Partyin' on a prayer: Politicans raise money at Bon Jovi gig
Rocker and staunch Democrat Jon Bon Jovi might be surprised to learn that his concert at the Verizon Center on Monday also played host to at least two fundraisers for Republican members of Congress.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, CA-52, and Rep. Robert E. Latta, OH-5, both booked fundraisers with a "suggested contribution" far above the face value of the ticket. According to the Latta for Congress invite, donors could be a "Rock Star" by paying $2,500 per PAC; a "Roadie" for $1,000; or a "Fan" for $500. The Hunter for Congress invite included slightly lower prices at $2,000 per PAC to host the event, $1,000 per PAC to attend and $500 per person.
Democratic Rep. John Adler, NJ-3, had also scheduled a fundraiser at the concert, but a spokesperson for his campaign said it did not actually take place. Adler’s invite had asked for $1,500 for a PAC ticket, $2,500 for a pair and $500 for a personal ticket. Emails to Latta’s campaign were not returned, and a staffer at Hunter’s campaign said he hadn’t heard of the fund raiser.
Verizon Center spokesperson Sheila Francis declined to say who held rights to the luxury suites where the events were held, but said the suites are often leased on an annual basis, and some can be rented for a single event for $4,000 to $8,000.
A suite can hold anywhere from 12 to 24 ticket holders and can include two rows of seating, a kitchenette, a bathroom, a television and a refrigerator.
Francis said such 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.
"The key word is public space. If brokers and scalpers were on the street, the DC police could enforce that," Francis said. "The Internet is not considered a public place, that’s why you can see tickets on Ticketmaster… at whatever price."
Representatives for Bon Jovi—who lent his musical might to Al Gore in 2000 and toured extensively, along with other prominent musicians, for John Kerry in 2004—had little to say about the fundraisers.
"So people rented private space and conducted fundraising activities at the venue while Bon Jovi’s show was going on? That wouldn’t have anything to do with the band," said Bon Jovi representative Tiffany Shipp in an email.