President Obama embarks for the west coast Sunday for three days of public speeches and smaller fundraising venues for his party across two states. Landing first in Seattle, the president is scheduled to attend fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at two private residences.
Wealthy donors can reportedly pay up to at least $32,400 per couple, or $20,000 for individuals for seats at the first DNC event, which is closed to the press. Local media report it will be held at the home of philanthropist Sonya Campion and her husband Tom Campion, founder of a clothing chain. The Campions and their environmental non-profit Campion Foundation have donated at least $750,000 to Democratic war chests over the last five years, according to the money trackers at OpenSecrets.org.
Former Microsoft COO Jon Shirley will host the second event for up to $32,400 per couple, according to an invitation obtained by the Seattle Times. Shirley, now an arts benefactor and member of the Seattle Art Museum’s board of trustees, was a fundraising “bundler” for Obama during the 2012 election that raised north of $650,000. Bundlers are top campaign backers who wrangle contributions from other individuals into larger sums after hitting their own legally-imposed limits.
Pen and pad reporting is being allowed at Shirley’s home, but no press cameras. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and DCCC chair Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., are also expected to attend.
The president is slated for similar stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles before returning to the nation’s capitol on Tuesday. The California leg will reportedly include fundraisers at the home of basketball legend Magic Johnson and media mogul Haim Saban. It follows a wave of other fundraisers the president has recently attended across the country as both parties gear up for the 2014 midterm elections.
The trip will not be solely fundraising based, however. In Los Angeles Obama is scheduled to make public remarks on the economy at the studios of Dreamworks Animation, although its CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg does hold the title of Obama’s biggest bundler of 2012, raking in $1.8 million for that cycle.
In San Francisco the president will visit the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center to speak on immigration. Hopes of comprehensive reform seem to have died for the time being in Congress, but this week House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio., said his party was open to tackling the subject again on a piecemeal basis after the new year.