Although the congressional supercommittee failed to reach an agreement to slash the nation’s deficit, every single member of the 12-person panel was able to accomplish something else this fall: raise money for their own campaigns or for other candidates and committees. Collectively, the dozen members took part in 55 fundraisers, according to a mix of Party Time’s invitations and other news reports.
That includes 24 fundraisers for their own campaigns or leadership PACs—funds they use to spread their influence—and 31 events where they served as special guests to help their colleagues or party committees attract campaign cash. All of these events were scheduled since their appointment to the panel in early August.
With a total of 19 events, Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the House Democrats’ Assistant Majority Leader, has been involved in the most fundraisers. Clyburn also led the pack with ten fundraisers benefiting his campaign or leadership fund, while Pat Toomey, R-Pa., held five such events and Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., held four.
Below is table showing the number of fundraisers panel members were involved in, organized by each lawmaker (and here’s a complete calendar of events).
|Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.||10||9|
|Pat Toomey, R-Pa.||5||0|
|Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.||4||4|
|Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas||2||1|
|Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.||2||4|
|Dave Camp, R-Mich.||1||1|
|Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.||0||4|
|Patty Murray, D-Wash.||0||3|
|Fred Upton, R-Mich.||0||2|
|Max Baucus, R-Mont.||0||1|
|John Kerry, D-Mass.||0||1|
|Rob Portman, R-Ohio||0||1|
There are also plenty of fundraisers for the committee members right around the corner. Becerra is the special guest at three gatherings in the first six days of December. Jon Kyl and Jeb Hensarling are the main draws at two separate events for their colleagues. And Clyburn is taking part in a holiday party on Dec. 1 raising money for Democratic “Frontline” candidates.Tweet
While all eyes are on the supercommittee this week as their deadline for identifying budget cuts fast approaches, a few of the lawmakers on the panel still have some time on their hands for fundraising.
This week, there are eight fundraisers planned either benefiting a supercommittee member or where they are playing host. Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., was scheduled to host a fundraiser for Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas Monday night at Charlie Palmer Steak while Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., will be hosting an event for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas on Tuesday. The nine-term congressman may be facing a primary challenge in March against State Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio if the Texas Legislature passes its redistricting map. So far Castro has raised more than $500,000 since announcing his candidacy for Congress.
Rep. Jim Clyburn’s, D-S.C. will be hosting a breakfast event on Wednesday to raise money for his Leadership PAC and another fundraiser at the restaurant Art and Soul, the Politico reports. Rep Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., is scheduled to attend a breakfast Tuesday morning at the Democratic Club.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has a breakfast fundraiser planned on Wednesday, Nov. 16, according to the National Journal and later that evening, he will be having a 50th birthday celebration at Sonoma. GOP Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wy., Dan Coats, R-Ind., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, are scheduled to attend. Lastly, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., will be hosting an event for Sen. Orrin Hatch on Thursday.
Since the creation of the panel at least seven members have accepted money from lobbyists, including Camp, according to the Washington Post, Camp took in the most contributions — “$707,000 for his campaign and $180,000 for his leadership PAC.”
Although, only Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., announced that he would stop raising money, other members have said they would not schedule any new fundraising events. For a list of all supercommittee fundraisers see here.
The Senate Democrats’ campaign arm is mixing politics with technology this week, putting on a fundraising conference featuring top executives from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other Silicon Valley companies on Thursday. Many of these executives have already contributed handsomely to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
On Friday morning in Menlo Park, Calif., the execs will be on on a panel explaining to Democrats where innovative jobs are being created, according to the event invitation. Hours later, the Democrats will be giving the tech-focused crowd an update on the 2012 Senatorial elections over lunch.
The DSCC sent out an updated invitation yesterday highlighting “recently confirmed panelists,” including Elliot Schrage, the VP of Global Communications, Marketing and Public Policy at Facebook, Dan’l Lewin, a corporate VP at Microsoft, and David Drummond, senior VP at Google.
Another panelist is venture capitalist John Doerr of KPCB, who was appointed by President Obama to be on his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Executives from LegalZoom, ShopKick, Bloom Energy, Yelp and Symantec will also be speaking.
Many of these executives have also been big supporters of the DSCC. Doerr gave $40,400 to the committee in 2009 and 2010. John W. Thompson, Symantec’s board chairman, gave $30,400 in 2010, the maximum annual donation that year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Drummond sent $10,000 to the committee in 2009. Schrage and K.R. Sridhar, of Bloom Energy, a fuel-cell company, have contributed in smaller amounts.
President Obama also tapped Silicon Valley for cash recently, holding a $35,800-per-couple fundraiser there in late September.
The conference kicks off on Thursday, where the night seems to be more about mingling than the “innovation ecosystem.” A reception and dinner will feature eight senators, including special deficit panel committee co-chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., Democratic caucus vice chair Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Mark Warner, D-Va., who is a former venture capitalist himself and has held tech-focused events before (like this fundraiser with Google’s former CEO and this meetup in Chicago). The special guest speaker that night is liberal economist and former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich.
The senators may be listening for clues to how they can use social media and mobile applications for their own campaigns, as two other panels are titled “How Social Media Has Empowered Movements and Change” and “The Application Revolution/Mobile Internet.”
12 conference tickets cost $30,800, the maximum annual contribution to party committees for the 2012 election, yet one ticket is a mere $1,000. Political Action Committees can give $5,000 or $15,000 for two tickets.
Contributions to Democratic congressional candidates from the tech community have waned compared to Republicans, although some of that decrease can likely be explained by the fact that there are far more Republicans in office now than in 2010. So far this year, Republican candidates have received about $1.1 million from the computer and Internet sectors, compared to about $800,000 to Democrats. However, in 2010, donations to Democrats trounced Republicans by over 60 percent, according to data tabulated by CRP.
The same is true for money from the venture capital sector. Donations are evenly spread between liberals and conservatives this year while Democrats raised more than double the funds that Republicans did in 2010, according to CRP.
Yet, the DSCC appears to be in slightly better shape than Democratic candidates. The party committee has taken in about $380,000 from the computer and Internet sectors this year, compared to $255,000 given to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Last year, the DSCC received $1.7 million from the sector, compared to $1.1 for the NRSC.Tweet
Duck…Duck…Goose! – The Valley PAC, the leadership fund for Rep. Collin Peterson, D—Minn., will be hosting a Goose Hunt this weekend in Eagle Lake, Texas. This is not the first time the Valley PAC has hosted a poultry themed weekend. Early this year, the PAC had a Turkey Hunt at the Blue Head Ranch in Lake Placid, Fla., as well as a Quail Hunt in 2009 at the Southern Woods Plantation in Georgia.
“Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go” – If you feel the need to reminisce to the popular Beach Boys song or the 80’s Tom Cruise movie Cocktail, Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., will be hosting a fundraising event in Key Largo this weekend.
This is Not a Repeat of 1832 - What better way to take a break from all that talk of income inequality related to the Occupy Wall Street protests by shelling out $1,000 to watch Les Miserables with a congressman? Donors can do just that on Wednesday evening at the Kennedy Center for Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa. The musical follows the lives of several struggling poor characters leading up to the Paris Uprising of 1832.
Ms. Pac-Man – As we reported earlier this year, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., swore off donations from PACs (and lobbyists) for her personal campaign when she took the helm at the DNC in May. But the leadership PAC, called Democrats Win Seats, that bears her initials is still going to be accepting dollars from such sources, and is doing so at a Tuesday dinner organized by lobbyists. The PAC is now run by one of her longtime supporters, although the congresswoman stepped down as its chairwoman earlier this year, POLITICO reported.
Super Committee members cashing in – Panel members have booked at least four events this week [See all of the panel's events]. Co-chair Jeb Hensarling’s, R-Texas, Leadership PAC is getting help from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Tuesday. The leadership fund of Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., is putting on a Wednesday breakfast.
On Thursday evening, Clyburn is one of the special guests for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event at the home of Tom and Linda Daschle, who lobbies for Lockheed Martin and General Electric. Both companies are impacted by the committee’s work, although Daschle did not report directly lobbying the panel in the third quarter.
The DSCC is putting on a “National Innovation Conference” in California on Thursday and Friday, and, Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chair of both the DSCC and the Super Committee, agreed to be one of the hosts.
Allen West’s fundraising surge – The biggest font on this Thursday invitation is reserved for former Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who reportedly offered his services to help with former Lieutenant Colonel Allen West’s, R-Fla., reelection. Another tidbit: for $2,500, donors will receive a copy of the former Defense secretary’s memoir, “Known and Unknown,” according to an event notification sent to Party Time.Tweet
Once the members of the powerful deficit-cutting committee were announced in early August, one of the first reported events where lobbyists could try to influence the panel was a fundraiser for Rep. Dave Camp’s, R-Mich., leadership PAC on Sept. 7.
Federal records offer a glimpse into who tried. $18,000 in donations came from the political action committees of clients of influential GOP lobbyist Susan Hirschmann, one of the hosts of the fundraiser, in the weeks before the event. And that total may very well climb higher when September’s contributions are made public later this week.
The PACs for Pfizer (also listed as a host on the invitation), Comcast and Merck, all of which have stakes in the important negotiations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—dubbed the super committee—donated $5,000—just the amount requested on the invitation—to Camp’s leadership PAC or campaign in the weeks leading up to the event. The PAC of another pharmaceutical company, Abbott Laboratories, gave $3,000.
Of the four corporate PACs, all gave to Camp’s leadership PAC except Comcast’s, which gave to his campaign.
The August donations were disclosed because many PACs file monthly fundraising reports. But a complete picture of who gave to Camp and the other panel members in the third fundraising quarter will only be released as candidates file their own reports this week.
Hirschmann, who works for Williams & Jensen, hosted the dinner with four other lobbyists and a former congressman-turned “senior strategic policy advisor.” One of the lobbyists, Sam Lancaster, works for Comcast. Two others work for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America and UPS, whose PACs did not report giving to Camp in August.
The 12-member committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts by Thanksgiving. For lobbyists, influencing the super committee has been more difficult than their usual lobbying, according to news reports, and so fundraisers provide a rare opportunity for face time with the lawmakers. Some of the members have said they have curtailed their schedule of fundraisers. John Kerry, D-Mass., said he won’t put on any of his own but still attended one for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Camp and Fred Upton, R-Mich., have said they will not put on fundraisers unless the events were scheduled before their appointment.
The invitation for this fundraiser was sent out on Aug. 10, the same day Camp was appointed to the panel, according to Time Magazine’s Swampland blog. The event date was set in the spring, “long before any consideration of the Budget Control Act and the Joint Select Committee,” Camp’s spokesperson Megan Piwowar wrote in an email. She did not respond to a question asking when the invitation was first sent.
Although Hirschmann did not respond to a request to comment and federal records do not reveal whether a PAC’s donation is connected to a particular fundraiser, she may have convinced many of her clients to donate for the event.
Hirschmann is the former chief of staff to former House Majority Whip Tom Delay, and is a frequent fundraiser for GOP candidates in Washington, hosting 20 events in recent years in Party Time’s records alone. Her long list of clients include some of the most influential companies and interest groups in the capital—from the Chamber of Commerce to General Electric to some of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical companies.
Merck’s gift came in the final days of August, while Comcast contributed on Aug. 10 and Pfizer contributed on Aug. 17, according to each PAC’s Federal Election Commission filings.
Abbott’s PAC gave to dozens of federal candidates on Aug. 22, including other super committee members. The PAC gave $1,500 to Max Baucus, D-Mont., $1,000 to Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., $1,000 to Fred Upton, R-Mich., and $1,000 to Upton’s leadership PAC. Merck also gave $2,500 to Baucus the same day the company contributed to Camp’s leadership fund, according to its FEC filing.Tweet
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said he wouldn’t schedule new campaign fundraisers while serving on the special deficit-cutting panel, but that doesn’t mean he’s not fundraising in Washington.
Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., made the same pledge, yet neither has addressed events that were already on their calendars. Nor do their promises cover the kind of event that Upton agreed to attend on Oct. 13, where deep-pocketed lobbyists and PAC representatives with business before the Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction—better known as the super committee—will have the chance to rub elbows with the Michigan lawmaker in exchange for between $500 and $5,000.
The event benefits the Tuesday Group PAC, a fund that helps moderate House Republicans’ re-election efforts. Upton is among dozens of House members hosting the affair at a Capitol Hill bar, according to the recently released invitation. While the event is not for his own re-election, it is the second fundraising event he will be involved in since being named to the committee in August, according to invitations received by Party Time. He also hosted a lunch for Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra in September.
A spokeswoman for Upton was not immediately available to confirm whether he would attend.
Upton is in good company on the 12-member super committee, which is trying to find at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to the nation’s deficit. The lawmakers have scheduled over 30 fundraisers from early August, when they were named to the committee, through Thanksgiving, when the panel’s work ends, according to released invitations [See a complete list]. Every member of the committee—except Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who canceled one—has been scheduled to appear at a fundraiser since being named to the committee, according to invitations received by Party Time.
Tomorrow evening, Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., who, like most on the committee has continued fundraising as usual, has planned an attractive annual event called “A Taste of Los Angeles,” complete with live salsa jazz and tacos shipped in from Southern California, according to a newly-disclosed invitation. The flyer entices donors with the promise of “Food, Fun, Music & Friends!”
The committee’s co-chair, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, also appears to have continued helping his colleagues bring in bucks. Yesterday, the Texan planned to attend a barbecue fundraiser for Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas. The event sought to raise up to $5,000-per-head, though a ticket could be had for as little as $100.
Hensarling is also still fundraising for his own campaign, according to a Politico report last week. The Investment Company Institute’s leaders and lobbyists put on a fundraiser for him on Oct. 5 at ICI’s headquarters. The event was co-hosted by Paul Schott Stevens, Donald Auerbach, Dean Sackett, Peter Gunas, Allen Huffman, Tonnie Wybensinger and Jim Hart of the ICI. The suggested contribution was $2,000 and the invitation did not mention Hensarling’s membership on the super committee, Politico reported.
Spokespeople for Hensarling and Becerra were not immediately available to comment.
On Oct. 27, panel member Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., will be involved in yet another moneymaker—the eleventh on his calendar while the super committee is in session. This time he’ll be seeking to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the Washington, D.C. home of Tom Daschle. Besides Clyburn and other Democratic leaders, another main draw to the high dollar event is the presence of young author James Farmer, who recently published a book on Southern-style garden living.
Update, Oct. 6: This post was edited to reflect that Kay Granger’s barbecue fundraiser was not the first that Jeb Hensarling was involved in since being named to the committee and to add details about the Hensarling fundraiser at the Investment Company Institute.Tweet
A new fundraiser was also disclosed involving Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., who has planned to attend ten such events from September through November, when the so-called super committee wraps up its work: five for his campaign, three for his leadership PAC and two for his colleagues. The newly disclosed event is a golf outing and dinner to raise money for Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., in Birmingham, Ala. on Sept. 26.
Van Hollen’s event, at 8 a.m. on Sept. 23, would conflict with any informal, collegial breakfast of the type the 12-member deficit committee held today. The panel is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion of deficit cuts by Thanksgiving.
Van Hollen’s breakfast will take place just across the street from the Capitol at Charlie Palmer Steak, a frequent destination for such events, and asks for between $500 and $5,000. The Maryland Democrat was also billed as the special guest to a fundraiser for Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, earlier today and is hosting one for Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., on Oct. 5.
Nine lawmakers on the 12-member super committee have scheduled fundraisers or appearances at colleagues’ events since being named to the committee (See them all on our Super Committee page or on this list).
In Party Time’s records, there are currently no events planned for co-chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., or Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., through Thanksgiving. However, such events could still be scheduled; we do not receive invitations to every congressional fundraiser in Washington, D.C.Tweet
Another lawmaker on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., has put off a fundraiser until after the panel finishes its work.
But a spokesperson for the congressman would not answer whether he has nixed all such events through Thanksgiving, when the committee will finish its work. And no member of the committee—except Senator John Kerry, D-Mass.—has said he would cancel all of them. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, indicated he would cut back on his events and Max Baucus, D-Mont., canceled one of his.
Camp’s fundraiser, originally planned for Aug. 4 and to be hosted by former Senate Majority Leader-turned lobbyist Trent Lott, among others at the lobbying firm Patton Boggs, has not been rescheduled. And it will not take place until after the so-called super committee comes to a close, according to Camp’s spokesperson Megan Piwowar.
The event will likely be held in December, according to Camp’s fundraising consultant, Elaine Svigos.
Party Time asked Piwowar, over email, if the Michigan lawmaker would continue to hold fundraisers while the committee was working. Her response was:
“Since being named to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Congressman Camp has not and will not schedule new fundraising events.”
But what about events that were already scheduled before his appointment to the committee on Aug. 10? After all, many fundraisers are booked months in advance, and fundraising consultants take advantage of the summer recess to book events for the fall. Camp had also planned a fundraiser on Sept. 7, the night before the super committee’s first organizational meeting, and there is no indication that it was postponed—only that it had been on the calendar before his appointment.
Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer last week, did not commit to canceling all of his events either. He told the paper, “Members aren’t going to have the time to be involved in (as many) events that they would have been. Personally, I’ve canceled a bunch of events.”
But that does not appear to include an event happening tonight, hours after the committee finishes its first hearing, Portman is the main draw to a fundraiser benefiting the campaign of Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio. And he still plans to be there, according to the event’s organizer.
“The latest I’ve heard, yes,” Chabot’s fundraising consultant Mackenzie Smith said this morning. Portman’s press secretary was not immediately available to confirm this.
Portman is among the nine lawmakers on the 12-member committee who are known to be holding or hosting events since being appointed to the committee.
*note: This post has been updated to reflect that John Kerry had announced he would not raise money while the committee meets.Tweet
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., is the fourth Republican on the 12-member Joint Special Committee on Deficit Reduction—known as the Super Committee—that is holding or hosting a fundraiser in the coming weeks. Five of the committee’s Democrats plan to be involved in such events.
At a Sept. 22 breakfast at a French bistro that offers Steak and Egg Frites for $21, Toomey will be asking PACs to give as much as $2,000 to his leadership PAC; individuals are asked to donate $1,000 or $500. Lawmakers can use such accounts to dish out money to their colleagues’ campaigns and boost their prestige within their party.
Newly-released invitations also show that Republican Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., another panel member, will be hosting a total of three fundraisers in the coming weeks. In addition to hosting a moneymaker for Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., he and other GOP leaders are the special guests at a Capitol Hill townhouse reception for Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., on Sept. 13.
The following week, Kyl is headlining an event for New Mexico Senate candidate Heather Wilson.
Another fundraiser involving super committee co-chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., was also disclosed today. She will be among the many Senate Democrats headlining the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s National Innovation Conference in Menlo Park, Calif., on Oct. 27 and 28.
For a complete list of fundraisers involving super committee members, see our Super Committee page.Tweet
Another member of Congress who is on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or Super Committee, will be hosting a fundraiser as the group begins its formal work.
GOP senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a Senate freshman who is experienced with budget issues, is headlining a fundraiser on Sept. 13 for Congressman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, according to a newly released invitation.
The evening reception asks PACs to ‘host’ the event for $2,500 or attend for $1,000. Individuals can participate for $500. The reception is being held at Capitol Hill’s high-class Johnny’s Half Shell, a seafood restaurant where the Maryland crab cakes go for $32.
That makes Portman the third Republican on the 12-member committee known to be hosting or holding a fundraiser in the coming weeks, just as many lobbyists will be looking for creative ways to catch their ears. Five of the six committee Democrats plan to be involved in fundraisers, Party Time’s invitations show. [Click here for a complete list of events on our new Super Committee page].
Lobbyists who have helped Portman, a former congressman and White House budget director under President George W. Bush, bring in cash before may have an easier time getting his attention. A slew of K street insiders planned a ‘Chili Fest’ for him in July.
That group includes Washington representatives of corporate lobbying heavyweights Ford, UPS, and Citibank, represented by Ziad Ojakli, also a former Bush aide, Sheryl Bonilla and Robert Schellhas, respectively. Schellhas, a principal at Washington Council Ernst & Young, was also Portman’s one-time chief of staff and a former staffer of another super committee member, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich.
Portman’s other lobbyist hosts included Thomas Scully of Alston & Bird, who was the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under President Bush and now represents a long list of health care clients.
When it was announced that he would join the ATAA last year, Calio told Politico he wanted to bolster the group’s PAC. He said:
“You’ve got to be part of the political process and contributions and political support are part of the political process,” he said. “When you have people who consistently support you on policy issues, they expect you to be part of their political life support system. It’s just that simple.”
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.