Presenting: Other fantastic ideas for government-agency-inspired campaign fundraisers

July 16, 2014

Give Arizona congressional candidate Andrew Walter credit for cleverness. In order to raise money for his campaign, Walter will hold an "Evening of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms" this Friday. Participants get to shoot guns (for a price) at the Scottsdale Gun Club, and then enjoy drinks and cigars at a nearby restaurant. The order on that is important. (We will note that the actual name of the ATF is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, but Walter wisely left that last element out of his pitch.)

A guy at a party. (AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages)

As a public service, we offer up the following government-agency-themed fundraising ideas. If you are an elected official and you choose to adopt one of these, please let us know so we can chuckle to ourselves.

"An Afternoon of Education." Attendees are asked to sit quietly and read pages 35 to 52 of the campaign's policy white paper. After an hour, there is a brief quiz, at which point attendees can go outside and play for 30 minutes. Please sign up to use the see-saw.

"Exploring Amtrak with Sen. Smith." Participants line up unnecessarily outside the venue while a dog sniffs their pants. Once inside, the event ends up being three times longer than anticipated and no one's phone works. Lots of Budweiser, though.

"Drinks with the Bureau of Labor Statistics." Attendees go about their business within a glass enclosure. At various points, a few of them are asked to fill out extensive questionnaires. Shortly before the event ends, the number of unemployed people in the group is announced, with the caveat that the figures will be adjusted dramatically at a future point. Everyone leaves exhausted.

"A Supreme Courtship." Just over half of the attendees decide that they won't let anyone do anything fun because the first campaign fundraiser didn't specifically stipulate that fun was OK.

"Cocktails at Copyright." A pleasant mixer serving only pre-1900 wines and spirits. However, once someone says something, no one else can say it unless they prove that someone else at the event said it before the original person. If you mention any Disney movies, you will be asked to leave.

"De-Party of Homeland Security." Depending on the political affiliation of the candidate hosting the event, either everyone gets in without making a donation or attendees face extensive questioning before entering and spend the entire time in fear that they'll suddenly be asked to go home.

"An Afternoon with the DEA." Everyone stands around a giant bonfire made of actual money while campaign staffers walk around with dogs and search random bags with increasing exasperation. Event is closed down early once the campaign learns that everyone has been smoking weed in the bathroom.

"The Environmental Protection Garden Party." If you came in a car, you're asked to turn a windmill 45,000 times before entering. Once inside, attendees stand around awkwardly under the irritated gaze of campaign staffers while their drinks and food are checked to ensure that they don't exceed stipulated levels of carcinogens. No exhaling allowed.

"No Strings Attached at the NSA." A lovely party that is completely closed off with a very large, very thick wall. (One side door is accidentally left open.) You keep thinking you spot things out of the corner of your eye but, nah, nothing there. Inevitably comes to an awkward end when one of the guests points out that the video-camera-shaped water pitchers don't have any water in them and are humming. The candidate angrily walks up to the microphone and declares that every future campaign fundraiser has been ruined by having that pointed out.

"A Date at the Department of State." If anyone looks unhappy, John Kerry personally tries to cheer you up for as long as it takes. Balloon animals, funny faces, key-jingling. The whole arsenal. Meanwhile, the entire event collapses around you.

"A Night at the Bureau of Prisons." A standard campaign fundraiser.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He is based in New York City.
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