Live Nation Entertainment, which is reportedly due to face an antitrust lawsuit from the Department of Justice at some point in the imminent future, was buying the drinks during the party circuit in Washington, D.C., according to reports. The entertainment giant partnered with media outlet Axios on two parties during the week of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, and wasn’t shy about making sure the guests knew who was paying for the night out.

A photo of the cocktail napkins at one of the events, obtained by the Prospect, shows that the lobbying even extended to the party’s accessories: “Fans paid an average of $38 for an entry-level US concert ticket in 2023,” the napkin reads. The napkin does not say whether these were Live Nation concerts exclusively.

According to The Prospect, the California-based corporation, which serves as both the largest promotor of live events in the world and owns the lagest ticketing company in the world, co-hosted events on both Thursday and Friday, with Michael Rapino serving as co-host on Friday. At that event, Live Nation artist Jelly Roll performed for those in attendance.

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Beyond the reported DOJ investigation, Live Nation is also pushing hard for its preferred brand of ticket industry “reform” – in which competition from resale is eliminated entirely through the enabling of restrictions on third party ticket resale companies. This has been brought to the forefront by the so-called “Fans First” legislation being pushed at the federal level, as well as at the state level in multiple areas.

FURTHER READING | Hundreds of Artists Throw Support Behind Live Nation’s Favored Federal Legislation

FURTHER READING | Live Nation, Industry Forces Seek to Kill California Ticket Reforms

The budget of Live Nation Entertainment’s lobbying engine is far beyond any other competitor in the ticketing and events space. According to The Prospect, the company spent $4.7 million between 2021 and 23, and saw its lobbying roster grow to 37 last year, up from just four in 2016. Two of those lobbying contractors on Live Nation’s bill are former staff members for Sen. Amy Kobuchar (D-MN), who is a vocal critic of Live Nation, but remains on as a co-author for “Fans First.”

Live Nation is also a force in campaign contributions, with $168,750 donated thus far in the 2024 cycle by individuals associated with the company, and nearly $73,000 in direct corporate PAC contributions since 2021. And it is an active member of “reform” coalitions that focus on everything wrong with ticketing except Live Nation’s own monopoly power.

Read more regarding Live Nation’s current lobbying efforts from David Drayden at The Prospect