Political Party Time

Get Off the Couch: Holiday Season Parties Begin!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Black Friday has launched that super-commercialized door-busting retail onslaught, also known as the holiday season. Much like shoppers rushing out at 4 a.m. to snag the best deals, politicians are hustling in the weeks after Election Day to throw parties and raise some serious holiday dough.

Check out the highlights below, and send us your invites here!

2014, Start Your Engines
If you thought you were safe from political campaigning, think again. Some politicians have already started preparing for their 2014 bids, beginning with some old fashioned partying. Class II Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., are both hosting fundraisers in the upcoming week, despite their elections being two years away.

Chambliss is making his desire clear with the "Quarterly Max-Out Reception," not so subtly suggesting that donors contribute as much as they can to the campaign. The suggested price for this Monday event at the Capitol Hill Club is $5,000 for PACs and $2,500 for individuals, the maximum amount allowed for one election cycle. What a coincidence!

Inhofe is celebrating his birthday with style at the "Annual Joe's Stone Crab Reception" on Wednesday. For as much as $2,500 or as little as $500, you too can enjoy Florida stone crab right here in D.C! (But that's not as impressive as it sounds, however, as the crab can be found in places like Texas and Connecticut...) The event name refers to the famous Joe's Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach, which is turning 100 next year. If you can't make it to the party but still want some tasty crab, you're in luck - Joe's delivers all across the continental U.S.

Lose Some, Lose Some More
For Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, R, Election Day didn't go as planned. His political committee, RANDPAC, bet against all the wrong candidates, resulting in a total success rate of 0% - and a loss of $500,000. Check the races he influenced (or tried to) below from Follow the Unlimited Money:

Ouch, that hurts. Perhaps to offset these losses, Paul will be hosting a luncheon on Nov. 29 at fundraising favorite Johnny's Half Shell. Admission will cost up to $5,000 to sponsor, up to $2,500 to host, and up to $1,000 to attend. Just 500 attendees and he'll be in the clear!

Debt Retirement Alert
Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently prevailed in his Senate race, and now he needs to pay off some of that burdensome campaign debt - about $1.2 million of it. To accomplish this, Cruz is doubling up on Wednesday, hosting a $2,000 "Debt Retirement Reception" followed by a $5,000 "Debt Retirement Dinner" with a special guest, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Party Time covered the world of debt retirement fundraisers earlier this month - check it out!

Crapo Does Double Time
Senior Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo (it's pronounced "Cray-poe"!) isn't taking an extended Thanksgiving break, getting right back to his busy Washington schedule - of partying, that is. Crapo is pulling a double 'draiser, hosting two benefits on Tuesday. He'll fill up with a $2,000/$1,000 lunch, take an afternoon siesta, and then head over to Charlie Palmer's for a dinner at the same price point. If Crapo is still eating that much food soon after a Thanksgiving meal, maybe he deserves the money.

Just like Black Friday has encroached upon other holidays, with some stores this year opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, fundraising season is chewing up more of the political calendar -- just ask Mitch McConnell, who held a $2,500 dinner the night after the election.

Perhaps lawmakers should follow the "Buy Nothing Day" movement, an international day of protest against high-octane consumerism, and chill their fundraising efforts. Activities of Buy Nothing Day include: The Whirl-Mart, where participants silently steer their shopping carts around a store in a "long, baffling conga line" without putting anything in them; and the Zombie Walk, where people wander around malls staring at shoppers with a blank expression on their face. I have a feeling that some politicians wouldn't be so bad at that last one.

Until next time, Partiers!