Super Bowl Party in Indianapolis – Rep. John Conyers, Jr. D-Mich., and America Forward PAC is scheduled to head to Super Bowl XLVI to watch the New York Giants go against the New England Patriots. The $5,000 super fan package includes one Super bowl ticket and two tickets to attend a luncheon.
Last year, the Moving America Forward PAC hosted a Super Bowl XLIV game and & Luncheon in Miami.
Huskies vs. Hoyas – On Wednesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is scheduled to be at a fundraiser at the Verizon Center to watch the UConn Huskies take on the Georgetown Hoyas. To attend the fundraiser and game, the suggested contribution is $1,500. According to the Ticketmaster website, there are still tickets available for $41.30, including fee.
Birthday Celebration – Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C., is scheduled to have a birthday reception on Tuesday, with Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C. The suggested contribution to attend the birthday celebration starts at $5,000 to host and $500 for individual tickets.
Money Makin’ Thursday – According to Party Time records, Thursday will be busy day for both sides of the aisle. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., is scheduled to have a reception with special guest Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wis. The Tuesday Group PAC is also scheduled to have a reception in the evening. After checking to see if the groundhog will see its shadow, Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa. is scheduled to have a Groundhog Day breakfast. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will be hosting the Good Life Council Lunch with Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.
Coffee and Bagels – The RAD-PAC, associated with the American College of Radiology, is scheduled to host a Coffee and Bagels Meet and Greet with Republican Reps. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., and Tom Price,R-Ga., M.D.Tweet
Looking to start August on a fundraising high note, seven members of Congress have fundraisers scheduled at a Taylor Swift concert at the Verizon Center next week. The Nashville songstress has two sold out shows on August 2 and August 3.
Six members of Congress will be attending the August 2 performance. Republican senator John Thune, R-S.D, will join Republican representatives Jo Bonner, R-Ala., Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., Tom Price, R-Ga., and Kay Granger, R-Texas, in the Swift sing-along. Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C,. is also scheduled to fundraise at the Swift show. The invitation to join the co-chair of the Blue Dog Coalition features a distraught looking Swift and suggests invitees bring their son or daughter to join them at the show.
The following night on August 3, Swift will return to the stage, this time with only one lawmaker in attendance. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., is the only member of congress scheduled to attend the August 3 concert.
This is not the first time lawmakers have seen Swift as a fundraising draw. In June last year, Reps. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Tom Price all held fundraisers at a Swift concert at the Verizon center. Rep. Price apparently enjoyed her show enough to fundraise around her again this year.
Tickets to the show are currently sold out, but can be found for as little as $55. The privilege of rocking out to Swift in the company of a member of Congress however carries a price. Tickets to these fundraisers run from $1,000 for two individual tickets with Kay Granger to $3,500 for two PAC tickets with John Thune.
Editor’s Note: After a phone call from the artist’s publicist, we would like to add that Taylor Swift, Messina Group or the Verizon Center have no involvement in the fundraiser.
The final push for campaign checks is in full swing, with Mar. 31 marking the end of the first quarter. That’s when campaigns have to close their books and, within 15 days, report the contributions they received to the Federal Election Commission.
Based on the invitations we have received so far, there are at least 500 fundraisers planned this month, the busiest month for such events since September 2010, which was just before the mid-term elections.
The above graph shows the number of fundraisers each month over the past year. Notice that the totals tend to spike at the end of quarters.
The next graph focuses on this month, when fundraising consultants are prodding PAC representatives and donors to send in checks before March expires. There are more than 100 fundraisers scheduled in the last three days of the month. Last week there were nearly 200 such events planned but because Congress is on recess this week, there are only a few—mostly outside the capital—scheduled for this week.
This week’s out-of-town moneymakers include Rep. Collin Peterson’s, D-Minn., three-day central Florida turkey hunt for his leadership PAC and Mike Ross’s, D-Ark. trip to an Arkansas racetrack and casino, both scheduled for this weekend. On the West Coast, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., planned an eponymously named golf tournament yesterday, according to the invitation.
Next week, Reps. John Barrow, D-Ga., and Tom Price, R-Ga., are each fundraising at Nationals Park on Opening Day. At the upscale Palm Steakhouse, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has planned its second fundraiser this month aimed at labor interests. That comes at a time when state legislatures have passed recent laws to limit public unions’ bargaining rights.Tweet
Over on Sunlight’s reporting site is a story about the blurred separation between official staffers and the campaign staff of Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., before a crucial House vote on a bill to overhaul the financial regulatory system.
Using Document Cloud while doing research for the story, we made over 100 notes to the House Committee on Ethics report, which cleared Crowley and two other lawmakers of granting special access to Wall Street interests. In the notes, we have provided background information and links on the lobbyists who are featured on rarely-seen fundraiser attendance lists and who exchanged emails with the three lawmakers’ staffers leading up to the events.
We have also noted some of the Ethics Committee’s main arguments and some interesting details about Washington’s fundraiser culture in the annotation:
*In some cases, prior to going to a fundraiser, attendees (or their PACs) have already committed contributing a certain amount. For instance, KPMG committed $2,500 for a John Campbell, R-Calif., event on Oct. 21, 2009, but the campaign did not disclose receiving the check to the Federal Election Commission until about a month later, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, making it much harder to link a campaign donation to an official action, as the report found.
*The three members’ chiefs of staff and top legislative aides attended many of their fundraisers. Rep. Campbell’s legislative aide for financial services said he goes to about three quarters of his boss’s fundraisers.
The report also includes some interesting tidbits and partisan jabs:
*One lobbyist modestly questioned how appropriate Campbell’s financial services fundraiser was, considering it was the night before a crucial markup on the overhaul bill.
*Asked why his boss held a fundraiser on the same day as the vote, Rep. Tom Price’s, R-Ga., chief of staff compared the Democrats to the The Boy Who Cried Wolf because they “had a habit of yanking votes.” He said he had no way of knowing the vote would actually happen when they said it would.
Party Time even plays a role in the investigation:
*The lawyers for both Price and Campbell used Party Time’s data in their client’s defense. Campbell’s lawyer noted that members of the Financial Services Committee hold similar fundraisers all the time. Committee members put on 109 of them between Oct. 21 and Dec. 11, 2009, he wrote.Tweet
Three lawmakers did not give special access to Wall Street interests at fundraisers around the time of a key House Wall Street regulatory reform vote, the House Committee on Ethics has found, in dismissing a probe yesterday. Rather, the events’ coinciding with crucial votes was by chance, according to the findings.
By concluding that the lawmakers did not even act in a way which appeared improper, the Ethics Committee, an official House body made up of members of Congress, disagreed with the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. That body argued last summer that there was “substantial reason to believe” that each member “solicited or accepted contributions in a manner which gave the appearance that special treatment or access was being provided to donors.”
You can view the over 600-page report here. In the next couple of days, we will be annotating it using Document Cloud.
The report found that the the congressmen’s fundraising consultants arranged the events without coordinating with the members’ official staff. Each member “typically” did not know about the fundraisers until right around the event’s occurrence. Members’ votes were based on “significant legislative concerns,” not requests from donors. And the attendees did not have substantive discussions with members at the fundraisers, according to the report.
The three lawmakers are Reps. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., Tom Price, R-Ga., and John Campbell, R-Calif. Last summer, the OCE dismissed probes into five other lawmakers’ fundraising with Wall Street interests and recommended that the Ethics Committee investigate the trio. Three Crowley and Campbell events were scrutinized while one of Price’s was considered.
The report includes a summary of the three lawmakers’ legislative positions on the bill and amendments over time and an account of what actually happened at the fundraisers. It also includes OCE investigation documents such as the events’ attendees, interviews with the lawmakers and their staff and email exchanges between, for instance, Rep. Crowley’s staff and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
At a Dec. 10, 2009, “Financial Services Luncheon” with Rep. Price, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., was a special guest and made brief, general comments to the crowd. Price’s chief of staff attended but did not discuss the Wall Street regulatory overhaul bill (H.R. 4173), the report said. Over 2,500 people were invited, according to Price’s fundraising consultant, and the event was initially planned for October but was postponed, the report found.
As we read and annotate the report of next couple of days, there will be more details to come. To start, here are two of the Campbell fundraisers and one of Crowley’s:Tweet
The three congressmen that the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended for investigation into whether they broke ethics rules around the time of the Financial Regulatory Reform bill late last year attended multiple Capitol Hill fundraisers on the days leading up to crucial votes on the bill.
Earlier this year, the independent OCE opened an investigation into 8 lawmakers who received a high level of campaign contributions from the financial industry leading up to the House vote to approve the overhaul on Dec. 11. The OCE dismissed the cases of five lawmakers, and recommended that the House Ethics Committee go forward with three, the New York Times reported.
Here’s what we know about the three lawmakers’ fundraisers: Joseph Crowley’s, D-N.Y., evening fundraiser occurred at the home of a lobbyist who was paid to lobby on the bill, and the event took place while the House was debating a series of amendments that would have strengthened the bill. The invitation to Tom Price’s, R-Ga., fundraising luncheon, also on Dec. 10, was specifically aimed at the financial services sector.
The connection between the fundraisers held by John Campbell, R- Calif., and the financial industry is less clear. One of the two events he held on Dec. 9 was at the home of defense industry lobbyists Christopher Perkins and Fleming “Mike” Legg.
All three lawmakers have influential finance-related posts. Crowley is the vice chair of finance at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and serves on the tax writing Ways and Means Committee. Price is the chair of the Republican Study Committee, and he and John Campbell sit on the Financial Services Committee.
In one of the dismissal letters, obtained by the Times, sent to Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, the OCE hinted at why they cleared these five lawmakers, and why the three others may be in hot water. Hensarling was found not to have: “solicited or accepted contributions in a manner which gave the appearance of special treatment or access was being provided to donors or the appearance that the contributions were linked to an official act.”
The e-mail invitation to the event at Legg’s D Street townhouse was sent out on Nov. 17, 2009, from Michael Gula of the GOP fundraising firm, the Gula Graham Group, and asked donors to attend a “California Wine Tasting” headlined by Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va. Gula wrote:
“The wine tasting will be at 123 D St., SE right around the corner from the [Capitol Hill Club]. We will have multiple wines from California to try. Any chance you can do $500 of $1K to help Congressman Campbell?”
The e-mail also asks donors to attend another fundraiser earlier that day, a lunch at the Capitol Hill Club, a private GOP club steps from the Capitol, headlined by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
As for Crowley, during the Dec. 10 debate over amendments, he left to attend his holiday fundraiser at financial sector lobbyist Julie Domenick’s home, which doubled as her office. He then came back to vote against amendments that would have strengthened the bill, the Times reported.
Domenick told the Center for Public Integrity that she was asked in early November if the Crowley campaign could use her home for a holiday party, and that the event had nothing to do with the House votes. At least two dozen fundraisers have been planned at her home these past two years, according to Party Time’s database.
Crowley was supposed to attend two other events on Dec. 9 and 10. He was listed as a host for an Adam Smith, D-Wash., fundraiser at a Capitol Hill eatery. The day before, he was scheduled to be at another Hill watering hole, Charlie Palmer Steak, to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – he serves as the group’s vice chair for finance.
Price’s lunch was also at the Capitol Hill Club, headlined by Financial Services Committee ranking member Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. Price also held a fundraising breakfast there on Dec. 2, the day the overhaul bill was voted out of committee.Tweet
As part of its ongoing investigation into whether eight lawmakers broke ethics rules by taking large campaign donations from the financial sector before a landmark financial regulation vote, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has requested documents from lobbyists who hosted fundraisers at that time, according to a report in today’s New York Times.
The Party Time database contains invitations for fundraisers for seven out of eight of those lawmakers, all scheduled during the two days preceding the December 11 vote. The Times story today focuses particularly on two December 10 parties: Rep. Joseph Crowley’s, D-N.Y., fundraiser at the townhouse owned by financial industry lobbyist Julie Domenick and Rep. Tom Price’s, R-Ga., Capitol Hill Club lunch, where Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., ranking Republican on the Financial Services Committee, was billed as a guest.
These eight lawmakers are getting the attention of the OCE, but as the Times story notes–and the Party Time database shows–there were plenty of other fundraisers occurring near the time of the key vote. Take Domenick’s home as an example.
In all, Party Time has two dozen fundraiser invitations for events at the Domenick townhouse from Feb. 2009 through April 2010, including several parties right before the Dec. 11 vote. On Dec. 2, the townhouse was scheduled to be the site of a fundraiser for Rep. Scott Murphy, D-N.Y., with Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, listed as a guest. On Dec. 9, Rep. Frank Kratovil, D-Md., planned a fundraiser. Kratovil is a member of the Agriculture Committee, also involved in the Wall St. reform.
According to Party Time records, Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., Paul Hodes, D-N.H., (who is running for Senate), Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Ron Klein, D-Fla, all Financial Services Committee members, invited donors to parties at Domenick’s home in early 2010. Rep. John Boccieri, D-Ohio, planned a party there for February, where Crowley was listed as a guest.
We don’t know if Domenick, who lobbies for the Investment Co Institute and Federated Investors Inc., attended these events or just allowed her home to be used. Domenick recently sold her house, according to this May report.
Party Time has often tracked fundraisers occurring while key legislation is being debated in Congress. Last month we blogged about (and made a spreadsheet) all of the invitations to fundraisers we had on file for the 43 lawmakers serving on the conference committee for the financial reform bill. We also pointed to invitations for fundraisers scheduled for some Democratic members during the final days of the conference.Tweet
The Party Time database shows that seven of the eight lawmakers currently being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics for holding fundraisers or receiving major donations just two days before the House vote on the Wall Street reform bill, have invites for fundraisers that took place within the time frame of the Ethics probe.
The probe is focused on whether the timing of accepting the campaign checks 48 hours before the vote on December 11, 2009 created an unacceptable appearance of a conflict, the Washington Post reported today. The Ethics Office has sent letters to lobbyists requesting information about these donations, the Post also found.
According to our database of fundraising invitations, which is by no means complete, the following lawmakers sent invitations to the fundraisers listed below which were set to take place on December 9, 2009 or December 10, 2009:
• Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., planned a December 10, 2009 “Financial Services Luncheon” featuring Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., at the Capitol Hill Club. Guests and political action committees could attend by donating anywhere from $500-$2,500.
• Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., planned a December 9, 2009 reception at Democratic National Headquarters titled “Bojangles’ Fried Chicken, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Mel Watt, of course!” Individuals were asked to contribute $500 and political action committees $1,000.
• Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., planned a December 9, 2009 “California Wine Tasting” that cost participants anywhere from $500-$1,000. The distribution for the wine tasting event was paid for by the Gula Graham Group a fundraising and political consulting firm. Campbell also planned a December 8, 2009 lunch at the Capitol Hill club where guests could pay anywhere from $500-$2,000. The event also featured special guest Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
• Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., planned a “Last Call” breakfast on December 9, 2009 at the Capitol Hill Club. The invitation prominently displayed his position as a ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, and a member of the House Financial Services Committee and House Science and Technology Committee. The cost to attend was $500 per person and $1,000 per political action committee.
• Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., planned a “Holiday Reception” on December 9, 2009 for “max out donors only” who could attend for $1,000 per political action committee or co-sponsor the event for $2,500 per political action committee.
• Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., planned a December 10, 2009 breakfast at the offices of Davis and Harman LLP where guests could pay anywhere from $500-$2,000 to attend. The firm has several financial firms as clients.
• There are no invitations on file for the two-day time period of the probe for Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who is also being investigated. However there are plenty of other invites for Hensarling in our database. According to the Post, Ethics investigators want to know about the 10-day period before the vote when he raised at least $30,000 in case from financial firms and their advocates.
The 2008 House Ethics Manual states:
“The Standards Committee has long advised Members and staff that they should always exercise caution to avoid even the appearance that solicitations of campaign contributions are connected in any way with an action taken or to be taken in their official capacity.”Tweet
At least three politicians – Reps. Tom Price, R-Ga., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Gregg Harper, R-Miss. – are using Swift’s concert tonight to raise funds. Two tickets to sing “You Belong With Me” with Price is costing political action committees $4,000 each, while individuals will shell out $2,500 for just one seat. Harper is charging individuals $2,400, for two tickets and asking $5,000 from PACs. Blackburn offers the biggest bargain at $1,500 for PACs and $1,000 for individuals.
All are far above the regular price of the ticket however, which ranges from $28-$72.50. However these fundraisers don’t violate the District’s anti-scalping law, which forbids the sale of tickets above or below their face value, because the exchange took place on the Internet and not a public street.
If Kanye West were here, he might say: I’ma let you finish, but… Beyonce had one of the best fundraisers of all time. That’s because Beyonce’s summer 2009 Verizon Center concert also raised funds for at least five politicians. For example a ticket to see Ms. Knowles with Rep. Sanford Bishop cost $2,500.
Politicos might want to consider touring with the 20-year-old Swift, who writes her own songs. She’s sold over 24 million digital tracks, making her the top-selling digital artist in music history, according to Neilsen SoundScan. And she’s got broad appeal.
So that begs the question: Why are all the fundraisers at tonight’s Swift concert for Republicans? And why were 4 out of the 5 Beyonce fundraisers for Democrats?Tweet
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.