Political Party Time

Luckily There's No "Funder Cliff" - Holiday Parties, a Potato Festival and More!

The news world is buzzing relentlessly about the "fiscal cliff," the dreaded spending cuts and tax increases that will automatically hammer the U.S. when the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 31. If America does pull a Thelma and Louise and drives right off the ledge, it could send the economy spiraling into recession. But there's still hope - Congress could work out a deal that eases the dramatic financial consequences! Unfortunately, that involves Democrats and Republicans compromising, so it looks like this may be our fate.

Luckily for Party Time, there is no "funder cliff." Political partying is something that politicians across both aisles can get behind; after all, there's nothing with more bipartisan support than a fat fundraiser. And they're continuing to throw those lucrative soirees right into the heart of the holiday season, which we're officially inaugurating with the cool video above of workers in Colorado packing up the Capitol Christmas Tree, delivered this week. Check out the highlights below, and, as always, send us your invites here!

The Holidays are Here
The season of giving has truly arrived, and politicians are well aware of it. That's why PT has collected several holiday-themed fundraisers over the next few weeks, looking to snag an extra dollar in the name of charity. Kicking off this week is Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, hosting his Eighth Annual Maine Christmas in Washington on Wednesday. The price to deck these halls ranges from $5,000 to $500.

Buon Natale! If you know who Dominick the Donkey is, you'll probably fit in with the crowd attending Rep. Bill Pascrell's, D-N.J., Italian Style Holiday Reception. Why the Italian theme? It turns out that Pascrell is the grandson of Italian immigrants! To join "the family" at this event on Wednesday, it'll cost you up to $5,000.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., decided that just one night wasn't enough, so her NYC Holiday Weekend stretches out over two days. Stand before the gigantic Christmas tree, ice skate in Rockefeller Plaza and look for gifts in the famous FAO Schwartz toy store. To see all these sights will run you $500 to $5,000.

Weekend Getways
In fact, several politicians are mimicking Maloney's multi-day extravaganza by hosting their own, though they aren't holiday-centric. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., are teaming up to offer a "Dust Off Your Boots Weekend" from Dec. 7-8. The weekend trip will cost PACs $3,000, but individuals can attend for just $1,500. Although the event title evokes a tough, rugged image, guests will actually be staying at the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas - not exactly roughing it.

If you really want to leave the bustle of city life behind and get outdoors, perhaps Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, can help you out. Her leadership group, Denali PAC, is hosting the Second Annual First Track Ski Trip in Deer Valley, Utah. Deer Valley is a premier destination for skiing and snowboarding, even hosting events for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Plus it gets over 300 inches of snow a year - plenty of fresh powder. Prices aren't available for this event, but if a single-day lift ticket costs $102 it might be a bit expensive.

But if that all sounds a bit too extreme and you stick to the bunny hills, join Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., for a Boston Weekend! Guests will be safe in the city, staying at the luxurious Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel right in historic Back Bay. And on Saturday, attendees will catch a Celtics game at TD Garden as they take on the rival Philadelphia 76ers. The price of this trip is also unknown - maybe you can help us out! If you have more info, we'd love for you to email us: partytime@sunlightfoundation.com!

This Week in Debt Retirement
Rep.-elect Andy Barr, R-Kent., upset his incumbent opponent, Ben Chandler, and now he's trying to recover from a hard-fought campaign. He's throwing a Debt Retirement Luncheon at Capitol Hill staple Charlie Palmer's, priced from $5,000 to $500. Interestingly enough, Barr reported no debt in his most recent filings (Oct. 17) and made no loans to his campaign. Did he go on a spending spree right before Election Day?

Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., decided to ditch Congress and won the race for mayor of San Diego. Now Filner is trying to break even before he hits the beaches of "America's Finest City" (yes, they actually nicknamed it that). He's throwing a Debt Retirement Reception on Thursday, where attendees will have to pay up $500.

Best of the Rest
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is throwing herself a 60th birthday party at the Cupcake and Champagne Soiree on Dec. 4, priced at up to $5,000. Several lobbyists will be in attendance, including hosts Gerry Lamb of General Dynamics and Kate Hull of Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock, who lobbies for dozens of clients from Apple, Inc. to Zurich Financial. They've partied with Collins before, even at other birthday celebrations. What sort of things will they expect in return for throwing this fundraiser?

Finally, the cream(ed) of the crop, the Second Annual Idaho Potato Fest. It benefits Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, who is, of course, from Idaho (really not helping to dispel that stereotype). PT doesn't have much info on this event, and we really don't know what's going to happen here. Potato cannon shooting gallery? All-you-can-eat potato buffet? Perhaps a visit from the world's largest "potato?" If you pay the $2,500-$250 entrance fee, you'll find out. (Whether or not it'll be worth it is up to you...)

Be sure to check out our new Inauguration 2013 button on the home page and all the Inaugural Balls we've added so far. There's many more to come, so check often!

Until next time, Partiers!

(Video credit: capitolchristmastree2012.com)