Political Party Time

Shutdown shutting down some parties

Update 2:18 p.m. Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., has joined the ranks of shutdown party poopers. Her $500-and-up Autumn Reception has been postponed.

It's truly a sad day in the nation's capital, party people. The right to 'get down' -- and raise campaign dough -- is one of the most inalienable tenets of life inside the Beltway. Sadly, it appears that nothing is immune to the harsh specter of government shutdown: the mass canceling of pre-planned fundraisers for this week illustrates just how dire the situation really is.

On Monday, Party Time reported that there were at least seven congressional fundraisers scheduled to take place this week. Some savvy pols were even using the healthcare debacle as fundraising fuel for grassroots money grabs: rabble rousers Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, both make appearances in online funding asks for the Senate Conservatives Fund, the staunchly anti-Obamacare super PAC associated with former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

It makes PT all aw-shucks and red-faced to share this, but our reporting was cited by, among others: USA TODAY and National Journal and Huffington Post and San Francisco Chronicle and The Columbus Dispatch and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

We're sure it's just a coincidence, but as of this morning, reports began trickling in of the parties being (sob!) scrubbed. Politico's Anna Palmer reports that GOP fundraising organizers were advising members' to cancel their events in light of the "bad optics" arising from our nation's representatives raising thousands at a high-price events while around 800,000 'inessential' federal workers have been placed on furlough.

According to Politico, at least one Democratic fundraiser fretted over the unrecoverable costs incurred from funders cancelled at the eleventh hour. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, will be donating the food from his "Taste of Cincinnati" event to a Washington shelter for homeless and battered women. Chabot -- ever the optimist -- waited until this morning to postpone the event, telling the Plain Dealer that he was "hoping for a miracle." Ten other members of Ohio's Republican delegation were schedule to co-host the event.

Thus far, at least three of the events in Party Time's database have been affected. Aside from Chabot, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. postponed a bash for his Healthcare Freedom Fund leadership PAC and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., was forced to reschedule his "Small, Convivial Dinner" which offered "stimulating conversation" and a selection of California's finest wines for those who made the $1,500 minimum contribution.

So, what is the rationale for those still holding their fundraisers, when most other government activity has ground to a halt? In an interview with the Huffington Post Rep. Gene Green, D- Texas, defended his decision to carry out his $1,000-and-up lunch at a Capitol Hill eatery by stating, "[w]e had a year to be able to see what we can to solve this problem, and I assume there are lots of members who are having fundraisers."

Perhaps some things will never change. As always, let us know if you hear of other fundraising happenings here.

Photo credit: Graffizone via iStockphoto.com