Political Party Time

Step aside Obama, congressional fundraising season is here!

Inauguration 2013 was packed with parties, concerts and formal balls celebrating Barack Obama's second presidential term, but now it's back to business as usual for America. "Beyonce-gate," the most important story to come out of inauguration (hey, it had more legs than the speech), seems to have been resolved, and even the Senate finally did something about filibuster reform.

If you couldn't make it to Washington for the president's address, take a look at this hyper-quality panoramic view of the Capitol and you're practically there (can you spot Boston Celtics legend (ahem!) Morgan Freeman?). Maybe you were in D.C., but couldn't infiltrate a fancy-pants inaugural ball -- check out WaPo's nightlife superlatives, including their best overheard award: “'Believe it or not, the gay party ran out of champagne.' — Overheard at the HRC Ball." And if that's still not good enough, catch this all-access pass to how Obama spent the weekend with a special edition of West Wing Week, including a special appearance by the First Dog, Bo!

But enough nostalgia for the weeks extravagant events. Now it's Congress' turn! The 2014 fundraising season is underway. PartyTime has the highlights below.

McConnell Back in Action
Although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has spent 30 years in the Senate and has almost $7 million in his campaign coffers, he's taking nothing for granted in next year's reelection bid. PT already has him on the books for seven fundraisers since Election Day -- four since Jan. 1.  On Sunday, billionaire John Catsimatidis will be hosting a reception at his posh 5th Avenue apartment for McConnell, costing up to $5,000. It is co-hosted by NY GOP chairman (and son-in-law of the late President Richard NixonEd Cox. Cox's son (who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010) happens to be married to Catsimatidis' daughter (they're so close they even sent out a wholesome family Christmas card this year...). While McConnell will receive the donations, Catsimatidis is hoping to build up his political reputation for an upcoming bid for NYC mayor, even though McConnell voted against the Hurricane Sandy aid package -- which New Yorkers just might care about.

The very next night, the turtle-esque senator will be traveling back to Washington for a Senate Committee dinner. McConnell may be in fundraising overdrive because he's worried about getting "primaried" by the Tea Party; right-wing groups, like For America, are already questioning whether or not McConnell is a true conservative. The details of the event are hazy, including who will be there and where exactly it will be taking place, so send PT that invite if you got it! What we do know is that it'll cost guests anywhere from $2,500 to $500 to attend.

The Return of Rubio
It's been almost 6 months since PT recorded a fundraiser for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., but the rising GOP star is back. His newly formed joint fundraising committee, Rubio Victory Committee, will be the beneficiary of a fundraiser at a "Capitol Hill townhouse" on Jan. 30. PT would love to get it's hands on the invite, so shoot us an email if you've stumbled upon it. Price levels go from $5,000 Host to $2,500 Sponsor to $500 personal, while PACs cost $1,000. It's just another sign that Rubio could be preparing for a 2016 White House run.

Pryor PACs His Lunch
Even though Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is planning his official 2014 kickoff in March (including a fundraiser with fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton), he's getting an early start with a luncheon at congressional favorite Johnny's Half-Shell. He'll have lots of help though, as the following groups are listed as hosts: Experian PAC, Direct Voice PAC, VenPAC, Interactive Advertising Bureau and Magazine Publishers of America PAC, as well as lobbyists Greg Gill and Stu Ingis. Several of these organizations lobby on the communications and electronics industry, and it just so happens that Pryor sits on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee which oversees that area. Coincidence? To get into the lunch, guests will have to fork over $5,000 to host, $2,500 to sponsor and $1,000 to attend.

Though the inauguration is over, PT keeps the party going all year long -- check back often for the latest political fundraisers. Until next time, Partiers!

(Photo: Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons)