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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 - 07.28.14 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Gov. Chris Christie knocks a home run in New Hampshire, Rep. Gary Peters parties on Capitol Hill, and a four-for-one deal in New Mexico

Hello, party people! Here we are, wrapping up July and looking toward August. We can’t believe it’s almost time for Congress’ loooooooong break until Labor Day, but come to think of it, summer political partying has kept us pretty busy. Turns out, time really does fly when you’re having FUN(draising)!

While politicians will soon be heading home for recess, we just know some of them will fit in a fundraiser or two. So, send us what you hear in your home states! You can use our confidential upload feature to share official invites, or feel free to email us news clippings, guest lists, or photos from the event.

As D.C. – and D.C. partying – slows to a crawl, Party Time preps for an abbreviated schedule, too. But before we take a summer break of our own, we’ve got a handful of parties to check out. Here’s your week in parties!

Take me out to the ballgame
New Hampshire comings and goings always capture political watchers’ attention, what with the state’s status as host of the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries. Politicians hoping to ink a lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue often test the waters in the Granite State long before they become official candidates.

And this Thursday evening is no exception. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – consistently on a list of possible GOP 2016ers, and a frequent party animal – hits the road for a shindig for the Republican Party of New Hampshire. The Fisher Cats, a Manchester-based minor league baseball team, will be having a home game and the state’s GOP is throwing a Home Run to Victory in 2014 party to celebrate.

Things get started at 6 p.m. with a BBQ buffet and reception, and first pitch is at 7:05. But don’t scoot out early; the invite also promises fireworks! Tickets start at $45, but go up to $2,500 for a seat in the VIP Suite to watch the game with Christie.

As Christie gins up support (and gets some face time with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who will also attend the game), a former presidential candidate will stump for one of the Granite State’s GOP gubernatorial hopefuls in Virginia. Arizona Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is slated to headline a fundraiser for Walt Havenstein at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington on July 30.

Havenstein, one of four candidates for the GOP nomination in New Hampshire’s Sept. 9 primary, is hoping for a chance to unseat Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan come November. A former Marine turned defense industry bigwig — heading up mega defense firm (and political heavy-hitter) BAE Systems) — Havenstein has been a fan of McCain for years. He introduced the one-time presidential candidate during a primary stop in New Hampshire in 2008 and gave money to his campaign.

Party for Peters
Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., is running for Senate in his home state and has been pumping up his fundraising schedule, in the past few weeks. First, he brandished his progressive bona fides, partying side-by-side with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., during the yearly liberal confab at Netroots Nation. This week, Peters will throw a luncheon at popular party post Johnny’s Half Shell. Tickets to Wednesday’s fundraiser start at $500 and go up to $5,000.

The get-together comes on the heels of a batch of recent polls that have Peters leading his Republican challenger, Terri Lynn Land. GOP heavyweights have lined up behind Land, Michigan’s former Secretary of State, at D.C. fundraisers for her campaign. In June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Thune, R-S.D., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, headlined a luncheon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill.

Sunlight’s Real-Time Influence Explorer tool shows that Land is winning the money race, besting Peters when it comes to cash raised and money in the bank. But candidates’ coffers aren’t the only source of money in the campaign – outside groups have spent more than $5 million so far. The lion’s share of that, $4.2 million, has been spent on anti-Land media buys by Senate Majority PAC, NextGen Climate Action Committee, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and labor organizations.

Party Time’s buy two, get two
Bargain hunters rejoice: For a cool $1,000, you can break bread with three Democratic senators — two of whom just happen to be running for reelection this year — and one former Democratic senator. On Saturday, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (“Saturday Night Live” royalty) and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall (political dynasty royalty) will lunch with former New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman and his successor, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., in Albuquerque. It’s a four-for-one deal, folks!

And that’s a wrap! What have we missed, and what have you heard about? Email us the goods, or upload invites right here.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Uncategorized • POSTED - 11.18.13 BY Palmer Gibbs

PT Round-up: Raising cash for Pennsylvania pols, big names come out for Michigan Senate race, and $500 tacos

Hey, partiers, hey! It’s Monday morning in the nation’s capital, which means we are looking at a week of committee hearings, legislation markups and, you guessed it, fundraisers.

Michigan’s upcoming Senate race is nudging Terri Lynn Land further into the national spotlight, especially after an upcoming D.C. fundraiser with GOP heavy-hitters like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. And Pennsylvania politicians are keeping us on our toes this week, with some Washington-based shindigs, including a Penguins-Capitals game on Wednesday. That feels like a setup to a bad, political-insider joke: A Democratic senator and a Republican congressman walk into the Verizon Center …

Here’s the scoop on what’s happening this week. But what are we missing? As always, let us know what you’ve heard about!

Corbett cashes in

Pennsylvania GOP-ers are coming out in a big way on Monday evening for Gov. Tom Corbett. They are excited, they are pumped, and they want you to open up that checkbook.

Corbett announced Nov. 6 that he’s seeking a second term, even though 44 percent of registered Republicans say he should step aside for a different GOP candidate, according to a recent Franklin & Marshall College poll. News reports from the reelection kickoff said that poll numbers don’t concern Corbett, which is probably a good thing, since his approval ratings have been below 30 percent since May.

He’s also staring down a herd of challengers. The Morning Call reported that eight Democrats are vying to unseat Corbett, including Rep. Allyson Schwartz and several local and state government officials.

On the heels of snagging former Gov. Tom Ridge’s endorsement – and reports that Corbett just hired a Ridge-affiliated firm to lobby for Pennsylvania in D.C., which Sunlight’s Bill Allison weighed in on – the Keystone State delegation is throwing a party. Tickets start at $1,000 for the reception that’s hosted by former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s lobbying firm, BGR Group.

Two political parties, one hockey game

Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., slated to attend Corbett’s Monday evening event, is having a busy week. He’ll also headline his own fundraiser Wednesday at the Verizon Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins are facing off against the Washington Capitals, and Kelly is hoping you’ll plunk down at least $500 to watch the game, and, you know, help him get reelected.

On the outside chance the game gets boring, you could always ask for a reenactment of Kelly’s rousing floor speech last summer about a Republican budget proposal. It’s an oldie but a goodie.

And if you need more proof that sports is a great equalizer, Democratic Sen. Bob Casey will also be at the game and also asking for your money. Casey – who beat out Rick Santorum in ’06 and then last year became the first Democrat in his state to get reelected to the Senate since 1962 – won’t be on a ballot again until 2018. But if we’ve learned anything, partiers, it’s that fundraising can never start too early. (And that celebrity appearances are always helpful, too: Actress Jennifer Garner added some star power to Casey’s recent announcement of a preschool initiative.)

Land gets some love

If you are looking for a Republican senator on Tuesday, you might want to hit up Terri Lynn Land’s evening reception. A whopping 13 of them will be on hand to support Land’s 2014 run for the Senate seat vacated by Democrat Sen. Carl Levin.

The two-time Michigan Secretary of State and current member of the Republican National Committee is getting help from Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), John Cornyn (Texas), Lindsey Graham(S.C.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Jim Risch (Idaho), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and John Thune(S.D.). Based on the often, widely and repeatedly talked about infighting in the GOP, this guest list feels impressive – and like equal nods to moderates and the tea party.

According to our Real-Time tracker, Land has a little more than $2 million in the bank, including the $1 million she contributed to her campaign, while her Democratic opponent, Rep. Gary Peters, has about $2.5 million on hand. Land reportedly hasn’t accepted money from PACs yet, but Tuesday’s event will change that: Tickets for individuals start at $1,000, but PACs are encouraged to give up to $10,000.

Funder for Foster

Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., just got another Republican challenger in his 2014 reelection campaign. State Rep. Darlene Senger, Chris Balkema, Ian Bayne and now Bert Miller are all slated to face off in the GOP primary next year in hopes of unseating Foster.

So, naturally, Foster is having a fundraiser! In case you missed his October Breakfast Reception, never fear – a November Breakfast Reception at Capitol Hill’s Sonoma Restaurant is on for Wednesday. The event aims to bring in $500 to $5,000 per person. (Also, we’d like to note that this guy seems to really like breakfast lately.)

This week in pricey food

If last week’s $500 cheesesteak has you hankering for another opportunity to overpay for cheap street fare, you’re in luck. This week, it’s $500 for tacos.

Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry – who will face a from-the-right challenger, businessman Dan Frei, in the 2014 Republican primary – is having a Monday night fundraiser at La Lomita Dos that he’s cleverly dubbed “Tacos with Terry.” Don’t get us wrong – we love alliteration and Mexican food, but $500 for the pair?

That’s our week in political parties, friends. What have we missed? Let us know!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


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.