It's time again for South Bay congressman Juan Vargas to throw his annual winter Torrey Pines Golf Weekend, offering a host of well-heeled capitol lobbyists a chance to break away from the Washington grind for sun-dappled Pacific links and some quality party time with the House Democrat and his colleague, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
This year there's a new twist to attract the sedentary crowd: a "spa option in lieu of golf."
Admission to the event, set for February 19 through 21, costs $2500 for "hosts" and $1500 for mere guests, which "includes dinner on Friday the 19th and breakfast Saturday the 20th."
The invitation notes that "golf or spa are included, but rooms at the Lodge at Torrey Pines will not be included. However, we are arranging all golf and room reservations, so please confirm your participation."
Vargas's alcohol-infused duffer bash for the influence-peddling set, which has become a cherished tradition for the safe-seat Democrat, got its start in March 2013.
No mention of family on this year's invitation to Vargas's duffer bash
That was when the newly elected Vargas threw what he called the "First annual Margaritas, Mariachis, and Mulligans" at the Riverwalk course in Mission Valley.
Back then, the price of admission was cheaper, with $1250 buying "golf and reception" and just $250 to get into the "reception only."
In 2014, the venue was shifted to upscale Torrey Pines. Hoyer joined the party and the fundraiser's name was changed to Torrey Pines Golf and Family weekend. Whether or not spousal participation cooled the event's fundraising ardor, mention of family is not present on this year’s invitation.
In addition to his traditional haunt at Torrey Pines, congressional campaign filings show that the Vargas campaign fund spent $2970 for "food and beverage" at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club last July 30.
Two meetings at the Guajillo Mexican Grill in Arlington, Virginia, in June set the campaign back $575, and 2015's total expenses at the Bistro Bis and Hotel George in Washington were $5641, according to expenditure disclosures.
Then there was a $1491 tab for "food and beverage" at a December 2015 "holiday event" at Border X Brewing, a trendy brew pub and eatery in Barrio Logan, and $430 for an October staff meeting at Bullfeathers, which describes itself as "among Washington’s best pubs and restaurants, featuring generous, freshly made portions of pub and grill food and an exceptional selection of wine & 31 draft beers."
A December "holiday event for staff" at Washington's Sette Osteria Italian bistro ran $922, and events at Johnny's Halfshell, a premium seafood restaurant that serves as a regular DC fundraising venue for Vargas, cost $3173.
In addition, food and beverage for a December "dinner event" at Manhattan's Lexington Brass, “a new age American Brasserie focused on bringing high quality dishes to diners in search of an authentic New York experience," cost the Vargas campaign kitty $1795.