The Sunlight Foundation will be onsite at the Republican National Convention in Tampa from August 27 to 30 *. We will follow the money and influence that surrounds this quadrennial political gathering. Please do not hesitate to contact us, we are happy to help out with research, insight and whatever else may come up as your report on the convention. Contact information is above, including cell phone number.
Real Time Coverage
On the Reporting Group blog, Keenan Steiner will provide analysis on the parties, fundraisers and other events happening: the possible political motivations behind event sponsorships, hosts and attendees.
We plan to have a little fun, too. Pick up a Convention Bingo card and tweet, Instagram or post on Facebook what you can find in our photo scavenger hunt. "O-Balloon Drop," anyone?
Political Party Time
Party Time, has information on nearly 200 events planned for the week in Tampa. From golf course charity events, delegate breakfasts, congressional fundraisers and late-night corporate bashes, Party Time gives you a comprehensive picture of what's on the agenda.
Looking for information about a particular members or issue? Need a map of events? Let us know. We are happy to help with the wealth of Party Time invites and the data behind the site.
Members of Congress and other candidates for elected office are permitted to fundraise during the conventions. Here are the other Party Time invites on the lawmakers, political parties and PACs raising cash in Tampa (as of 8/23):
8/26 - reception for Sen. Bob Corker (TN)
6 pm @ St. Petersburg Yacht Club
8/27 - Rep. Mike Conaway (TX) and Conservative Opportunities and New America PAC
fishing charter (tbd)
8/27 - reception for Sen. Jerry Moran (KS) and Free State PAC
6 pm @ Starship II Yacht
8/27 - reception for Sen. Thad Cochran (MS)
6:30 pm @ Starship II Yacht
8/27 - reception for NE Senate candidate Deb Fischer
7 pm @ Starship II Yacht
8/27 - Paint the Senate Red for Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) / Reclaim America Joint Committee
9 pm @ The Cube
8/28 - SUNPAC luncheon with Gov. Jeb Bush
12 pm @ InterContinental Hotel
8/29 - luncheon for Sen. Orin Hatch (UT)
12 pm @ the Tampa Club
8/29 - Republican Party of Florida
2 pm @ home of Robert and Nancy Watkins
8/30 - reception for Rep. Allen West (FL)
4 pm @ Liberty Plaza / Citizens United tent
Super PACs and Dark Money Groups
We are in the age of the super PAC. They, along with other outside groups, spent more $293 million so far this election year. Wealthy Republicans including Sheldon Adelson, Bob Perry and Harold Simmons already donated millions to support these groups. But will these mega-donors be in Tampa? Are prominent GOP super PACs such as Restore Our Future, Club for Growth Action and American Crossroads planning to be active among their base?
These are question Sunlight hopes to answer with our Reporting Group coverage. Already on our agenda:
-- Citizens United, the conservative nonprofit, is putting on five events next week, including an event with former Republican presidential hopefuls Rep. Bachmann, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Speaker Newt Gingrich.
-- Another such group, the American Action Network, has put together an impressive roster of events. Along with its sister nonprofit Hispanic Leadership Network, it is running or sponsoring over a dozen events throughout the week--some of which located at its "American Action Network Pavilion" in Liberty Plaza, located a couple of blocks from the convention site.
House ethics rules bar lobbyists and organizations employing lobbyists from holding events to honor an individual member of Congress. But, they can still put on lavish events that honor a group of members, thanks to the generous way the House Ethics Committee interpreted the 2007 ethics law. The Senate Ethics Committee has stricter rules that prohibit lobbyists from honoring "a group composed solely of members of Congress." If you are looking to speak to an expert on congressional ethics rules and the conventions, please contact Public Citizen.
* What about the Democrats?
Sunlight is a nonpartisan organization, so we will be in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention, as well. Our coverage plans are the same. If you want to get head start, just give us a buzz. Invites for DNC events will also be on Party Time.
The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit http://SunlightFoundation.com to learn more about Sunlight’s projects, including http://PoliticalPartyTime.org and http://influenceexplorer.com.