Sunlight Foundation's Party Time

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About the Sunlight Foundation's Party Time Dataset


Virtually every day Congress is in session, lawmakers are fundraising, whether at breakfasts or barbecues, happy hours or concerts. Because of Sunlight Foundation’s Party Time, which collects and categorizes invitations to these events, you can find out where the fundraisers are and (in some cases) who is expected to attend, often before they happen. Here you can view the array of invitations that are emailed and faxed by the dozen to lobbyists, Political Action Committee (PAC) representatives and others around Washington, D.C. and the country.

Though these fundraisers vary from small receptions to lavish getaways, none are cheap. Attendees, who are often well-connected lobbyists, are asked to shell out thousands of dollars for a ticket. Sometimes, a lobbyist will play the role of fundraiser himself—by hosting an event and asking his network of friends and colleagues to attend.

These invitations provide a treasure trove of information for citizen journalists, activists and others who are interested in following how money flows to candidates and lawmakers. You can use these as starting points to connect the dots between lobbyists, legislators, issues being lobbied and campaign money received. You can also add to our wealth of data by sending along any invitations you have come across, or commenting on a particular fundraising event.

A note about the invitations: The Sunlight Foundation posts invitations we receive from reputable anonymous sources. These documents are posted as a public service in the interest of creating more transparency about the relationships between lobbyists and lawmakers. Sunlight is not responsible for the content of the invitations themselves (including erroneous information) or for verifying whether the events advertised in the invitations actually occurred.

Access the Data

Contents of Data

Each record fills in the following fields for each event as much data as possible:

Field Name Explanation
ID unique ID (primary key)
Beneficiary candidate name, party, district, office, or committee name
Host full names of hosts
Other Members Of Congress name of lawmakers featured on invitation who are not beneficiaries of event
Start Time start time
End Time end time
Start Date start date
End Date end date
Venue Name Name of the venue where the event is being held
Entertainment Type type of entertainment listed, i.e. beer tasting, pheasant hunt, reception
Venue Address1 Venue street address
Venue Address2 Apt/suite/room number for the event
Venue City venue city
Venue State venue state
Venue Zipcode venue zip code
Venue Website venue website
Contributions Info information on invitation for suggested contributions for event
Latlong latitude/longitude of venue location
Rsvp Info RSVP information
Distribution Paid For By who is paying for distribution of invitation
Make Checks Payable To information on to whom invitee should send invitations
Checks Payable To Address address where payments should be sent
Committee Id committee ID for beneficiary, if listed on invitation