In most instances, when someone purchases a block of tickets to the red-hot show “Hamilton” for $100,000, then re-sells them for three times that amount, they’re called a “scalper” or worse by the show’s creative leadership.
That’s probably not the case for the two California democrats who have used the show to put big bucks in their campaign coffers – U.S. House of Representatives members Tony Cárdenas and Maxine Waters.
A story by the LA Times reports both have made huge profits on the show, which is beginning to spread throughout the country following its smash success on Broadway. Waters’ campaign spent just under $11,000 to tickets for the show in August, which was turned into $110,000 at a fundraiser.
“Everybody does it, whether it’s a concert or a baseball game,” she told a reporter who inquired about the practice.
Cárdenas made a much bigger investment, reportedly spending $105,500 in April buying tickets to the show, which were flipped into over $300,000. For both his campaign and the Victory by Investing, Building and Empowering PAC, it was the largest costly expense of the year.
“Basically they saw this as an opportunity to have a nice fundraising opportunity to go to a show that celebrates American democracy,” campaign spokesman Josh Pulliam told the Times.
Lin Manuel Miranda, who’s father is friends with Cárdenas, according to the LA Times, has been vocally anti-resale since his show exploded onto the scene. It would appear that these fundraising activities draw no complaint from the creative force behind Hamilton. Miranda has himself dabbled in the political fundraising sphere, staging an exclusive performance of Hamilton to benefit Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, with prices starting at $2,700.
It is unclear whether or not the California dems acquired their eventually resold tickets through regular sales channels, or if they were purchased from producer or venue holdbacks, or even gifts from Miranda or any of the other producers involved in the musical. Calls to Cárdenas’ local campaign office in California were referred to his central office in Washington, D.C., which did not respond to multiple messages requesting clarification on the ticket purchases.
Waters’ campaign stressed the commonality of using such events as fundraisers.
“These fundraising activities are similar and sometimes less expensive than the amount of money a candidate would spend to host a fundraising dinner within a private room at a restaurant or hotel — once you factor in associated catering costs,” she said. “The price for the ‘Hamilton’ tickets was similar to what one would have to pay at these venues. There was nothing improper or unusual about the expenditure.”