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The 7 Weirdest Political Money Raising Events of 2013

Hunting alligators with GOP Louisiana Senator David Vitter?

From hilarious to distasteful to some real head scratchers, politicians this year did their best to come up with attention grabbing fundraisers to keep the money rolling in. While Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) says members of Congress have to do a “ soul crushing” amount of fundraising, these events at least livened up the money chase for those of us watching from the sidelines. Here are a few of the weirdest fundraisers we came across this year.

1. Old white guys at pop concerts

It’s not often that you’ll find three men over the age of 50 at a pop concert, but Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)  each held a fundraiser at Beyoncé’s July visit to the Verizon Center in Washington, charging up to $5,000 to attend.

Maybe they told their friends it was a good idea, because when Lady Bey was back in town in December, Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) were in the crowd raising money (leading to the use of this memorable gif).

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) must prefer his pop stars with a twinge of country, because he held his concert fundraiser at a  May 12 Taylor Shift show. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) helped his donors learn " The Truth About Love" at Pink's concert in March and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and his three kids hosted donors in a Verizon Center suite for " a family night at the Justin Bieber concert." Surprisingly, Sen. Bob Corker’s Rock City PAC didn’t appear to hold any events at major concerts.

2. Hunting alligators with Sen. David Vitter

Thanks to anemic coordination rules, if you had $5,000 to drop you could have spent the weekend with Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) at a “ Lousiana Bayou Weekend” fundraiser for The Fund for Louisiana’s Future, the super PAC gearing up to support Vitter in his 2016 re-election race.

Not every politician who tried to raise money hunting alligators ended up pulling it off. Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) cancelled his $25,000 per person “private gator hunt” after  questions were raised about how he would provide the necessary hunting licenses to all his donors, since alligator hunting licenses are limited to only 5,000 in the state and are supposed to be assigned by random lottery.

3. Fundraising off of international conflict

You’d think that whether or not the United States joins a military conflict isn’t the type of decision you’d try to raise campaign contributions from. Apparently, you’d be wrong.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Michigan candidate for U.S. Senate  Terri Lynn Land, and  Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) all sent out emails in September stating their opposition to military intervention in Syria and asking their supporters to donate to their campaigns.

The blowback came quickly, but they didn’t take the criticism standing down. McConnell’s campaign said that his opponent’s complaint about the email was an attempt “to distract voters from her support of President Obama's Syria plan,” Land’s staff said the donate button on her email was standard to all their correspondence, and Grimm’s campaign blamed the move on a fundraising consultant.

Maybe it was a successful tactic, though. In December, Mitch McConnell was back at it with another email, this one promising to  win the War on Christmas: “This War on Christmas is real, and it's unconstitutional. Please take a stand right now and chip-in with $50, $25, or $10 to help us protect Christmas.”

4. All aboard the “Finished Business”

It’s pretty ironic to use a ship called the Finished Business to raise money for members of a Congress “ on track to go down as one of the most unproductive in modern history,” but that didn’t stop the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Boat PAC

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