After months of paging through invitations we had a pretty good idea where the hottest party spots were for members of Congress and lobbyist donors. But thanks to lots of hard work cleaning up and standardizing the data in our Party Time database, now we really know.
According to these invitations, Congressional fundraisers in 2008 were clustered in a semicircle around the Capitol building in a handful of Washington private clubs, restaurants, and townhouses. The top 20 most popular partying spots accounted for more than half of the 2,117 events we analyzed. In addition to party-operated venues, a handful of pricey restaurants and private townhouses are the site of most of the festivities. Top restaurants included Johnny’s Half Shell, with 120 events (chosen by Gourmet Magazine in 2000 as one of “America’s Best Restaurants); Charlie Palmer Steak, with 83 (named by Washingtonian as one of the best 100 restaurants in 2008); and Bistro Bis (also in Washingtonian’s top 100), with 79.
Overall, the Sunlight Foundation’s Party Time analysis documented 2,117 events in 2008. That amounts to an average of more than 176 per month or nearly six a day.
The story includes a nice map of local fundraising sites and you’ll find on the same page a link to a scheduled $5,000 per head fundraiser for Colorado Senator and soon-to-be Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Set for January 2 at the Sonnenalp Resort in Vail.