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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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Partytime health care • POSTED - 09.24.09 BY josh

Wrapping up September Health Care Fundraisers

We’re rounding out September with six more health care related fundraisers including three events that were planned yesterday (and the parties I blogged about here and here). We now have invitations to at least seventeen health care fundraisers for the month.

Today, Jocelyn Hong is hosting lunch for Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN) at the 21st Century Townhouse.  This is Hong’s fifth fundraiser in eight days.

Matt Sulkala, David Thomas, Israel Klein, Paul Brathwaite and Laura Harper are just a few of the hosts listed on Rep. Glenn Nye’s (D-VA) “Young Professionals Birthday Beers” bash tonight at 201 Lounge.

Brathwaite and Klein (of the Podesta Group) represent Covidien–”a $10 billion global health care products leader.” Laura Harper represents Blue Cross Blue Shield and Matt Sulkala lobbies for industry group PhRMA. David Thomas, a lobbyist with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc, represents pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, AstraZeneca, Abbott Laboratories, Biogen and Forest Laboratories and PhRMA.

JD Derderian, who represents US Oncology, is hosting a reception for Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) at the Stanton Park Group offices on the 29th.

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Sens. Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) are closing out September with receptions on the 30th with at least 14 health care lobbyist hosts between their three invitations (you can find those lobbyists’ names below).

To see clients for lobbyists hosting events click on individuals’ names: Louis Dupart, JD Derderian, Laura Harper, Mark Rayder, Hunter Bates, Nelson Litterst, Jocelyn Hong, Matt Sulkala, David Thomas, Israel Klein, Paul Brathwaite, Adam Olsen, George Baker, Doyce Boesch, Rick Murphy, Bill Brewster, John Bode, David Jones, Joel White Erin Graefe, Beth Jafari,Billy Piper, Charlie Harman.

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Partytime • POSTED - 09.17.09 BY Nancy Watzman

Bundlers–what bundlers?

Lobbyists may advertise themselves as hosts on fundraising invitations–but that doesn’t mean they’re reported officially as “bundlers” of campaign contributions, reports a fascinating analysis by the AP today, relying on Party Time data.

AP found that the lobbyists on at least 195 congressional fundraising invitations were not disclosed as “bundlers.” The events took place between March 19 and June, the first time period covered by new Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules that required new reports by candidates of fundraisers who collect contributions on their behalf.

The article cites two examples from our Party Time database. There’s this party, hosted by lobbyists Stan Skocki and Michael Rose, whose clients include American Airlines and Verizon Wireless. The event benefited Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), vice chairman of the House Rules Committee.

There’s also this party, hosted by lobbyists Wayne Berman, Ron Kaufman and Bill Simmons, for Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Rules Committee and a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The story has a lot of good background on the nitty gritty of the bundling rules, which are easy to get around. “When it comes to disclosing lobbyist fundraising for lawmakers,” notes the piece,  “there are so many loopholes that it basically amounts to an honor system.”

Congress passed the new bundling rules in response to the scandals surrounding influence peddling by Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. You can read it here.

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Partytime • POSTED - 02.20.09 BY Nancy Watzman

Lawmakers recess for cash

With Congress out of session, USA Today reporter Fredreka Schouten reports today that lawmakers are taking their fundraising to ritzy locales. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) invites guests to the Snake River Lodge & Spa near Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) asks his donors to a weekend in Vail. And Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) is holding a fundraiser at Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach. (Here’s another ski weekend not mentioned in the story: a fundraiser in Park City, Utah for  Republican Sen. Robert Bennett.)

From Schouten’s story:

Aides to the lawmakers said the events are driven by the need to raise growing amounts of campaign money. House and Senate candidates raised nearly $1.4 billion to fund campaigns in 2008, up from roughly $1 billion eight years earlier, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

“Almost every member of Congress is fundraising all the time,” said Julie DeWoody, the finance director of Perlmutter’s campaign. “It’s the reality of running for office and how expensive campaigns are.”

Schouten also points out what we’ve often noted here–that the 2007 ethics laws that bars members of Congress from accepting most gifts, travel and pricey meals does not extend to fundraising.

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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.