Political Party Time

Kennedy fundraising train chugs into NYC

After a busy fundraising day in Washington, the newest Kennedy to try his luck in the family business, Joseph Kennedy III, will be the beneficiary of a New York soiree Thursday hosted by New York Democratic heavyweights, including his cousin, Caroline Kennedy.

Democratic socialite Patricia Duff has been promoting the fundraiser. She sent around an email to join her for  "a special event with the incomparable Caroline Kennedy," attaching a formal invitation and a glowing Boston Globe article about the 31-year-old candidate, who is running for the congressional seat being vacated by the retiring Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

The latest candidate Kennedy is the grandson of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., and a member of a storied political dynasty. Until last year, there had been at least one Kennedy in a federal elective office every year since 1947.

The $2,500 or $5,000-per-donor reception will take place at the Park Avenue home of Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy (who made a brief unsuccessful foray into electoral politics three years ago), and her husband, designer Edwin Schlossberg.

Duff's work promoting it is just one example among many of the work she does for Democrats in the Big Apple. The Hollywood-connected New Yorker, famous for a very public custody battle with her billionaire ex-husband, has also increased her political giving in recent years.

Duff, who once told a New York court she required $132,000 per month to cover her daughter's expenses, has donated nearly $300,000 to the campaigns of Barack Obama, other Democrats, and the Democratic Party since the 2008 presidential election, according to Influence Explorer. That's more than she contributed from 1990 to 2006. And that doesn't include the between $50,000 and $100,000 that she has fundraised—or "bundled"—for Obama's re-election, or for any other candidates.

She helped with three Elizabeth Warren moneymakers in New York in recent months, including one back in October, according to her personal assistant. Recently, she focused on raising money for a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee conference at a midtown hotel in early March, the invitation to which asked people to raise as much as $30,800 for the party. Last spring, she was among an elite group dining with Obama at a dinner at former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's New York home, Politico reported.

Once described as a "staggeringly beautiful woman," Duff's lengthy child custody battle with cosmetics billionaire Ronald Perelman began in the late 1990s but was back in court as recently as 2008.

Duff was a major fundraiser for Bill Clinton, who often sat at his table at fundraisers for the 1996 campaign, according to news reports at the time. In 2007, Duff founded a nonprofit  called The Common Good that hosts discussions with pundits and activists.

Just since the 2008 campaign, Duff has given $266,235 to Democratic candidates and party committees, nearly half of it to Obama and the Democratic National Committee. From 1990 to 2006, she gave a total of $180,455.

Despite extending the invitations and being very excited about the Kennedy event tonight, she will not be able to attend because of an urgent family matter, her assistant Noebeth Toro said. She wasn't able to do her normal "following up" with donors, so won't be responsible for more than a handful of people attending.

But Kennedy, who resigned recently as an assistant district attorney to make the run for Congress, will not be starved for cash. He was in Washington, D.C. for a whopping five fundraisers on Wednesday, Politico reported.