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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 - 03.17.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Roundup: President Obama fundraises in Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz goes to Iowa, and Allen West’s Black Tie Boot Camp in Palm Beach

Party people, we’ve got another packed schedule of fundraisers upon us. Looks like Congress is taking advantage of its week away from Washington to shake the money tree in warmer locales: Texas, Arizona, California and Florida are all on the calendar. These politicians sure do know how to make the best of their time off the clock.

The one exception to the outside-of-the-District trend is Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who is throwing a St. Patrick’s Day Fete in Fairfax on Monday. According to Party Time’s data, this is the second themed St. Paddy’s Day shindig on the books this year. But there must be more happening out there – after all, no self-respecting politician would pass up the opportunity to use a cute leprechaun with a pot of gold as a means to inspire campaign contributions! If you’ve heard of anything good, you know what to do: Send those invites and newspaper clippings here.

Now, it’s time to hit the road for this week in parties!

President Obama: Florida fundraising (and golfing?)

The Partier-in-Chief will join Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., DCCC head Steve Israel and Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation for a fundraiser in Miami on Thursday evening.

The cocktail reception and dinner will take place at the home of former NBA star Alonzo Mourning, who has also been known to join President Obama on the golf course. A few weeks ago, while on a family vacation in Key Largo, Obama hit the links with Mourning, sportscaster Ahmad Rashad and Cyrus Walker, Valerie Jarrett’s cousin. We can’t imagine that the president won’t take advantage of the sunshine and Florida’s omnipresent golf courses on this trip, either.

But wait, this just in: Late Friday night, Party Time learned that President Obama will attend a second fundraiser in Miami on Thursday for the DNC. He’s also the headliner for a DNC funder on Tuesday in D.C., but this is all we know about either event. If you’ve got details, please share! Email us, or upload an official invite here.

Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa … again

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, may enjoy reading about Dr. Seuss’s take on breakfast foods, but on Tuesday, the freshman senator will have a plate full of sweets and goodies at a fundraiser in Mason City, Iowa. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Cruz are both slated to attend a Dessert Reception for the Cerro Gordo County Republicans in yet another indicator that the Texan is laying the groundwork for a run at the GOP presidential nomination. The next presidential election may be 32 months away, but it’s never too soon to buddy up with voters in Iowa, perennial site of the first-in-the-country caucuses.

Since the Iowa caucuses provide an important initial go-around for candidates vying to be president, getting in good with the state’s party leadership is always a wise first step. Cruz learned that one early, with our PT records showing he first hit up the Hawkeye State six months after being sworn in. Then it was last October’s Ronald Reagan Commemorative Dinner in Des Moines, followed by that memorable weekend Pheasant Hunt with Rep. King.

Need another sign Cruz has 2016 on the brain? The next fundraiser PT has on his schedule is the Freedom Summit in New Hampshire, the state with the first presidential primary.

Ted Cruz, you are one savvy partier.

McConnell in sunny SoCal

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plans to party on Wednesday afternoon with Christian conservative heavyweights in Southern California. The fundraiser, first reported by the Washington Examiner, will be hosted by California insurance executive John Nelson and Salem Communications CEO Edward Atsinger.

Atsinger’s Salem is a mega communications firm that specializes in evangelical Christian and conservative websites, like and, and radio shows hosted by the likes of Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt. In January, the Salem family got bigger when it gobbled up Eagle Publishing, which produced and

That move consolidated a significant chunk of right-leaning media outlets and personalities under one organizational umbrella, making a fundraiser with the organization’s head an efficient tip o’ the hat to voters in Kentucky wary of McConnell’s conservative bona fides. (And, might we add, Republican funders on the fence about doling out some dough to the Senate’s minority leader.)

Although polls have McConnell way ahead of his from-the-right primary challenger, Matt Bevin, the longtime senator is still neck-and-neck with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. So, bring on the bucks! Wednesday’s fundraiser, headlined by Prager and Hewitt, costs $15,200 per person or $30,400 per couple.

Cash for Crist

Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist continues to beef up his new left-leaning bona fides. On Wednesday evening, he will hobnob with the gay elite of South Florida at a fundraiser at the home of Dean Trantalis, the first openly gay member of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. According to the invitation, other hosts include Michael Albetta, a leader in the state’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Caucus, and Norman Kent, the publisher of South Florida Gay News.

The fundraiser provides another opportunity for Crist to make nice with Florida’s LGBT community. While he was Florida’s governor from 2006-2010 – and had an “R” after his name – Crist supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. But two years after moving out of the governor’s mansion, Crist changed his party affiliation and his position on marriage equality, even going so far as to apologize for supporting the amendment.

This is Crist’s second fundraising event Florida’s LGBT heavy-hitters. In January, Crist had a reception at Brad Grosberg and Phil Kean’s Winter Park home, where tickets started at $250 and went up to $10,000.

Weekend getaways + funders

A day away from D.C. is great, but why not turn that trip into a weekend getaway if you possibly can? Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., heeds that advice and heads to Las Vegas for a Spa Weekend Trip with a price tag of $1,500 for individuals or $2,500 for PACs. By the way, we trust Wagner’s intuition when it comes to a weekend of relaxation and luxury. She was, after all, the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg during President George W. Bush’s second term.

If you’re more in the mood for a go-go-go weekend, the Americans for Spring Training trip has you covered. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., will converge in Orlando for a weekend full of spring training baseball games and a day at Walt Disney World.

But ever since Party Time heard about Allen West’s Black Tie Boot Camp weekend in Palm Beach, we couldn’t get it out of our heads. Not only is the invite priceless, we are beyond intrigued to learn about what goes down at West event that combines bow ties and camo. If you have any details – seriously, anything – send it right here.

That’s it for a busy week in out-of-town parties, folks. Let us know what we missed, and keep us posted on what you hear about: Email us, or upload invites here.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.09.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: ‘Tis the season for politicians to party hard for campaign cash

Hello partiers! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and what better way to celebrate than with a political fundraiser or two?

That’s certainly on Congress’s mind this week, even if it’s just a distraction from yet another looming budget battle. In fact, the Republican leader of the budget negotiations, Rep. Paul Ryan, will start out the week shaking the (palm) trees for cash in the Sunshine State. According to St. Petersblog, Ryan will breakfast Monday in the Orlando area with Republican supporters and members of Congress at the home of Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. The same day, Ryan is also slated to headline a $500-per-person fundraiser for Rep. Steve Southerland in Panama City, Fla.

This week’s social calendar is all sorts of busy, but we know there’s more going on out there. What are we missing? Send those invites/email blasts/stories (and pics!) right here.

Fundraising swing with Carl

The week of Thanksgiving, we pointed out how the partier-in-chief, a.k.a. President Barack Obama, was going on a fundraising tear along the West Coast, headlining seven parties in three days in Seattle and California. Party Time is similarly impressed with Carl DeMaio’s upcoming cross-country fundraising spree. (Hey, it’s hard work and somebody’s got to do it.)

DeMaio, a gay fiscal conservative whose campaign materials tout him as a “new generation Republican,” served on the San Diego City Council for one term before losing to former Rep. Bob Filner in the 2012 mayor’s race (and we all know how that turned out). But DeMaio isn’t interested in jumping into the special election to replace the scandal-plagued Filner; instead, DeMaio is looking to oust Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in 2014.

The San Diego race will be one to watch, and DeMaio is viewed as a potential star within the GOP. But last week, Politico reported a dustup within the party about whether or not the National Republican Congressional Committee should throw its support – and dollars – behind gay candidates.

But that’s not stopping DeMaio from hitting up the fundraising circuit: PT counts 25 scheduled fundraisers for DeMaio from June 2013 to next February, including this week’s tour. After hosting a champagne brunch at his San Diego home over the weekend, DeMaio hops over to Dallas for an evening reception on Monday. Then it’s off to New York City on Tuesday for a Log Cabin Republican event with fellow gay GOP candidate Richard Tisei, who is running to unseat Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass. And on Wednesday, DeMaio hits up D.C. donors with an evening reception.

Busy morning at Hotel George

The Hotel George is a popular fundraising spot – it’s swanky, it’s within spitting distance of the Capitol, and it’s getting a makeover. Come Wednesday morning, it’s the site of two separate breakfast fundraisers for Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Ill., and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

Enyart recently made it official that he’d be running for reelection in 2014, but our Party Time data and Real-Time filings indicate he never really stopped raising campaign cash since arriving on the Hill earlier this year. On Wednesday, he’ll benefit from the fundraising pull of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, who is the “special guest” at the $1,000-plus breakfast.

That’s also the price tag for Speier’s funder, happening at the same time and at the same place. We suggest checking out what the Northern California native orders at her Winter Wonderland Breakfast Reception – in September, she brought a cooked steak, a bottle of vodka and a can of caviar to the House floor during a speech about food stamps and congressional food and travel expenses. Know what’s on the menu Wednesday, or any other good details? Share here.

Meeting up with Mitch

On Monday night, Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell is slated to attend an evening reception at the Bethesda home of Bruce and Leslie Lane. The event is billed as a “Washington Area Pro-Israel Reception” and lists 15 new-to-PT hosts.

The Kentucky Republican is fending off tea party challenger Matt Bevin in the primary as well as looking ahead to the general election, most likely against the well-funded Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Bluegrass and big bucks

Sen. Mark Warner is throwing a Bluegrass & BBQ Bash on Monday evening at Hill Country BBQ in downtown D.C. because, you know, nothing says “country” quite like 7th and D streets.

Tickets start at $50 for the fundraiser benefiting the Virginia Democrat’s 2014 reelection campaign. Although Warner remains popular and isn’t facing numerous challengers, he’s still shoring up support. Ken Cuccinelli, who recently lost the Virginia governor’s race to Terry McAuliffe, told the Washington Post it would be “tempting” to run against Warner next year. Expect plenty more barbecue if that comes to fruition.

Holiday happenings with Allen West

Florida’s fiery conservative Allen West may not be running for office, but he’s not far from the fundraising game. On Friday night at St. Jude Catholic Church in Boca Raton, the former GOP congressman headlines a holiday party, complete with a buffet dinner and holiday music. Proceeds from the $75-per-person event (or $1,000 to sit at West’s table) go to his namesake foundation. (And if this video is any indication, you are in for a rollicking good time.)

West’s leadership PAC, which works to elect more conservatives “in the same vein as Allen West,” also continues to rake in the dough, bringing in more than $1.3 million during the first half of this year. The PAC recently backed four candidates for the 2014 races, and 10 more endorsements are expected.

Florida football fun

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., is betting a sports fan or two will plunk down some serious cash for a weekend-long retreat to watch the Dolphins-Patriots game with him. This isn’t the first time Deutch has spiced up a fundraising event; although he’s had his fair share of receptions and luncheons, he also hit up a Heat-Wizards game a few years ago and a Pink concert at the Verizon Center last spring.

What else is happening out there, partiers? Keep us posted.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Uncategorized • POSTED - 12.02.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Republicans and Chris Christie party hard, Grimes fundraises in Kentucky

Good morning, partiers! Still feeling sleepy from all of that turkey and Black Friday shopping? Well, pour yourself another cup of coffee and get ready for some fundraising festivities because it’s going to be a busy December – we’ve counted 44 parties on the books so far, and most are during the first two weeks. We are certain more shindigs are brewing out there, so, as always, let us know what we’re missing.

If you are in the mood for some holiday-themed gatherings, you’re in luck. On Wednesday, Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., will have an Italian-Style Holiday Reception while Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., is throwing a Holiday Wine Tasting at Sonoma Wine Bar. ’Tis the season.

This upcoming weekend, Republicans will be busy raising some cash in the Big Apple and Virginia. Florida’s Alex Sink will be in D.C. Wednesday for an event headlined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Alison Lundergan Grimes will hit up her home state for contributions today.

Grimes goes for some (more) green

Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes hasn’t wanted for national attention since announcing in July that she was running to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Grimes, Kentucky’s current Secretary of State, benefits from family connections her father cultivated as the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, including the deep-pocketed network of the ever-present Clintons.

To wit: Grimes has been gallivanting across the U.S. collecting campaign cash. And lots of it. According to the most recent filings on our Real-Time Tracker, Grimes brought in more than $2.5 million during the third quarter, out-raising McConnell, who collected just shy of $2.3 million. Democratic fundraiser extraordinaire Jeffrey Katzenberg raised money for her in Los Angeles in September, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., headlined a Las Vegas luncheon in October, and Hillary Clinton’s bestie, Susie Tompkins Buell, hosted Grimes in San Francisco a few days before Halloween.

Grimes also got a shout-out from First Lady Michelle Obama during a New York City fundraiser for Senate Democrats a few weeks ago. But perhaps in a nod to the president’s sinking approval ratings, Grimes took a step back from any perceived chumminess with the White House. “Listen, I did not have any conversations or interactions with the First Lady,” Grimes told a Louisville news station. “I was there as part of a women’s policy conference.”

Come Monday, it’s all about her home state. Grimes heads to the northern Kentucky community of Hebron for a fundraiser at a private home. According to PT’s data, it’s the third time she’s tapped Kentucky-based donors so far. Anybody know of more? Stuff those invites, newspaper clippings, swell party mementoes right here.

Collecting cash with Christie

Gov. Chris Christie, the newly minted head of the Republican Governors Association, has lined up two parties at the end of this week in deep red territory. Christie is lending his fundraising clout to events benefiting Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Fallin made headlines last month when she weighed in on the military’s compliance with the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision. She joined four other states when she ordered state-owned National Guard bases to stop handling applications for all military spouse benefits in order to keep gay couples from getting any. Instead, all related paperwork must go through one of the state’s four federally owned outlets (which Stephen Colbert had a field day with). Fallin cited Oklahoma’s 2004 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in her announcement, stating that the new policy “protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people.”

So, basically, Fallin could use some fundraising fun. She’ll be celebrating her birthday (No. 59) with Christie at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday evening. We suggest a second piece of cake (just not wedding cake).

On Friday, Christie heads to the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho to a fundraiser for Otter. As Republicans continue to debate Christie’s conservative bona fides, he’ll stumble into a governor’s race that’s starting to look a lot like other GOP contests. The two-term governor just got wind of a Republican challenger in the form of State Sen. Russ Fulcher. According to the Idaho Statesman, Fulcher was hobnobbing with his state’s tea partiers in the week leading up to his announcement.

Big names, big bucks

Florida’s Alex Sink, will be getting lots of love from all sorts of bold-named Democrats at her Wednesday night fundraiser in D.C. Expected to attend: Pelosi, and other members of the House Democratic leadership team — Reps. Steny Hoyer of Maryland,  James Clyburn of South Carolina, Steve Israel of New York —  along with the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida,  and the rest of Florida’s Democratic congressional delegation. They’ll be putting  their collective weight behind Sink’s effort to win a March 11 special election for the Tampa Bay House seat that the late Rep. Bill Young, a Republican, occupied for more than four decades. Of course, all those Democrats will be  asking you for some money.

Sink is viewed as a potential Democratic star: After working in the banking industry, Sink pinged around Florida’s state government halls, first as the treasurer of the State Board of Administration and then as the state’s chief financial officer. In 2010, she ran for governor against Rick Scott and lost by one percentage point.

The race to replace Young, who died in October,  promises to be tight, and already has both sides talking – Democrats were quick to praise Sink’s decision, and Republicans pounced as soon as she made her announcement.

Republican ragers

No weekend plans? Want to part-ay with the Republican Party? You’ve got options: Both Virginia and New York City are hosting GOP fundraisers this weekend.

At the Omni Resort in Hot Springs, Virginian Republicans will meet up to debrief about the 2013 election and to start strategizing for next year. The invite promises workshops, receptions, luncheons – and Gov. Rick Perry. The Texan is slated to speak at the Saturday night black-tie gala. We’d suggest wearing cowboy boots with your tux, but you might be the only one; Perry has been leaving his on the shelf as he two-steps back into national politics, including during a recent stop in all-important Iowa.

But if you prefer to party in the big city, the National Republican Congressional Committee get-together may be more your style. The National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual Bright Lights and Broadway Regional Meeting for members of its “steering committee” is in Manhattan this weekend. For an annual membership of a mere $10,000, committee members get things like email updates, issue briefings with Republican leaders and invites to other regional events. What a deal.

Those are the highlights of this busy week, partiers. What have we missed? Let us know!

Photo credit: Flickr, via Holly Occhipinti

Uncategorized • POSTED - 11.25.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Obama, Biden go on pre-Thanksgiving fundraising spree

Hello partiers, and Happy Thanksgiving! The latter part of the week promises to be filled with turkey and trimmings, but before that, there’s some fundraising to be done.

The country’s number one and number two are hoping to cash in on some major donors’ feelings of holiday-induced goodwill on Monday and Tuesday. President Barack Obama is slated to attend four fundraisers in California, and Vice President Joe Biden will lunch with fellow Dems in downtown Chicago.

Obama is making the most of his West Coast travels. On Sunday, he attended a $20,000-per-person “discussion” at the home of philanthropists/Zumiez creator Sonya and Tom Campion in Seattle. Then, Obama hit up donors at former Microsoft exec and art aficionado Jon Shirley’s Seattle home during a $32,400-per-couple event. Obama raised money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., at the art collector’s mansion, which happens to be a few doors down from Bill Gates’ 48,000-square-foot charmer. Here’s hoping that this time the prez remembered Shirley’s name – when he hosted a $35,800-per-couple brunch in 2011, Obama apparently referred to Shirley as “Mark.” Now that’s what we call awkward.

Come Monday, it’s time to schmooze with deep-pocketed Democratic supporters in California. First stop: the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco for a lunch benefiting the Democratic National Committee.

The president has been a money magnet throughout his busy fundraising schedule, which made last week’s news about reduced ticket prices to the Bay Area event all the more surprising. Entry to the luncheon originally started at $1,000 and went up to $15,000, but the SF Gate reported that the first-level tickets were slashed to $500 and “organizers are even making deals on some of the $15,000 tickets to the reception with the president, with prices dropping to as low as $10,000.” Is this a case of donor fatigue, or maybe just a post-Thanksgiving Day sale come early?

Then Obama hits the L.A. pad of Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, for a reception. (Quick game of hoops in the backyard, anyone?) The former Laker and Showtime star has been in the news recently, talking with Anderson Cooper about his HIV diagnosis in 1991 and his recently out gay son.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Pelosi will be on hand at the Johnsons’ home for the $2,500- to $15,000-per-person event. The DCCC also set up a lottery so people could sign up for free to win a seat at the event – or, if you read the fine print, you could make a hefty contribution and then enter the lottery. Which feels counterintuitive to the whole “win a free trip” thing, but we digress.

Come dinnertime, Obama will head to the home of billionaire media mogul Haim Saban. Saban is tight with the Clintons – he backed Hillary in the 2008 primaries, and reportedly was so upset when she lost that he considered supporting the Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, in the general election – and has been critical of Obama’s approach to Israel. He contributes significantly to Democrats, but has never hosted an event for Obama.

Back in October, the event’s organizers were hoping to have the $32,400-per-couple shindig at Saban’s Beverly Hills mansion, and turns out, the partier-in-chief got his way.

Tuesday morning finds Obama at “Friends” creator Marta Kauffman’s home for a roundtable discussion. This funder is a long time coming: It was rescheduled twice, first from a September event that the White House put off due to the crisis in Syria and then from an October event with First Lady Michelle Obama that was scratched because of the government shutdown. Hopefully everyone can make up for lost opportunities with plenty of coffee drinking and as many “Friends” references as possible.

The VP is no slouch when it comes to fundraising, which we learned when checking out his recent party schedule. On Monday, Biden heads to downtown Chicago for a luncheon for Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. Tickets start at $2,500 and go up to $37,600 per person.

After playing coy about running for reelection, Durbin decided to go for it in 2014. State Sen. Jim Oberweis recently said he’s looking to throw his hat in the ring for the GOP primary, but, according to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Republican leaders are suggesting he do some “soul-searching” first, citing previous controversial statements he’s made during campaigns.

That’s a whirlwind few days of fundraising, so let’s all agree to take off Thursday and Friday for turkey, football and bargain hunting. Catch you on the flip side, partiers.

(P.S. What funders are we missing? Drop us a line and let us know!)

Photo credit: Flickr

Uncategorized • POSTED - 03.04.12 BY Breanna Edwards

This Week’s Fundraisers: From Manhattan to Big Sky country, lawmakers party for donations

Massive DCCC event to celebrate Pelosi: Members of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and their hosts will be flood New York City’s Palace Hotel on Monday for a conference and luncheon in honor of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s 25 years of service in Congress. The event will feature Pelosi, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, more than 20 members of Congress, along with nine female congressional candidates from across the country. Tickets range from $250 to $30,800.

Prepping for St. Paddy’s Day: Although the official day for celebrating is a little more than a week away, that isn’t stopping some of the nation’s lawmakers from having Irish-themed parties. Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., starts off this trend with his annual Sushi & Shamrocks Fest (and 50th birthday celebration) on Tuesday. Tickets for this event are $250 per person and $1,000 per PAC.

Also on Tuesday, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., will be having an Early Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration at the Associated General Contractors Townhouse. Tickets range from $250 to $2,000.

Rooney trying to regain ground: Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., who will be running for reelection in new territory after being displaced by redistricting, will be the beneficiary of two fundraisers, both Tuesday. The first event is an 8:30 breakfast at Bullfeathers, hosted by the College for American Pathologists PAC, with tickets ranging from $500 to $2,000. A few hours afterwards, an equally priced lunch will be held in his honor.

WSN going Cross Country: The Women’s Senate Network this week holds four events in different locations across the nation. On Friday, the network will be hosting a lunch in Denver. That same evening, there will also be a WSN reception in Los Angeles.

The following day, March 10, another lunch in honor of the WSN will be held in San Francisco, followed by an evening reception and dinner in Seattle, Wash.

The Getaways: Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., hosts his Big Sky Winter Weekend at the Big Sky Resort in Montana beginning Friday. Prices range from $1,500 to $3,000.

On the opposite side of the nation, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., will throw a Spring Getaway Weekend in Naples, Fla. to benefit the Heartland Values PAC .

Also in Florida, next Saturday and Sunday, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., will be kicking off his Spring Training Weekend in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets for this event start at $1,000.

ethics • POSTED - 03.15.11 BY Keenan Steiner

Chiefs of Staff a Top Draw to House Democrats Fundraiser

The presence of five chiefs of staff to House Democratic leaders is a main attraction for an “after party” fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tomorrow night, according to an invitation obtained by Party Time.

Headlining the event are the chiefs of staff to Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., Jim Himes, D-Conn., Richard Neal, D-Mass., John Carney, D-Del., and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., all leaders of the DCCC.

The participation of top aides in fundraisers has raised questions about the boundary between members’ campaigns and official staff, in light of the House Committee on Ethics decision in January to clear Crowley and two other lawmakers of any ethical violation around financial reform legislation. Crowley’s chief of staff, Kate Winkler — who is listed as a host tomorrow — was featured repeatedly in the report, sometimes receiving emails from lobbyists responding to fundraiser invitations.

Neither Winkler nor three of the other chiefs of staff — Jason Cole, Elizabeth Hart and Jack Pratt — were immediately available for comment. Ann Jablon, the top aide to Neal, wrote in an email that she would not attend because she will be busy taking care of her four children.

One lobbyist, who did not want his name published, said he was not bothered that the chiefs of staff are the main draw to the event.

“You don’t see them often on flyers, but they are such a central presence in fundraising phone calls and emails that it does not surprise or even bother me much. In many cases the [chief of staff] is at least as important a connect as the member herself or himself,” he wrote in an email.

He also wrote that the event, which asks donors for a mere $100 and features “The Peach Pit DJ Dance Party” at a Capitol Hill bar, is attempting to “inculcate [young Democrats] into the giving routine with the $100 price tag.”

“With staff instead of Member names on the invitation, it sounds more like a party that a rich kid would throw at home when his parents are in the Bahamas,” he wrote.

The after party follows a high roller “Spring PAC Reception” at Union Station, where, for $15,000, PACs can send four representatives to the event. Headlining the invitation are Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and four of the top aides’ bosses, except for Israel. The after party RSVP form on the DCCC website asks donors to “please join the DCCC and House Democratic Staff for an after party event at Lounge 201.”

A press spokesman for the DCCC did not respond to a phone message.

In the January Ethics Committee report, the lawmakers were cleared in part because “none of the Members’ legislative staff had any role in planning any aspect for such events, other than the schedulers or chiefs of staff coordinating administrative scheduling issues regarding the Members’ availability.” [See the full report marked with notes here.]

The event comes at a particularly busy time of year for congressional fundraising. Members have planned at least 156 events this week, and no less than 57 today, according to Party Time’s files, which do not grab all of Washington’s invitations.

“I sense a volume of voice mails and emails more typical of last September than I would expect to see in spring of an odd-numbered year,” the lobbyist wrote.

He cited two immediate reasons for the uptick. First, campaigns are pressuring donors to send in checks before the end of the month, which marks the end of the first quarter. In addition, Congress is on recess all of next week, which means this week includes some of the final days for inside-the-beltway events. He expects a high volume of events again on the final three days of the month.

He also cited the “uncertainty-driven nervousness” associated with states’ redrawing congressional districts this year. Many states will lose at least one House seat in the next Congress.

“Everybody wants to get as much in the bank before they potentially get themselves redrawn into a district that will give them political fits, or that may pit one incumbent against another,” he wrote.

2010 Elections competitive races • POSTED - 07.07.10 BY Nancy Watzman

DCCC brass raising cash for Bishop, Salazar

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) leaders continue to busy themselves fundraising for party candidates in tight races, with events planned in the next few weeks for Reps. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) and John Salazar (D-Colo.).

Recruitment Chair Rep. Steve Israel (D, NY-2),  Chairman Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D, MD-8) , and vice chairs Rep. Joseph Crowley (D, NY-7) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D, FL-20) are headlining this  reception, on July 27, for Bishop. The fourth-term Congressman is considered vulnerable in Republican circles and will face the winner of a hotly contested GOP primary come November.

On July 28, Van Hollen and Israel are joining Vice Chair Rep. Xavier Becerra (D, CA-31) for a breakfast benefiting Salazar at the Twenty-First Century townhouse. (The townhouse is owned by former GOP Texas Congressman  Jack Fields, Twenty First Century lobbying group CEO. His bio says he “has built and maintained a wide network of personal friendships and  professional relationships among government officials of both parties.” ) Salazar is in a district that has historically voted Republican and also will be facing the winner of a GOP face off .

The DCCC blog recently reported the committee had “blow[n] past our $1.5 million June 30th deadline goal.”  In the case of the events above, checks are to be made out to the candidate but also counted as “conduit” contributions over at the DCCC (which is required to report them as both receipts and disbursements to the candidate in question), enabling the party committee to claim credit for the amounts raised. We last wrote about DCCC fundraising here .

leadership PACs lobbying • POSTED - 06.15.10 BY Lindsay Young

Top Democrats fundraise for DCCC, and colleagues

You might have read in yesterday’s Politico that the nine democrats have raised $50 million for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to internal fundraising numbers obtained by the newspaper. Raising that amount of cash would be daunting to anyone, but for Washington insiders, it’s part of their daily grind.

The Party Time database also reveals that beyond the cash these lawmakers raise for the DCCC, they are also fixtures and draws at fundraisers for other lawmakers. This fact would not show up on DCCC reports.

* Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. – Pelosi has raised $23.5 million for the DCCC, according to Politico. Party Time invites show that she’s served as a draw for at least eight fundraisers this year for other lawmakers and at least two for the DCCC — the latest DCCC event was a March 19th breakfast at Democratic National Headquarters, along with several other Democratic lawmakers. The cost to attend ranged from $5,000-$20,000.

* Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. – The second highest fundraiser according to Politico, Van Hollen is also the chair of the DCCC and has raised $7.1 million for the committee. According to Party Time invites, Van Hollen has been present for at least for nine fundraisers for other lawmakers and one for the DCCC.

* Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y. – Crowley raised an $6.5 million for the DCCC, according to Politico. He’s also incredibly active in fundraising for his colleagues. According to Party Time invites, he’s attended at least 10 fundraisers for colleagues and at least 15 for either the DCCC or the New Democrat Coalition PAC. His most recent headliner was for the Coalition’s fifth annual retreat at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina.

* Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. – According to Politico, Wasserman Shultz has raised $3.5 million for the DCCC. She’s also been busy raising money for fellow lawmakers, Party Time invites list her at at least 7 fundraisers this year for her colleagues, and she’s attended at least six for the DCCC or her own leadership political action committee, the Democrats Win Seats PAC.

* Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. – Clyburn has raised $3 million for the DCCC, according to Politico and he’s attended at least 13 fundraisers for colleagues and at least two for the DCCC and held at least two for his own Bridge PAC. Later this week he will host a fundraiser for Baron Hill, his Democratic colleague in Indiana, where guests can attend after paying $1,000-$5,000.

* Rep. Steny Hoyer, D- Md. – Hoyer has added $2.3 million to DCCC coffers, according to Politico. He’s also attended at least 17 fundraisers for his colleagues this year, and at least three for the DCCC and Wasserman Schultz’s Democrats Win Seats PAC.

* Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y. – Israel has collected $1.5 million for the DCCC, according to Politico, it’s possible he raised part of that while attending a January 13th DCCC Business Council Kickoff Reception where guests paid anywhere from $5,000-$15,000.

* Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. – Frank has raised $1.5 million for the DCCC, according to Politico. He’s also helped fundraise for at least 12 of his colleagues and at least two times for the DCCC, according to Party Time invites. His latest effort was a June 7th lunch fundraiser for Democratic colleague Rep. Ron Klein of Florida.  Guests could attend for anywhere from $500-$2,500.

* Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass. – Barney Frank’s Massachusetts colleague has raised $1.1 million for the DCCC, according to Politico. It’s possible that part of that total was raised that money while serving as the special guest of the DCCC Business Council Breakfast on March 4th. The invitation lists Markey as the headliner and asks for donations ranging from $5,000-$15,000 for the DCCC.

And let’s not forget how the DCCC raises money for itself, such as the Committee’s upcoming June 23rd, “DCCC Summer Solstice Reception” at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers offices in Capital Hill. The event says “friends” can attend for $5,000, while “hosts” can buy 4 tickets for $15,000.

2010 Elections • POSTED - 05.06.10 BY Elham Khatami

Obey’s resignation brings other candidates to fore

Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., officially announced he is retiring today after serving four decades in Congress.

“I think that my district is ready for somebody new, to make a fresh start,” said Obey, former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Obey’s sudden announcement shocked Democrats throughout Wisconsin who are left wondering how to keep control of his long-held seat.  Six democrats are poised to vie for the seat, Obey told The Washington Post.

Republican Sean Duffy, Ashland Country District Attorney and former cast member of MTV’s “The Real World,” will also campaign for the position. Duffy has already won the endorsement of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.

According to Party Time’s invitation database, Obey held a fundraiser on March 11 at the Democratic National Headquarters where hosts contributed $5,000 and supporters could contribute $1,000. Obey also attended fundraisers in March benefiting Rep. Steve Israel, D-NY, and Rep. Stephen Kagen, D-Wis.

Obey had raised more than $1.3 million for his campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Duffy had raised the second largest amount at more than $500,000.

The Cook Political Report calls the Wisconsin 7th Congressional District a Democratic “toss up”.

tip sheet • POSTED - 01.13.10 BY Nancy Watzman

Tip sheet: DCCC Kickoff & Chambliss Plays Golf


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.