Taylor Swift: Congress’ Lucrative, Unwilling Fundraiser
Congresspeople have been using Swift’s concerts as a moneymaker for years.
Taylor Swift doesn’t do politics. But that has never stopped American politicians—from either major political party—from trying to benefit off of her celebrity.
Last week, The Washington Post reported on the members of Congress holding fundraisers at Taylor Swift’s upcoming July gig at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Representatives Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) are each hawking seats for $2,500 a pop. Representative Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) charges $1,500, but $2,500 if you want to bring a date. The double date amount is roughly 45 times the cost of a cheap seat at one of Tay-Tay’s “1989” World Tour shows in D.C.
Swift’s publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Politicians, Democratic and Republican alike, love themselves some Taylor Swift. Earlier this year, House Speaker John Boehner’s office sent out 12 Swift GIFs (including one of her getting hit in the head with a basketball) to trash President Obama’s community-college proposal. Obama has defended her. Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a fan. And shortly before his resignation, Aaron Schock invoked her in his defense.
And this summer isn’t even the first summer in which lawmakers have used Taylor Swift concerts in Washington, D.C., to raise big money. In 2011, several Republicans and one Democrat—such as Senator John Thune (R-SD), now-former Representative Michael Grimm (R-NY), and (also former) Representative Paul Broun (R-Ga.)—threw fundraisers at the Verizon Center when the 25-year-old pop star was in town for her “Speak Now” tour. And in 2010, three other members of Congress did the same thing to raise thousands of dollars. (For the record, these political fundraisers did not violate the city’s anti-scalping law, simply because the transaction was online and not on a street.)
Whether it’s a fundraiser for a liberal or conservative politician, it’s unlikely any of these would see a sign of support from Tay-Tay. When the Sunlight Foundation published a post on the fundraising in 2011, Swift’s publicist went out of her way to emphasize that the artist had no involvement whatsoever.
“I don’t talk about politics because it might influence other people,” she told Time magazine in October 2012. “And I don’t think that I know enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for.”
It’s not uncommon for lawmakers to use hot concert tickets, particularly those in the venues luxury suites, as a fundraising tool. The long, recent list includes Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z and Kanye West, Britney Spears, and Beyoncé.