GOP Hopes to Raise $23M at Bush Gala

Congressional Republicans expect to add at least $23 million to their party campaign funds Tuesday night at an annual fundraiser featuring President Bush (search).

The National Republican Congressional Committee raised at least $14 million for House Republicans through the gala, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee took in $9 million.

At least 5,000 people were expected to attend the $2,500-per-ticket dinner at the Washington Convention Center. Some donors were giving more than the ticket price. The swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was scheduled to perform, and the suggested attire was suits for the men and cocktail dresses for the women.

Some Senate GOP donors and fundraisers received invitations to special events with prominent Republicans on Monday night and Tuesday before the gala.

Events Tuesday include a reception and luncheon with Vice President Dick Cheney (search); a lunch with Arizona Sen. John McCain (search), chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee; and a breakfast with Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott (search), chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

On Monday night, there was a reception and dinner with GOP Sens. Elizabeth Dole (search) of North Carolina, the NRSC's chairwoman; James Inhofe (search) of Oklahoma, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; Charles Grassley (search) of Iowa, the Senate Finance Committee chairman; Conrad Burns (search) of Montana; George Voinovich (search) of Ohio; and Tom Coburn (search) of Oklahoma. Former Kansas senator and presidential nominee Bob Dole (search), Elizabeth Dole's husband, was the guest speaker.

Wachovia CEO Ken Thompson and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander (search) headed the gala fundraising effort for the NRSC.

The House GOP's dinner donors include adult film executive Mark Kulkis, who planned to take porn actress and former California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey. Carey planned to hold a fashion show and news conference to display her dinner outfit before the gala.