Booze, golf, and lobbyists hallmarks of Vargas bi-coastal fundraisers

Breakfast admission in Washington starts at $1500; Friday afternoon Mission Valley golf affair just $1250

As previously reported, http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2013/jan/30/radar-strong-drinks-stout-lobbyists/">freshman Democratic congressman Juan Vargas has been first off the blocks in the House fundraising race for 2014, scheduling a Capitol Hill breakfast bash next month at Johnny’s Half Shell on North Capitol Street.

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by Matt Potter

“Using organic produce, poultry, meat and sustainable seafood, Johnny’s continues to delight Washington diners with its seafood specialties and strong drinks,” says the restaurant’s website. “With lively jazz and blues playing in the background, three happy hours Monday through Friday and free validated parking nightly, the Half Shell is rocking the Hill.”

The cash could be used by the campaign to pay back a few loans.

When last we checked, the Vargas congressional fund owed $55,000 to the candidate for personal loans he made to the campaign, and $25,000 to the Primacy Group, run by Larry Remer, the San Diego campaign consultant and longtime Vargas political intimate. Contributors have included Gregg Rothschild, managing director of the Glover Park Group, a Washington, D.C.–based lobbying outfit that performed $20,000 of work for Solyndra, LLC, the now-bankrupt solar-panel maker at the center of 2011’s $535 million Energy Department loan-guarantee scandal.

In addition to the D.C. event, which solicits contributions ranging from $1500 to $5000, the Vargas camp is preparing to put on a big money raiser here at home in San Diego.

Set for Friday March 22, the event is billed as the "1st Annual Margaritas, Mariachis, and Mulligans to support Congressman Juan Vargas," according to an emailed invitation making the rounds.

Tee-off at the River Walk golf course in Mission Valley is set for 1 p.m, with the "margarita reception in the clubhouse" getting under way at 5 p.m.

Perhaps reflecting the different pay scale for lobbyists in San Diego versus Washington, the per-person tab for the event is $1250 for golf and reception, and $250 for reception only, according to the invite.


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