The Dirty Politics Behind Tammy Haddad’s White House Correspondents’ Brunch

Some people are feeling the sting of Tammy Haddad‘s mobster-like tactics this year as emails go unreturned and guests who’ve been attending her White House Correspondents’ Garden Brunch for years are getting the cold shoulder. As the invitation says, the party supports CURE Epilepsy and the Miss America Foundation — no doubt, incredibly worthy causes, especially the first one.

“I’ve been to every one of her parties and I’ve written a check for every one of her fucking charities,” groused one ignored journalist who wasn’t invited this year after being a steadfast guest at the annual party for many years. No explanation offered.

The party, like many in Washington, is a cozy mix of politicians, aides, operatives socialites and journalists. Speaking of charity, last year President Obama‘s then-aide David Axelrod, now an MSNBC Contributor, and his wife, Susan, came to the party. (The Axelrod’s have a daughter who has epilepsy.) Actress Lindsay Lohan, who gets arrested every once in awhile, was there, as was supermodel Elle Macpherson.

“I dropped out of the whole thing when Obama got elected and I began to despise the whole Politico-MSNBC nexus,” said a guest who has attended Tammy’s soirée over the years. “Too ass kissy for me. And the sucking up to Axelrod’s wife? Made me want to puke. I honestly can’t even stand being around it, especially when I think of all the people I genuinely like who I never get to see because I have no time. And I’m hanging out with tools instead? No way.”

After being off the list for many years, this year Carol Joynt, Editor-at-Large for Washingtonian, received a coveted invite. One of party’s 10 hosts, Mark Ein, invited her. But on Thursday she got bumped because she had not RSVP’d properly and was told that “no exceptions” could be made due to “security reasons.”

Joynt’s reaction: “I’m laughing. What etiquette book do they use? The Salahis?”

She said her interests in attending were never wholly about the party. “I never planned to write about the brunch in the first place,” she said. “I didn’t consider it a story. My interest in attending was to see what the event designers did with Katharine Graham’s house, because Mark had told me about it before. I’ve only been once before, when it was at the Haddad home, and I found it too crowded and only OK. It is an example of the celebrity wrangling and idolatry that is at the root of the disquiet among the ranks of the WHCA. This year they bit back at the people who want to make their dinner all about Hollywood.”

As another journalist told me, “Hmmm might not be the best source on this one because I haven’t been invited in a few years. But, is anything this weekend really ‘important’ to attend? I guess you’d miss having an awkward conversation in the bathroom line with some kid from Glee, but it’s not like careers rise and fall based on party attendance.”

We spoke to a wide variety of journalists who were not invited to Tammy’s party this year as well as some who were and will attend. FishbowlDC is among the uninvited. In fact, we were pointedly told we could not cover this afternoon’s Garden Brunch despite providing coverage to readers for approximately the last seven years. Unfortunately, I can’t share all the gritty details due to an off-the-record agreement. But later in the story I can tell you what happened last year when I received an invitation and went. As you can see by our stories, the party has received largely glowing coverage. Last year, when I covered it, was no exception.