NEW YORK – Hillary Clinton’s campaign will enter a new fund-raising phase next month with the first big-dollar event that actively solicits funds that could be used to boost the Democratic front-runner in the general election.

The Dec. 17 party for about 100 people in New York will feature both Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton, with entertainment provided by rocker Sting, according to an invitation obtained by The Washington Post. Tickets range from $33,400 for one person to $100,000 for a couple at the “event chair” level.

The solicitation from Clinton campaign finance chairman Dennis Cheng describes it as the “first– and only – Hillary Victory Fund event of the year.”

AD

It's a departure from Clinton's focus on scooping up donations to finance her primary run, and emphasizes her relationship with the national and state Democratic parties she would work alongside if she becomes the nominee.

AD

The Hillary Victory Fund was formed to work in concert with the Democratic National Committee with an eye to 2016, when Clinton is heavily favored to win the Democratic primary and begin a general election run. The jumbo-sized joint fundraising committee was set up in September with the DNC and various state parties.

The committee has since ballooned to include 32 state parties from Alaska to Wyoming, which means it can accept donations of up to $356,100 per year from an individual donor – or $1.4 million per couple in the election cycle.

AD

“Strengthening the Democratic Party is a top priority for Hillary Clinton, so she’s doing her best to ensure the DNC and state parties across the country have the resources they need to help the Democratic nominee win next November,” said a spokesman, Josh Schwerin.

AD

The event was first reported by the New York Times.

Major Clinton donors have been complaining that after nearly eight months of fund-raising, it is getting harder and harder to find willing donors who have not already given the maximum $2,700 per person allowed during the primary campaign.

The campaign had once planned to hold off on such events until next year, largely out of concern that it would look presumptuous to raise huge sums for the general election well before the first presidential selection contests in February, people familiar with the campaign strategy said.

AD

But with Clinton rebounding in the polls and wealthy donors eager to give more now, campaign bundlers said Clinton finance staff are now making a hard push to get donors to the New York event, underscoring how the campaign and party leaders are seeking to lock up big donations this year.

AD

The strategy could help the Democrats play catch-up with the GOP when it comes to party fundraising, taking advantage of the new freedom wealthy donors now have to give to as many candidates and party committees as they would like. But the fundraising drive could also compete with efforts by the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action, which is working to scoop up big checks from the same pool of donors.

Already, there are signs that contributors are eager to write large checks to the party: the Hillary Victory Fund raised $3.1 million through the end of September and has already transferred $600,000 to the DNC, without holding any official fundraising events.

AD

Clinton is the first 2016 candidate on either side of the aisle to create such a massive joint fundraising vehicle. Although past White House contenders — including President Obama — set up joint fundraising accounts, they faced a cap on how many committees could be involved. There’s no such limit now thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2014 McCutcheon decision, which did away with an annual contribution limit to candidates and parties.

AD

Clinton’s campaign set a goal of $100 million in primary-season donations by the end of 2015, and people familiar with the effort said it is on track at about $80 million now. Clinton typically attends two or more fund-raising events each week toward that effort. She attended three such events in New York on Thursday and will have others in Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., on Friday.

Hillary and Bill Clinton have separate events in South Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, and Washington, D.C., through the end of November. Bill Clinton will raise money each week through the end of the year, in California, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and elsewhere.

AD
AD