demands seats at dining table ... or $10 million

Seats at the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) Dinner have always been hard to come by. But this year the lack of space has triggered a lawsuit.

The conservative news website is so furious it did not get the three tables it wanted at the May 1 dinner that it’s suing the association for $10 million.


The plaintiff news company claims it reserved three tables in early March but was eventually allowed to purchase only three seats, while other publications got tables.

Judicial Watch founder and former Senate candidate Larry Klayman is representing WND. He told ITK he believes the decision to limit WND’s seats was political retaliation for the site’s predominantly conservative viewpoint.

Having fewer seats at the annual black-tie dinner “tells the world that you’re zero as a press publication, that you’re radioactive,” he said.

WHCA President Edwin Chen, of Bloomberg, told ITK in an e-mail that media outlets’ desire for more seats at the party is nothing new. “The association has seen countless and creative efforts to improve one’s circumstances at the dinner; all of them have been futile. This latest ploy will end with the same result.”

The annual dinner, which raises funds for journalism scholarships, consistently sells out and often can’t meet the demand for tables. It’s one of Washington’s hottest tickets thanks to hundreds of celebrity guests, an A-list master of ceremonies (Jay Leno is this year’s) and a speech by the president.

Klayman claims other online publications, such as Huffington Post and The Daily Caller, were allowed to buy tables, even though WND has been around longer than either of them and gets more readers.

But The Daily Caller’s spokeswoman, Becca Watkins, told ITK that the site is not planning to buy any tables, or even seats, at the dinner. Founders Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel are both apparently planning to be out of town that weekend, according to Watkins.

And despite reports that Huffington Post was upset at not getting the number of tables it requested, founder Arianna Huffington told Fishbowl DC on Wednesday: “I’m sure we would have loved to have more tables, but they have been incredibly nice to us. They [the organizers] are not to blame that WHCA has this overwhelming demand. We didn’t have to disinvite anybody.”