The Huffington Post's party crashing team has been absolutely starved for fundraisers this August. Lawmakers have deserted the capital for their districts, and lobbyist money has followed them out of town.
So we were delighted to find the chiefs of staff of several Republican senators hosting a "Dog Days of Summer Cookout" Wednesday at Republican National Senatorial Committee headquarters. According to the invitation, obtained by the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, price of admission was a mere $100.
The HuffPost showed up with a hundred bucks, ready to gobble up as many hot dogs as possible. But before you could say "Massive Breach Of Journalistic Ethics," an NRSC staffer said HuffPost money was no good there. No hot dogs for HuffPost.
Not completely discouraged, this reporter and colleague Laura Dean greeted arriving guests outside. We met lobbyists representing GlaxoSmithKline, JC Watts Cos, and Intellectual Ventures LLC, as well as chiefs of staff for Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Thad Cochran, (Miss.), and David Vitter (La.).
Almost everybody who showed up was in a great mood, a common side effect of hot dog anticipation. One guy was even wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sandals. Most arrivals who gave a few minutes to reporters said they were there to have a good time and didn't expect the fundraiser to involve a lot of serious talk. No senators, after all.
As one guy put it: "When the cat's away the mice will play."