn, Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jolene and Michael Rapino, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is seen as a “coming out of sorts” for a possible Clinton White House run in 2016. The pricey get-together – $32,400 per person – benefits a joint fundraising committee with a long list of signers-on, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a handful of state Democratic parties and the campaign committees of Senate candidates in tight races (as in, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, Kentucky candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Georgia candidate Michelle Nunn, West Virginia candidate Natalie Tennant, etc., etc.). Whew!

Side note: The potential grandfather-in-chief is getting in on the action this week, too. Former President Bill Clinton will headline a party on Tuesday for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and an evening reception on Thursday for New Jersey’s Bonnie Watson Coleman, who has her eye on her state’s open 12th District House seat. These are the latest Party Time stops for Bubba, who has been a highly sought-after surrogate for Democratic candidates this cycle.

Obama heads home
President Barack Obama starts out his week in his adopted home state of Illinois to provide a boost for Gov. Pat Quinn and the Democratic National Committee. On Sunday, Obama rallied the troops at a get-out-the-vote event for Quinn. (Earlier this month, Obama attended a $50,000-per-person house party for the Illinois Democrat; first lady Michelle Obama lent her support, too, during $10,000-per-plate event followed by a public rally.)

Come Monday, the partier-in-chief is the special guest at a DNC event at the Chicago home of philanthropist Barbara Goodman Manilow. This isn’t Manilow’s first rodeo, though: Her Lincoln Park home was the site of an April 2013 party for Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign.

Though Obama canceled not just onebut two events last week for Ebola-related meetings at the White House, he seems to be getting back on the trail this week. His schedule also has him attending a D.C. event on Thursday for the Democratic National Committee. If you have the invite, email us the deets!

Republicans hunker down in Iowa
Sure, the next presidential race is still two years off. But for the Republican Party, which lacks a shoo-in nominee, that just means 24 more months of pushing and shoving among the GOP’s deep roster of White House wannabes. Elbows out, folks!

That jostling becomes even more apparent when looking at politicians’ travel into Iowa, site of the first caucuses of the presidential primary season. Although Iowans do party on their own (please see: Tuesday’s Ronald Reagan Dinner for the state’s Republican Party, which features Gov. Terry Branstad and Senate candidate Joni Ernst), more times than not, fundraisers include an out-of-stater with an eye on 2016 who is looking to ingratiate himself to local party officials and donors.

On Wednesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is slated to do just that at a family BBQ for Iowa state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann. Ernst will also attend the $25-per-plate party.

According to Party Time’s records, this is Paul’s seventh trip in 2014 to the Hawkeye State. No word on what Paul – recently dubbed “The Most Interesting Man in Politics” by Time – is planning to say at the BBQ, but we anticipate something interesting.

On Saturday, Gov. Chris Christie shuffles into Iowa for a birthday party for Branstad. But don’t let the invite’s quaint clip art fool you: This is one pricey b-day bash. Although $65 gets you into the festivities, you’ll have to shell out upwards of $25,000 for birthday cake and a prime seat. The New Jersey Republican, head of the Republican Governors Association and a likely presidential candidate, has kept a very busy party schedule this year, glad-handing donors in just about every key primary and/or swing state.

Florida heats up
With all of the compounding outside demands, running for office isn’t easy. It’s a pressure cooker of sorts, and certainly not for people who can’t keep their cool. So, when Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., initially refused to join his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist, onstage for their debate because the latter had a fan under his podium, you can imagine that the Republican caught some heat for it.

Indeed, FanGate threatened to overshadow the content of the debate itself, and, silly as it may seem, it may follow Scott around in the final crucial weeks before the election. After all, Jon Stewart weighed in on the steamy situation and the Atlantic’s Molly Ball wrote a profile on the portable electronic. Like at last week’s debate, the fan isn’t going anywhere, and Scott will have to sweat it out until the controversy cools off.

You know what might help? A party, of course! Fellow Floridians Sen. Marco Rubio, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and former Gov. Jeb Bush will gather on Friday at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables to toast Scott and raise some serious cash for his campaign. After all of the FanGate blowback, it’ll be a breath of fresh air to spend time with supporters.

(Party Time does not apologize for the magnitude of fan-related language in the above graphs. We stand by our word choices.)

And with that, we’ve got a wrap on the week in political parties! What have we missed, and what have you heard of? Upload the goods right here, or shoot us an email.

Photo courtesy Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 10.06.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Barack Obama raises goop-loads of money with Gwyneth Paltrow; Joe Biden, Carole King make donors sing; Mitt Romney fundraises with Republican heavyweights; plus, a “Game of Thrones” party


Hello, party people! This week’s social calendar is a little less packed than recent weeks, but most of the parties on the books boast big names and carry a high price tag. Over here at Party Time, we like to think of that as strategic partying: If you can charge way more money at a handful of events with well-known faces, then you get to take off an afternoon or two. Treat yourself.

The fundraiser schedule this week leans to the left, but we know Republicans love a good party as much as their Democratic counterparts. Have you heard about a GOP party in the works? If you know of a fundraiser, you know what to do! Upload all of those official invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got.

And now, for your weekly dose of political partying!

Partier-in-chief parties on and on and on
President Barack Obama’s fundraising schedule has felt a little helter skelter lately, with events cropping up seemingly on the fly (please see last week’s Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event that we – and the White House press pool – found out about as it was happening). We know the president’s team plans everything to a T, so we are always surprised when there’s absolutely no pre-party buzz around a presidential pop-in.

But that’s about to change this week, as the fundraiser-in-chief is slated to attend five very buzzy, on-the-books parties. The most-talked-about shindig among them has to be Thursday’s reception and dinner at Gwyneth Paltrow’s Los Angeles home. Yes, the creator of Goop (it’s where she shares “all of life’s positives,” according to the lifestyle site’s About page) and the user of phrases like “conscious uncoupling” is hosting a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee, with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $32,400. It’s the second time the mega movie star has lent her name to a fundraiser invite with the prez: In 2012, she threw a dinner for Obama’s reelection campaign in London with buddies Anna Wintour and Tom Ford.

On Friday, Obama heads up the California coast for another DNC fundraiser, this one at San Francisco City Hall. PT records show that back-to-back events in moneyed, deep-blue pockets of the Left Coast is an often-repeated partying plan, but one we haven’t seen since July, when Obama did a Seattle to S.F. to L.A. cash grab.

But Obama doesn’t leave all of the partying for the end of the week. He actually starts off the fundraising fun on Tuesday with a three-in-one-day swing that takes him from New York to Connecticut.

An afternoon reception for the DNC at Chef Floyd Cardoz’s new restaurant, White Street in Tribeca, gets together some big names in Big Apple politics. Anne Hess, Craig Kaplan and Sarah and Victor Kovner, who all give loads of cash#mce_temp_url# to local and national Dems, will party with Broadway producer Margo Lion and the president. And another afternoon event, this one billed as a reception and discussion with President Barack Obama, will go down at the Manhattan home of power couple Bill White and Bryan Eure. Cash raised at the $25,000-per-person fundraiser will go straight to the DNC.

In the evening, Obama is off to Connecticut for a fundraiser at the Greenwich home of Richard and Ellen Schapps Richman. Tickets to the party for the DSCC start at $10,000, which is almost a bargain, considering the couple hosted Obama at a $30,000-per-plate fundraiser in 2010.

Whew! That’s a full week of presidential partying, if you ask us.

Joe hits the road for the ladies
The second in command gets in on the fundraising action this week with two on-the-road parties tailored for female House and Senate candidates. Get ready to gas up Air Force Two!

Vice President Joe Biden hits the money trail on Monday with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at a cocktail reception for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Hollywood muckety-mucks – Fox executive Jim Gianopulos, former Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and filmmaker James L. Brooks – play host at the “When Women Succeed America Succeeds” themed event, which also features a performance by Carole King. Dust off that vinyl copy of “Tapestry” and get ready to sing along to “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” (And if anyone gets a pic of Biden crooning, please-oh-please send it to your friends at Party Time.)

On Thursday, Biden hits up donors at a Seattle party for a joint fundraising committee Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell set up for female senators and candidates in tight races this year. Cash collected for Cantwell for Women in the Senate 2014 goes to Cantwell (not up for reelection until 2018, FYI), Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and West Virginia Senate candidate Natalie Tennant. Tickets cap out at $5,000.

Romney rakes it in
Mitt Romney continues to bask in his popularity, post presidential run number two. As a highly coveted figure on the campaign trail, Romney has been bouncing around the country this year, stumping for candidates in West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Colorado and Virginia. And his fundraising schedule has been crammed, too, with additional stops in New Jersey, Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana.

As Romney’s calendar filled up, the questions started piling on. Is he staging a comeback, a la “the third time’s the charm”?

The former Massachusetts governor started out the year as a solid “no,” but at the end of last month, he delivered a coy “We’ll see what happens” to a reporter’s question about another run in 2016. Hmmmm.

While we can’t be sure about Romney’s future plans, we do know that he can’t seem to get enough of the partying scene. On Monday evening, he throws a New York City bash for the Republican National Committee with other GOPers just about always on the list of presidential potentials: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Big-time Romney supporter (and New York Jets owner) Woody Johnson and his wife, Suzanne, will host the party at their house, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will also attend.

That’s a lot of big-name Republicans at one get-together, so you know you’ll be writing a hefty check for some face-time. It’s a whopping $32,400 per person to attend.

On Wednesday, Romney heads to Utah to headline a private fundraiser for Mia Love, who is running for her state’s 4th District U.S. House seat. Love narrowly lost in 2012 to Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who is retiring this year. This go-around, Love faces Democrat Doug Owens. This may be her year as a recent poll has her up by 12 points and Sunlight’s Real-Time tool shows her winning the cash contest, too.

“Game of Thrones,” meet Party Time
Politicians glom onto just about anything of-the-moment to help them raise money for their campaigns. Nats game, anyone? Or perhaps a Beyoncé concert?

This week, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., takes advantage of the “Game of Thrones” craze with a fundraiser ploy around the HBO fantasy hit. The Udall camp is raffling off a chance to meet series writer George R. R. Martin during a VIP reception at the novelist’s personal theater. Loop us in if you hear of any spoilers!

And that’s a wrap, party people! Let us know if you hear of anything good going on out there!

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 09.22.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Who has Sen. Pat Roberts, former POTUS Bill Clinton, Sen. Mark Udall, Speaker John Boehner, 20K invites and wants more?? Read on!

Hello, party timers! It’s the last full week of September, and politicians prepping for their midterms with – you guessed it! – fundraisers galore.

But any faithful readers of this blog know it’s never just about the election right in front of us. Sure, Republican Scott Brown (former Massachusetts senator, current New Hampshire Senate candidate) is throwing a reception on Thursday in Manhattan for his November race. But two other prominent GOPers with their eyes on the White House are lending some strategic support this week at parties in the swing state of Virginia.

On Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will indulge in some sweet fundraising at a dessert reception for Barbara Comstock, who is running in the closely watched race for Virginia’s 10th District House seat. The next day, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., continues his frenzied fundraising schedule with a stop in Falls Church for a dinner benefiting the Republican Party of Virginia. If you miss either of those get-togethers, not to worry: Rubio and Paul – along with a batch of other presidential potentials – will gather for a Family Research Council confab in D.C. on Friday.

There’s a lot going on this week, but what have we missed? If you’ve got the goods, you know what to do! Upload official invites right here, or email us whatever you’ve got. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to mention that the Party Time database hit 20,000 invites at the end of last week! So, a big thank you to PT’s friends who made that possible. Huzzah!

Party for Pat
It’s been a tough few months for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. First, he had to hustle during a closer-than-anticipated Republican primary, ultimately elbowing past tea party challenger Milton Wolf by seven points. Then, the Democrat on the general election ballot opted to bow out, blowing open the race and giving independent candidate Greg Orman a real shot. Just last week, a poll showed that, in a head-to-head matchup, Orman leads the 78-year-old Roberts by 10 points.

Kansas may be deep red, but Rothenberg Political Report just called out Roberts as the most vulnerable Republican senator in the country. The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent two of its scrappiest operatives to the Sunflower State, and bigwigs in the party are chipping in, too, throwing a fundraiser for Roberts in D.C. on Tuesday. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., are all slated to headline the event.

We’ve heard mumblings of other parties in the works for Roberts, who is running for his fourth Senate term, but could use some details. If you know what’s going on, loop us in!

Clinton in Colorado
Former President Bill Clinton hasn’t run for office since the mid ’90s, but you’d never know it based on his travel schedule the last few years. In 2012, he bounced all over the country, stumping for President Obama’s reelection campaign, and since then, he’s lent his support to a fistful of candidates at fundraiser appearances.

Initially, Clinton headlined events for fellow Arkansans, or political buddies like Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, or family friends like Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. But Clinton has become the go-to fundraiser for many other struggling Democrats. He has helped out with fundraisers in New Hampshire for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and in Louisiana for Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Come Saturday, Clinton will try to work some of his magic on Colorado voters. He touches down in Denver for a luncheon with Sen. Mark Udall, who is in a neck-and-neck race with Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner. It’s one of the more marquee Senate contests in the country. According to Sunlight’s Real-Time tool, outside groups, including Crossroads GPS and NextGen Climate Action, have spent a combined $17.4 million on the seat so far.

Boehner hits the road
When Party Time read about House Speaker John Boehner’s August recess road trip of campaigning and fundraising, we couldn’t help but wonder if his team made a playlist for the 14-state tour. We imagine a pre-stop ritual similar to that of Dwight Schrute.

Aides better dust off the mixed tape this week, because the Ohio congressman is at it again with three on-the-road fundraisers. On Tuesday, Boehner heads to Glens Falls, N.Y., for a fundraiser for Elise Stefanik, who is running for the Empire State’s 21st District House seat and, to her credit, has had no shortage of parties with bold-named attendees.

Then, Boehner is off to downtown Manchester on Wednesday for a reception for former Rep. Frank Guinta, who is facing off – for the third time – against Rep. Carol Shea-Porter for the 1st District House seat in New Hampshire. Boehner keeps going north on Thursday for a fundraising stop in Maine for Bruce Poliquin. Poliquin, a former state treasurer, is running against Emily Cain for the 2nd District House seat.

O’Malley money
Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., makes no secret of thinking about a White House bid. Last month, he added fuel to the fire when he dispatched campaign staff into Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, all important presidential primary states. And his busy partying schedule is yet another indicator of his 2016 hopes and dreams.

This weekend, O’Malley has makes three tactical partying stops. First up: New Hampshire, where O’Malley has visited four times in 10 months. He headlines a party on Friday for State Sen. Martha Fuller Clark and then does a dinner for the Portsmouth City Democrats. On Sunday, O’Malley gets some Hollywood help at a fundraiser in California for his (cleverly named) PAC, O’Say Can You See. Film producer Moctesuma Esparza and Sony exec Eric Paquette will be on hand to gin up support among guests paying $1,000 per person to party.

And that’s a wrap! What are we missing, and what have you heard about? Send us whatever you’ve got.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 08.04.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Roundup: Senate leaders start recess with dueling fundraisers, Sen. Rand Paul parties in Iowa and who says Republicans don’t love the Left Coast?

Hey party people! Welcome to August, a month known for its sweltering humidity and Congress’s enviable five-week summer recess. As Capitol Hill quiets down, Party Time also plans for a break of our own. We will hit the pause button on our weekly roundups, and plan to be back in September. But our hunt for fundraiser invites never ends! If you know of something good going on, send it our way! If it’s good enough, we’ll break our moratorium for a PT extra!! Go ahead: We challenge you to wake us up from our long August nap.

It’s been a hectic year, with Party Time counting almost 850 fundraisers so far in 2014. But as the countdown to Election Day continues, we are confident that plenty more partying is in our near future. Have you heard of a fundraiser, or do you have an invite? You know what to do! Email us whatever you’ve got, or upload invites right here.

But before we hit the pool and order a summertime adult beverage, let’s check out this week in political parties.

Dueling parties for dueling parties
The Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders may not agree on most anything, but they are spending the first day of summer break the same way: traveling to a party for their party.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., makes his way up to the Garden State on Monday to headline an afternoon reception for David Norcross, a current state senator who is running for New Jersey’s 1st District U.S. House seat. Tickets to the fundraiser go for $2,600 per person.

It’s a partying departure for Reid, who usually sticks to events benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or specific Senate candidates. Plus, the 1st District seat is considered Safe Democrat. But this is no ordinary House hopeful: David Norcross’s brother is George Norcross, an insurance executive and one of the most influential – and deep-pocketed – people in his state’s Democratic circles. George plays host at Monday’s shindig.

Apparently, he and Reid go way back. According to a National Journal story, “‘George has stepped up to help Senator Reid a few times over the years, and I think this is reciprocal loyalty,’ said one source close to the South Jersey Democratic Party apparatus.”

Meanwhile, the Midwest will get some face time with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The minority leader drops in for a reception for the North Dakota Republican Party on Monday evening. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will bring McConnell as a “special guest” to the party at the Bismarck home of Republican state Rep. George Keiser. Details are scarce, so if you know of anything else, send it our way!

Rand running?
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has never been shy about his dreams of a presidential run, telling ABC’s Jonathan Karl back in 2012: “I’m not going to deny that I’m interested.” Since then, he’s only added fuel to the fire, hiring a handful of well-connected (and primary state-based) political operatives for his super PAC, RAND PAC. He’s also a frequent player on Party Time’s social calendar, headlining fundraisers in New Hampshire, Iowa and Ohio, which give him the opportunity to ingratiate himself to voters, local-level party operatives and those all-important donors.

On the heels of announcing that he’s planning to put out a book in early 2015 (“Just coincidence, probably just coincidence, yeah,” Paul told the Courier-Journal about the timing of the release), Paul is embarking on a multiday tour in the Hawkeye State. First up is a Monday evening fundraiser for Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, at a lakefront bar in Okoboji.

On Tuesday, Paul headlines two more events. In the morning, he does a breakfast fundraiser in Clear Lake for the Cerro Gordo County Republicans. This, for the record, is a group that knows how to pull in big-name guests. PT’s records show that, so far this year, Cerro Gordo has also hosted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for a dessert reception and Texas Gov. Rick Perry for a summer BBQ.

Then, it’s off to Iowa City for a noontime party for Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an eye doctor turned head of Iowa’s Department of Public Health turned congressional candidate. Paul, also an eye doctor before he sought political office, headlines the party for Miller-Meeks’s campaign, and Sunlight’s Real-Time tool shows she could use the help. She’s running to unseat Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack, who incidentally has a fundraiser of his own scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Cedar Rapids.

FYI, on Saturday, Paul will be back in Iowa for the daylong Family Leadership Summit, a yearly get-together of Christian conservatives. The confab – put on by the FAMiLY LEADER, Citizens United and Family Research Council’s PAC, and sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, RAND PAC, the Branstad Reynolds Campaign and Texans for Rick Perry – features a long list of conservative darlings, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, former Gov. Sarah Palin, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Kicking off summer vacay right
Party Time thinks Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., are super smart party people. Not only are they getting five weeks off, the pair are jumpstarting things far afield of their home districts with some drool-worthy getaways in California.

On Tuesday, Shimkus starts his four-day Napa getaway at the luxurious Solage Calistoga (you “may never want to leave,” the hotel’s website faux-warns). The invite promises five or six wine tours over two days, and a private tour bus for the wine tastings. But it’ll cost you: It’s $1,500 per person or $3,000 per PAC.

As Shimkus wraps up his NorCal retreat, Whitfield gets started with his similarly priced weekend in Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hills Hotel will play host as the congressman and donors hobnob during dinner, drinks and some quality time at a poolside cabana on Saturday.

Party people, those are the week’s highlights! As we take a blogging break, remember to keep Party Time posted about whatever fundraisers you hear about out there during summer break. Email us whatever you’ve got, or upload invites right here. See you in September!

Photo courtesy Pixabay

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 06.09.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Mitt Romney parties big, Sen. Mary Landrieu throws crawfish fest in D.C., and Republicans fundraise in Iowa

Hello, party people! It’s been a busy few weeks on our social calendar, with some politicians raising last-minute cash before their primary elections and others throwing down last-minute endorsements. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to political partying.

It’s a lot to keep up with, and we can always use an extra helping hand or two. When you take a look at this week’s schedule, what have we missed? Email us tips and newspaper clippings, or upload official invites right here. What have you heard about, faithful partiers? Let us know!

As we look ahead to this packed week of fundraising, the Partier-in-Chief anchors our schedule with a Wednesday event in Boston. President Barack Obama will headline a par-tay for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is slated to attend. After a busy May, Party Time counts this as Obama’s first of four fundraisers scheduled (so far) for June.

What else is on the books for the week? So glad you asked …

Republicans heart Romney
The Democratic Party knows that President Obama can still encourage donors to write fat checks. That’s why its various campaign committees continue to dispatch him to high-dollar events, even as Democratic candidates don’t seem super excited to have him campaign on their behalf.

It’s an awkward situation for Obama, and one that’s thrown into sharp relief when comparing it to the year Mitt Romney is having. Yes, the guy who unsuccessfully ran for president (twice!) is more popular – and more in demand – than the current Commander in Chief.

Romney is partying all over the place, appearing in TV ads, and, as the Daily Beast put it, he’s “batting 1,000 [sic] in the 2014 GOP primary game”: all of the candidates he endorsed this go-around have won their primaries.

The GOP-Romney love connection continues this week with two events. First, the former Massachusetts governor travels on Monday to Manhattan for a reception for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Then, on Thursday, Romney kicks off his Third Annual Policy Summit and Leadership Retreat in Park City, Utah. The three-day event features a who’s-who of Romney’s inner circle (his wife, Ann, and their son, Tagg, and his old business partner, Bob White), famous faces (the Broncos’ Peyton Manning, New York Jets owner Woody Johnson), potential 2016-ers (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan), and business world muckety-mucks (Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, Univision head Randy Falco).

Crawfish for cash
Sen. Mary Landrieu is in a tight race. Polls have the Louisiana Democrat a few points behind her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, and Rothenberg calls the contest a “Pure Toss-up.” Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker shows that the candidates are spending millions on their race, and outside groups have already weighed in to the tune of $2.5 million.

As she seeks her fourth term in office, Landrieu is touting her Bayou State bona fides, releasing two ads with her father, former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, and, as head of the Senate’s Energy Committee, slamming President Obama’s new global warming rule. This week, she’s even got a home state-themed fundraiser planned for D.C.

On Wednesday evening, Landrieu throws her 13th Annual Crawfish Fest in Capitol Hill (please-oh-please click the link for the clip art masterpiece that is this invite). Tickets start at $50 and climb to $1,000 for a plate at the soirée.

Hawking for money in the Hawkeye State
Whenever Iowa pops up on a politician’s schedule, Party Time – and political watchers everywhere – take note. As the host of the first-in-the-country caucuses, visits to Iowa often are equated with presidential ambition. And this upcoming weekend is no different.

PT counted three parties on the books in Iowa this weekend, all circling around the Republican State Convention on Saturday in Des Moines. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum – all mentioned as possible GOP White House contenders in 2016 – will each speak at the convention.

That’ll be Jindal’s second gig of the weekend. He actually kicks things off on Friday with a fundraiser for the state’s Republican Party.

And Paul is getting in on the action, too. He’s invited to a cocktail roundtable after the convention on Saturday evening. Iowa’s own Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley will all be on hand, too, to hobnob with donors. According to the Des Moines Register, the National Republican Senatorial Committee organized the party for the Iowa Victory Committee.

Get ready, Iowa. You’ve got an epic weekend of political partying ahead of you.

Corbett + Christie + cash
Gov. Tom Corbett is not doing so hot. A poll released by Quinnipiac last week showed the Republican earning low marks with voters in his home state of Pennsylvania – 55 percent of voters disapprove of his job performance and 58 percent don’t think he should get reelected. In a head-to-head matchup between Corbett and his Democratic challenger, businessman Tom Wolf, voters are going with Wolf, big time. That same poll found that Wolf topples Corbett by 20 points.

Corbett’s underdog status is catnip to Gov. Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor makes his way to Philly on June 9 for a fundraiser for his fellow Republican. Christie’s Monday event is the latest in a string of well-documented party appearances by the Republican Governors Association chairman (and comes a few days before the big Park City confab with Romney intimates).

West Coast party for West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant
As the Rockefeller political dynasty cruises to its finish line – in January 2013, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he wouldn’t seek reelection – political operatives on both sides of the aisle are angling for a seat that’s been in Democratic hands since 1958. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., had her eye on the Senate position even before Rockefeller announced his retirement, but Dems didn’t have a candidate named until last fall, when former Secretary of State Natalie Tennant threw her hat into the ring.

Sunlight’s Real-Time tracker shows Capito is winning the money game, so far out-fundraising Tennant $4,347,636 to $1,746,716. Sounds like it’s time for a party! EMILY’S List and Progressive Women Silicon Valley will host Tennant Thursday evening for an expensive fundraiser in fancy-pants Portola Valley, Calif., a long way from the Mountain State. The reception will put you back at least $100, but in order to snag a seat at dinner, plan to write a check for a cool $2,600.

And that’s a wrap, you partying fiends! What have we missed and what have you heard about? Email us whatever you’ve got, or upload official invites right here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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2014 elections 2016 presidential Uncategorized • POSTED - 05.12.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Hillary Clinton hits the fundraiser circuit; President Obama, Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker in New York for Wall Street-hosted parties

Most of the time, Party Time is a great place to work. And then sometimes, it’s totally awesome.

It’s been a phenomenal few weeks over here at Political Party Time – fundraising season is picking up, invites and tips are coming to our inbox, and some truly noteworthy parties are keeping us busy.

Last week we told you about President Barack Obama’s hectic midweek party schedule in California, with five fundraisers in two days. Before the trip, we learned of some specifics, but the juiciest tidbits came afterwards, when the reporters who cover the president when he travels, sent back details from the road.

For example, we learned that the site of one fundraiser – the expansive Bel Air home of Disney Studios head Alan Horn – includes a chicken coop near the property’s guest house. This, fundraising friends, is a Party Time first: chicken coops and campaign cash. The reporter said the coop contained “perhaps a rooster,” which makes us giggle to think of fancy-pants Bel Air folks waking to the sound of a rooster’s crow.

During a San Diego luncheon with Obama, the group of traveling reporters was stationed near a bathroom that contained a ToTo toilet, an engineering phenom that has – among other perks – a heated seat. Using all of our investigative reporting skills, our Google search found that these spiffy toilets can go for around $5,000. (And for a bit of perspective, tickets to this funder started at $10,000. Buy two toilets or go to an Obama-headlined lunch? Decisions, decisions!)

Before we get to this week’s gems, give us a minute to deliver that friendly reminder to send us whatever party goodies you’ve heard while out and about. We want it all – newspaper clippings, hot tips and gossip, official invites. Email us, or upload what you’ve got right here. And we keep our sources 100 percent confidential, so you can feel comfortable sharing.

And now, party people, your week in political fundraisers!

More money for Marjorie
Marjorie Margolies, running for the Pennsylvania House seat she held for one term in 1993, has Clinton connections to spare. One of the reasons Margolies only served one term is that she cast the deciding vote for then-President Bill Clinton’s budget – not the most popular move in the Republican wave of 1994. And her son, Marc Mezvinsky, is married to Chelsea Clinton, who announced in April that she is pregnant with their first child.

Last week, the New York Times ran a story that wondered about the Clintons’ lack of involvement in the Pennsylvania race. But over here at Party Time, we were left scratching our heads. After all, last October, Margolies benefited from a Madeleine Albright-headlined party, and in April, Bill Clinton went to Philly for a fundraiser.

Yes, but what about headline-grabbing, potential presidential candidate Hillary? Well, the wait is over, folks – the Margolies campaign is having a fundraiser May 15 with H. Clinton herself. And although Clinton has been making plenty of political comments during paid speaking gigs, this is her first step into officially political territory this year (PT records show her last fully political outing was an L.A. lunch for Terry McAuliffe during his successful campaign for Virginia governor).

Now for the good stuff, party people: Thursday’s four-figure funder is at the Upper East Side home of Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Aside from having one of the toniest names PT has ever come across, de Rothschild is definitely one of the more colorful iconoclasts to grace our columns. An ardent Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, de Rothschild opted to endorse Sen. John McCain over Obama in that year’s general election, saying at one point of the Democratic nominee: “I feel like he is an elitist.” This from a billionaire who runs a private investment company and who, during a remodel of a London home once owned by artist John Singer Sargent, made sure the property’s new gym had “a mirrored ceiling for Lynn’s stretching sessions,” according to a story in W Magazine.

In fact, de Rothschild’s zingers are so good that, on the heels of the fundraiser announcement, Mother Jones compiled a list; Slate, meanwhile, collected her best video clips because, yes, they are that good.

So, to recap: Marjorie Margolies, running for a House seat representing suburban Philadelphia, is having a fancy fundraiser with Hillary. And Lady Lynn. On Thursday. In Manhattan.

We couldn’t make it up, even if we tried.

GOP-ers go head-to-head in Big Apple
Two top-tier Wisconsin Republicans are slated to attend separate fundraisers in New York City as part of what Politico dubbed the “Wall Street primary.” Tuesday’s parties will allow Rep. Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, both often called out as potential presidential contenders, to glad-hand financial bigwigs and test the 2016 waters.

Ryan, who chairs the House Committee on the Budget, will party with hedge fund heavyweights Paul Singer and Cliff Asness, as well as New York Jets owner Woody Johnson. Although the crux of the get-together likely will be economic issues, it’s worth noting that Singer and Asness are outspoken supporters of gay marriage. In 2012, Singer threw down $1 million to start American Unity PAC, which urges Republican politicians to support marriage equality.

A few blocks away, Walker will be the headliner at a Republican National Committee fundraiser. It’s yet another step into the national spotlight for the Badger State governor, who rather famously beat back a recall challenge after he cut collective bargaining rights for most of his state’s public workers. More recently, he’s been partying with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and other bold-named Republicans at American Enterprise Institute’s three-day forum and the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Spring Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas.

Obama keeps the money train going for Dems
You know it’s a busy week when the president’s jaunt to Manhattan for a fundraiser isn’t the most significant highlight. On Wednesday, Obama will headline a party benefiting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and hosted by investment banker Blair W. Effron and private equity guru Jamie Rubin. No, not the ex-State Department flack and hubby of CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour. The Jamie who will be partying with has some pretty sweet connections, though: His dad is former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, a longtime banking exec who is no slouch in the campaign giving department himself. The move certainly doesn’t help to squash comments, like the ones just made by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., about the president’s coziness with Wall Street.

Effron’s Upper East Side mega-apartment – which, post remodel, contains a unit once owned by etiquette expert Emily Post – is the site of the super pricey reception and dinner. Businessweek reported that Effron bought the property for $24.5 million two years ago.

Rand ramps up in Ohio
In just a few short years, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. – aided by name recognition, spot-on messaging skills and a rising and boisterous bloc of libertarian-leaning voters – has moved from the “long-shot” to “presumptive” category in the list of potential 2016 presidential candidates. And Party Time has been watching this shift happen as he, not coincidentally, kicks into high gear his fundraising appearances in key states.

Paul’s Friday role at the Hamilton County Republican Party’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner is just another example. His keynote speech at the Cincinnati fundraiser will get Paul in front of swing state voters, and give him a chance to chat with key Ohio operatives, like Sen. Rob Portman and Gov. John Kasich.

And that’s your busy week in fundraising, partiers! As always, let us know what we’ve missed by emailing us or uploading invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.21.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Politicians stay on their home turf and throw homegrown parties

As the Senate and House continue their two-week vacation – oops, we mean “constituent work week” – Party Time’s social calendar continues to look quite thin. But with Passover and Easter celebrations winding down this week, politicians are starting to get back into the swing of things, partying for dollars while in their home districts. Our schedule, usually overflowing with D.C.-based shindigs, boasts of fundraisers from New Hampshire to Arizona, from New York to Louisiana.

That reminds us, faithful party people: Let us know what’s happening in your home states this week! Is your senator or representative shaking the local money tree? Send us whatever you’ve got by emailing us or uploading invites right here.

And now, here’s your week in parties!

Big Apple, big party

New York Republican Lee Zeldin, vying for his state’s 1st District U.S. House seat, got a big bump last week when the National Republican Congressional Committee named him to its Young Guns “Contender” list. That means more national-level support for his challenge to the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Tim Bishop, and provides another indication of just how much the GOP establishment is getting behind Zeldin’s campaign.

Zeldin, currently a state senator representing Shirley on Long Island, has been in good with national Republicans for years now:  Party Time records show he helped host fundraisers in his home state. And he’s tight with local folks, too, rubbing elbows with New York’s Republican Party chief Ed Cox (who is married, by the way, to the late President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia) and its finance head, Arcadio Casillas.

It’s all coming together Tuesday, when Cox and Casillas host a reception for Zeldin’s campaign. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is the “special guest” at the Manhattan fundraiser, which hopes to raise between $1,000 and $5,200 per person. And Zeldin needs to collect all the cash he can: He may be an establishment favorite, but he still has to face off against the deep-pocketed George Demos (who already loaned his own campaign $2 million) in a June 24 GOP primary.

McCain Money

After his quick trip to the Big Apple, Sen. John McCain heads back to Arizona on Thursday for his first home state fundraiser for his 2016 reelection campaign. The state’s best-known politicians, past and present, are slated to attend the party at Phoenix’s Ritz-Carlton: Gov. Jan Brewer, Sen. Jeff Flake, former Sen. Jon Kyl, former Gov. Fife Symington, former state Attorney General Grant Woods and Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring will mingle with guests who paid upwards of $5,200 a seat. And sports fans can get in on the excitement, too, seeing as Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick and Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver will also be there.

A recent poll indicates McCain may be susceptible to a from-the-right primary challenger in his run for a sixth term in the Senate. Although that primary – and the general race – is still quite a ways off, the Citizens United Political Victory Fund’s poll did find that 64.2 percent of Arizonans think it’s “time to give a new person the chance to do the job.” PT’s records show that McCain started stockpiling his campaign war chest in December because, as he told the Arizona Republic, he wants to be sure he’s “fully prepared” for the race.

Ted Cruz hearts New Hampshire

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, makes his way to the East Coast a few days before the Senate is back in session to hobnob with the locals in New Hampshire, further stoking speculation about his 2016 aspirations. He may be saying it’s too soon to be sure about a run for the White House, but Cruz’s strategic partying schedule begs to differ.

This upcoming weekend, Cruz stops first in Carroll County on Saturday for a Lincoln Day Dinner, where attendees can throw down $100 for dinner and a photo with the senator. Then, on Sunday, he’ll attend a fundraiser for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, the group blasting Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., with radio ads that tie her to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.

The Texan sure does love that Granite State air – he was just in Manchester for the Freedom Summit a few weeks ago! And a report from that event found that the predominantly Tea Party crowd preferred Cruz to another conservative favorite, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Keep your eyes peeled for these two to continue duking it out on the early primary states’ fundraiser and speaker circuit (and let us know what you hear about).

Old home week

A handful of extremely savvy partiers are taking advantage of their time back at home and throwing local fundraisers with an eye toward what makes their state unique. So, Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., is having a Trifecta Weekend in Louisville with tours of Churchill Downs, site of the Kentucky Derby, and events at whiskey purveyors Makers Mark and Jim Beam. Bottoms up!

Starting on Friday, New Orleans comes together for Jazz Fest, the city’s annual celebration of music and arts, and wouldn’t you know it, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is throwing a fundraiser to celebrate. Tickets to her Big Easy Weekend start at $5,000 for two people. (And looks like Landrieu could use a jazzy weekend: She’s already engaged in a bit of an advertising war in Louisiana, with some back-and-forth on footage she used in a TV spot.)

And, finally, Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis rounds out the weekend with a Backyard BBQ at the Houston home of lawyer Steve Mostyn (who recently hosted President Obama for a swanky DNC fundraiser). The Democrat, raising funds for her run at the governor’s mansion, knows what her constituents like – BBQ will be served, and Willie Nelson will perform at Sunday’s event.

And that’s a wrap, party people! If you hear of anything happening out there, let us know.

Photo courtesy Gage Skidmore, Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 04.07.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Après McCutcheon, le party deluge?

Party people, welcome to the first Monday after McCutcheon.

We are bracing ourselves for an influx of fundraiser invites, seeing as the Supreme Court gave a heave-ho to that pesky cap on aggregate contributions. Now, anyone can dole out big-time bucks to federal candidates and political parties, limits be damned! Get ready to make it rain, K Street.

This only means more parties, friends. As politicians’ call lists grow, expect more invites to receptions at Johnny’s Half Shell, meet-and-greets at Tortilla Coast, and luncheons at Bistro Bis. (In the market for a creative way to get out of writing another check? We’ve got you covered with this list of excuses.)

And as your inboxes get flooded with invites, you know what to do – send them our way! We are dying to know who is taking advantage of the new no-limit rule and clamoring to get more money into their campaign coffers. Special Party Time kudos (hey, we may even get you a special PT hat!) for the intrepid soul who snags us the first invite to a funder for the-lid’s-off, post-McCutcheon committees that Sunlight’s own Jacob Fenton has dubbed “a super-joint.”  We think that makes him a contender in the contest over at The Fix!

Meanwhile, about those like-bunnies-multiplying invites: Email us, or upload them here (and, as always, rest assured that it’s a totally confidential process).

Let’s dig into this week, party people. And remember to send whatever you’ve got right here!

Obama heads to Houston

Another Wednesday, another fundraiser. After doing a twofer in Chicago last week, President Barack Obama hits up donors this Wednesday in Houston at a pricey fundraiser. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will also attend.

Pharmaceutical lawyer John Eddie Williams and his wife, Sheridan, will host the partier-in-chief at their fancy-pants River Oaks home. This feels like a perfect matchup: The Williams couple knows how to throw a successful fundraiser and Obama knows how to get people to write a big check. (For those keeping track at home, PT records show this is the president’s 14th party since February.)

GOP = Going Out to Party

New Hampshire and Iowa are always popular party destinations for politicians with an eye toward higher office. Getting in good with the locals and the state’s party leadership usually pays off come voting time in these early primary states – and people mentioned in conversations about 2016 (see: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.) drop by strategically and often.

The upcoming weekend is no different, as Party Time has four big-time (and big-name) events on the books for both states. The Republican Party of New Hampshire kicks things off on Friday evening with a Rally with Rand in Dover. It’s 50 bucks for what’s billed as a “casual reception” with the Kentucky senator. But that’s just the warm-up to Saturday’s conservative gabfest in Manchester at the first annual Freedom Summit.

Paul and Cruz are slated to speak at the daylong meeting, as are Donald Trump, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Newt and Callista Gingrich, Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, Iowa Rep. Steve King, and American Enterprise Institute head Arthur Brooks. A couple of groups you may have heard of – Citizens United and Americans for Prosperity Foundation – are hosting the sold-out event.

Meanwhile, over in Iowa, that state’s Republican Party will have its Lincoln Dinner Friday night in Cedar Rapids. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is the keynote speaker, and a fistful of Hawkeye State politicians will hobnob with donors paying between $75 and $1,000 for the dinner.

In a noteworthy nod to New Hampshire, Iowa’s King won’t be sticking around for the Lincoln Dinner’s after party. After that event wraps up, King will make his way over to New Hampshire where he’s a confirmed speaker at the Freedom Summit.

And Ryan will make the most of his westward trip, stopping in Chicago en route to his evening gig in Iowa. Friday afternoon, he’ll work the crowd at a luncheon fundraiser for Bob Dold, who is looking to reclaim his old House seat.

Georgians go for green

Turns out, it’s the week for GOP state delegations to party hard. On Monday evening, Georgia Republicans get together in Atlanta for the state party’s Spring Gala. Gov. Nathan Deal and a bunch of state pols will celebrate with T.W. Shannon, a “rising GOP star” running to replace retiring Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. Also invited to attend the event? The full complement of Georgia’s GOP congressional delegation, which may make for an interesting evening.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is stepping down this year, will be there, as will three of the people hoping for a chance to replace him. Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston continue to duke it out in a crowded primary race, which will be held in May.

Rep. Austin Scott, who represents Georgia’s 8th District, is also invited to the event. But Scott’s got some of his own fundraising to do, thank you very much. Monday afternoon, the National Maritime Manufacturers Association’s Boat PAC hosts a Cherry Blossom Cruise for Scott, with tickets starting at $500. The cruise should wrap up by 4:30, so if he hustles, he might be able to make dessert and coffee at the Spring Gala. Busy day!

Bill steps up for Marjorie

In a bit of a ’90s flashback, former President Bill Clinton rallies the faithful in Philadelphia this week for Marjorie Margolies. Margolies is running in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania’s 13th District seat, which she held in 1992. But she only served one term, getting the boot from constituents after she delivered the last vote Clinton needed to pass his 1993 budget.

So Bubba is returning the favor and bringing some star power to Thursday’s noontime fundraiser.

It’s not the first time Margolies is calling on her Clinton connections, either; last October, she had an event with Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Oh, and did we mention that Margolies is Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law? We anticipate a fair bit of good-natured ribbing about picking up the pace on grandchildren.

McConnell money

The Kentucky Senate race continues to keep us on our toes. This week, in a grab bag of hosts, various PACs representing car companies, chemical manufacturing and alternative energy production are throwing a party for Sen. Mitch McConnell. Tickets to Thursday’s dinner at the Toyota HQ in downtown D.C. start at $1,000 and go up to $5,000.

The minority leader is a prolific fundraiser, and a recent peek at how one of his fundraising dinners goes down gives a little insight as to how he became so formidable on the social circuit. Looks like McConnell uses the silent treatment to his advantage, telling party attendees that they have to give the maximum amount and then simply waiting until they do.

This is the first fundraiser on the books for McConnell since the McCutcheon ruling, which makes us wonder just how much – and how – he’ll make donors pay up. Yikes.

Party people, that wraps up your week in fundraising! As those invites start really rolling in, keep us posted on what you hear about. Email us, or upload those invites right here.

(Photo courtesy Flickr)

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.24.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Mitt Romney returns to the fundraising circuit, Thom Tillis comes to D.C., and Rep. Joe Garcia has three parties in three days

They’re baaaaack!

Party people, Congress is returning to D.C., so, obviously, the best way to celebrate is with a fundraiser … or two … or three. Our social calendar blows up this week with 28 parties as politicians come back to Capitol Hill after their weeklong recess. Ready them checkbooks!

This week also ushers in installments of two recurring fundraisers for Republican congressmen. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., has his first of nine breakfast funders on Thursday morning at the Capitol Hill Club. If you throw down $5,000, you get two seats at each of the monthly breakfasts, cleverly titled the Dr. Phil Breakfast Club. And Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., has his second standing lunch date with supporters on Tuesday. Each one-hour lunch at Bullfeathers will put you back $500, or $1,000 to $2,500 for PACs.

It’s a packed week, but what else is going on out there? Upload those invites here, or email us any tips or clips.

Welcome back, Mitt!

Since taking a break after his 2012 loss to President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney has mostly stayed out of the political limelight, heading to Disneyland with the family and working on a remodel of his La Jolla home. But in the last month or so, Romney has been popping up in the news – penning an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, weighing in on the proposed Arizona legislation that would allow businesses to deny service to gays based on religious beliefs – and on the party circuit.

After taking off about a year from fundraising, Romney is officially back in action. Last month, he headlined an event for the Republican Governors Association at the Lenox Hotel in Boston with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and this week, he’ll attend three more funders.

On Monday, Romney and Florida Gov. Rick Scott will hit up donors for the RGA during a pricey evening reception (as in, $25,000 to $50,000 per couple). Constance and Mike Fernandez, who chairs private equity firm MBF Healthcare Partners, will host the event at their Coral Gables home. Coincidentally, MBF Healthcare Partners went in big for Romney in 2012, tossing $500,000 to Restore our Future, the super PAC set up to support the Republican nominee.

The next day, he jets up to the Big Apple to headline back-to-back fundraisers for Ed Gillespie, RNC-chairman-turned-American-Crossroads-founder-turned-Virginia-Senate-candidate. Gillespie, who worked on Romney’s campaign in ’12, is mounting a challenge to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner in November, and a new poll shows the race is getting tighter.

The Romney-headlined parties for Gillespie get started with a $1,000-per-person reception at the swanky Essex House. Then it’s off to a $5,200-per-plate dinner at the home of billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, founder and CEO of asset management firm Blackstone.

Thom Tillis gets some D.C. love

The Senate race in North Carolina gets hotter and hotter by the day. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan’s poll numbers keep dropping and the Cook Political Report just shifted the race from “leans Democrat” to “tossup.” She’s cruising above the fray of a primary fight, but the Republican contenders who want her seat are making a lot of noise and gaining traction among their party’s better-known personalities.

Monday evening, a fistful of GOP senators gathers at the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s D.C. headquarters for a reception for Thom Tillis, the current speaker in North Carolina’s House of Representatives and one of Hagan’s top challengers. Tickets start at $500 for individuals and go up to $2,500 for PACs. It isn’t the first time Tillis has thrown a D.C. event with GOP heavyweights, either; in December, he partied with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

But it isn’t smooth sailing until the state’s Republican primary in May. In a familiar storyline, establishment-backed Tillis will face off against Greg Brannon, who has picked up endorsements from Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and FreedomWorks head Matt Kibbe (the latter two even partied with Brannon during CPAC weekend). Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Hukabee is weighing in on the race, too. He attended a fundraiser for another Republican candidate, Mark Harris, a Baptist minister and founder of a group that successfully advocated for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Money for Mooney

Alex Mooney has been collecting top-tier conservative endorsements during his run for West Virginia’s second district House seat. The likes of Ann Coulter, Gun Owners of America, Family Research Council and the Tea Party Express are throwing their support behind Mooney’s candidacy. And his opinion piece from a few weeks ago, blasting the Environmental Protection Agency and “President Obama’s anti-coal policies,” should only further endear him to conservative voters.

On Tuesday evening, Mooney fundraises with fellow Republicans at D.C.’s Capitol Hill Club. Among others, the invite lists as hosts National Right to Work and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who just called the Koch brothers “two of the most patriotic Americans” during a town hall meeting. Maryland Rep. Andy Harris and Georgia Rep. (and Senate candidate) Paul Broun – who recently had a BYO gun target practice fundraiser and an AR-15 giveaway, respectively – are slated to attend.

Grimes goes for green

Democrats of all stripes keep coming out of the woodwork for Alison Lundergan Grimes in her bid to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Mega Dem donor and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, former President Bill Clinton and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet have all done fundraisers for her so far this year, demonstrating her party connections and Democrats’ confidence that Grimes just might win the race.

On Wednesday, two prominent and well-connected gay political activists, Karen K. Dixon and Nan Schaffer, will host Grimes at their D.C. digs for a fundraising dinner. The couple are well-known LGBT activists in their hometown of Chicago, where Schaffer started a gay news outlet in the ’80s. And their Kalorama home was the site of that DNC fundraiser last June, where a gay rights protester interrupted First Lady Michelle Obama during her speech.

Joe Garcia’s fundraising frenzy

Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., is a one-man partying machine this week. He’s heading to three D.C. funders in as many days, an impressive schedule even for some of PT’s most experienced party animals.

Garcia is one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” members, a designation that means more money and resources will go to those races. On Monday, he joins three other “Frontline” members and Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen for lunch on Capitol Hill. Then, on Tuesday, Garcia meets up with two different “Frontline” members and California Rep. Adam Schiff for breakfast at the DNC’s Wasserman Room.

On Wednesday, Garcia is throwing his own fundraiser, his second annual Cuban Style Taste of Miami. We’re not sure how festive a Capitol Hill row house can get on a Wednesday evening, but we can only assume it’ll be a raucous and celebratory evening, considering it caps off a full week of hobnobbing.

Pricey booze!

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., knows how to take a staid political fundraiser to the next level. He’s known around Party Time as a politician who favors hot dog receptions, Chicago-style pizza, ice cream socials and baseball games to traditional luncheons private dinners. And this week is no different.

On Tuesday – right at happy hour, we might add – the National Beer Wholesalers Association PAC is throwing a reception for Quigley at the Oracle Townhouse on D Street. Tickets to get in will set you back $1,000 to $2,500, so drink up.

Whew, party people, what a busy week! Let us know what we are missing – email us, or upload invites here. Party on!

Photo courtesy Flickr

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Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.03.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Conservatives party hard in Baltimore, GOP rallies around Mike McFadden, Sen. Mark Udall fundraises in Florida and New York

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!

Magic Mike

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.

And that’s the week, partiers! What have we missed? Let us know, by emailing us or sending invites here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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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.