Don't have at least $2,500 to attend NBA great Magic Johnson's upcoming fundraiser with President Barack Obama for Congressional Democrats? You could win your way in. There are, however, a few catches:
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is putting on the contest, which has a few rules: You have to be a citizen or permanent resident to participate. Federal banks, corporations, unions, foreign agents and lobbyists are barred.
You can sign up online. Or — and surely the DCCC would prefer this — individuals can contribute up to $64,800 to the House Senate Victory Fund, a committee that has raised nearly $1 million this year, and handed most of it over to the DCCC.
But now the fine print: The DCCC will draw the names of 20 potential winners and, following a background check, disqualify any who might disrupt or endanger the event. Then, at its sole discretion, the DCCC will choose the winner.
The winner selects a plus-one for the evening, and the DCCC will put that person through a background check before extending the invitation. The winner also has to consent to being used in DCCC publicity.
Between the two tickets plus air or ground transportation and hotel, the prize package is worth up to $2,200.
These kinds of drawings to hobnob with celebrities have become increasingly popular over the past four years or so.
A dinner with the president last year at George Clooney's Studio City home raised $10 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which reported about half the money came from an Internet drawing for chances to attend.
Similar free or paid lotteries have been held to give donors up-close access to the the president and the First Lady on election night in Chicago. Or a trip to the Democratic nominating convention. Or a sit down with the president for dinner.