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Heard on the Hill: Music Brings in the Money

So guess who big-hearts Jay-Z, Beyonce and Kanye West? If you answered Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), you would be very correct.

The Sunlight Foundation’s “Party Time” blog reported Tuesday that Carson and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) are holding fundraising events at the Nov. 3 Jay-Z and Kanye West concert at the Verizon Center.

This is not Carson’s first rodeo. He also used Jay-Z’s 2010 gig and Beyonce’s 2009 show to throw fundraising events. (Fun fact: Not only is Carson a hip-hop head, he is also an emcee.)

Towns has also been known to throw a musical fundraiser or two, including at a Bruce Springsteen concert and Lady Gaga show. (HOH shall now refer to Towns as a Little Monster.)

Tickets for the Jay-Z/Kanye show start at about 71 bones, but there is a substantial markup if you want to hang out with a lawmaker and his friends.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, Carson is asking for $1,500 for individuals and $2,500 for a couple, while Towns is offering political action committees a VIP reception and one ticket for $1,500 or the reception and two tickets for $2,500.

So is the musical fundraiser kind of a thing now?

“Um, it’s not uncommon,” says Bill Allison, editorial director for the Sunlight Foundation. “We have seen a fair number of these things.”

Sometimes campaigns will buy a block of tickets, Allison says. Sometimes the artist, lobbyists or donors will give tickets as in-kind donations.

“I really think this depends on a case-by-case basis,” Allison says.

So are entertainers upset about being used (gasp!) by politicians to make money?

According to Allison, the Taylor Swift people were upset when Sunlight reported that some lawmakers held fundraisers at her concert because she didn’t want to be seen as endorsing anyone.

For the most part, Allison says, “as long as these [politicians] are paying the fare,” performers probably could care less.

“It’s not as if George Bush had a fundraiser at a Dixie Chicks concert,” he adds.

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