The three-tiered pyramid convention


(CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect a the correct time for today's YG Network event)

TAMPA — The GOP convention is now in its third day, and you can divide the extravaganza three ways: The structure of this year's convention is a tripartite social pyramid.Photo of YG Pavillion entrance

At the tippy-top: The millionaire donors who are holding private meetings with top Republican officials and advisors to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney advisors. It's a rarefied world into which the Huffington Post’s Peter Stone provided a small glimpse, along with a few other enterprising journalists.

The second level of the pyramid consists of somewhat swanky, but still exclusive events that are sponsored by corporations and congressional fundraisers where the entrance ticket is the guest's checkbook.

On the bottom tier is what the public sees, and what is most discussed in the media: the convention speeches, the free outside events that are open to all, including the press and all of the delegates.  

Of course the real influence gets exercised at the top two levels of the pyramid. There are lots of them happening in Tampa today — from a reception at a golf club with staffers for Tea Party-affiliated FreedomWorks to an invitation-only evening reception hosted by YG Network, a House Majority Leader Eric Cantor-linked nonprofit where the wife of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson may show up, according to one of the group’s employees.

Below is a list of the parties we are watching today. They are events involving nonprofit groups helping to bankroll the 2012 election (such as Republican Jewish Coalition and FreedomWorks), invitation-only events sponsored by lobbying firms, or fundraisers for members of Congress.  You can track these events, and those for the upcoming Democratic convention, at Sunlight's Political PartyTime.


11 a.m. – 2 p.m. On the Dock By the Bay

With Western Members of Congress on a private beach

Crabby Bills Beach Club

*Tickets: $5,000 to $25,000


3:30 – 5 p.m. Patriots for Romney/Ryan 2012

Former Sen. Rick Santorum and his Patriot Voices PAC puts on a “rally” featuring wealthy, socially conservative super PAC donor Foster Friess 

Liberty Plaza

*Ticket required–free


4 p.m. — 5:30 p.m. Salute to Women Elected Officials

YG Network, a political nonprofit linked to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Organizers say Miriam Adelson, who along with her husband has bankrolled many GOP candidates, may show. 

YG Network Woman Up! Pravilion 

*invitation only and $2,500 to become co-host


4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Salute to Pro-Israel Leaders

Republican Jewish Coalition, where Sheldon Adelson is a board member

With House and Senate Leadership

Crowne Plaza  Tampa – Westshore

*Open event with RSVP


4 p.m. – 7 p.m. FreedomWorks Reception

Mingle with the Tea Party nonprofit’s staffers at a country club

Palma Ceia Golf Course and Country Club



4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Honor Sen. Rob Portman

Portman’s leadership PAC putting on event (not a campaign fundraiser) at the premier restaurant for the GOP convention

Jackson’s Bistro



4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Space Jam 2012

Sponsored by aerospace companies and space lobbyists, featuring former astronauts

Florida Aquarium



10 p.m. MAV Bash

George P. Bush’s political action committee (aimed at elected a “new generation” of GOP leaders) hosts swanky event featuring Florida Senate candidate Rep. Connie Mack, other officials

Florida Museum of Photographic Art (a.k.a. “The Cube”)


Know of any other parties or exclusive meetings going on in Tampa or Charlotte? You can upload the invitations or send us a note to

(Photo credit: Keenan Steiner)