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Nonstop Fundraising Stretch Starts

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel is frontlining multiple dinners, including one scheduled for tonight.

Notzon said her firm has scheduled events for off-times, such as mid-morning breakfasts and mid-afternoon receptions, to compete with the flurry of other events.

"We're all trying to be a little creative and do things differently," she said.

Another obstacle is that some big K Street donors have already hit the legal limit for what they can give to federal candidates and party coffers. Take Ken Kies, for example.

He said he's received more than 30 emails a day recently inviting him to fundraisers. But don't expect to find him at any of the hundreds of events around town this week or next.

"My wife and I are maxed out," said the GOP lobbyist with the Federal Policy Group. "I won't be going to any of them. I don't want to go jail."

O'Brien, in previous election cycles, also has maxed out by this time of year. But he said he held back a few thousand dollars that he can donate to PACs this round.

"I always found some last-minute desperation, so I thought it made some sense to keep a little bit of resources for this point in the cycle," he said. "And I will be utilizing those funds over this next two-week period."

Those vying for lobbyists' last bit of money include DCCC Chairman Rep. Steve Israel (N.Y.), who is frontlining multiple dinners, including one scheduled tonight at the Eastern Market eatery Acqua Al 2, and a Wednesday breakfast slated for Charlie Palmer restaurant. Both events will set back a PAC $5,000.

On the GOP side, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) is hosting a scotch tasting this evening at the Capitol Hill Club, where the price of admission for a PAC is $1,000, according to the NRCC list. A 3 p.m. Wednesday event for Rep. Jeff Landry (La.) billed as coffee, dessert and conversation runs $1,000 for a PAC.

And the lists go on and on.

Fraioli, who skipped the Democratic convention, said he spent much of the August break tracking down lobbyists and PAC directors by phone and email in preparation for the next two weeks. It paid off, he said.

"Did I miss it? You betcha," he said. "Am I glad I stayed here? You betcha."

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