Sinn Fein expects to raise $350,000 this week at their Friends of Sinn Fein New York fundraising dinner at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Donegal TD Pearse Doherty will be on hand for the event, which attracts a crowd of 600 or so each year. Doherty is considered one of the rising stars of the organization and is their finance spokesman.
The Adams appearance comes at a time when the party is leading in opinion polls in Ireland for the first time ever, although also embroiled in an IRA rape accusation made by former Sinn Fein member Mairia Cahill. Her story has dominated headlines there.
President of Friends of Sinn Fein Jim Cullen stated that support for the party has remained unchanged despite the negative media reports.
He said that the 2014 dinner was on target to fill the usual 60 tables and that those coming were a mixture of people deeply concerned with events in Northern Ireland and many from the construction trades who were always supportive.
Sinn Fein set up its US fundraising organization in the US in the late 90s and is the only Irish political party to have a fundraising organization in the country. There are also Friends of Sinn Fein (FOSF) organizations in Canada, Australia and Britain.
The United States FOSF's returns contain details of a variety of visits by senior and mid-ranking Sinn Fein members from Ireland.
Returns filed reveal that the organization raised $369,445 from November 2012 to April 2013 last year and $326,918 between April and June last year.
It lists the organization's total expenditure (mainly in travel and in maintaining a full-time office in New York) as $258,486 over the period from November 2012 and April last year. These figures are similar to amounts given to the US Department of Justice in previous years.
Maria Cahill, a former Sinn Fein member, claims she was abused by an IRA member when she was just 16. Adams has stated he believes Cahill’s accusation but has strongly denied that Sinn Fein tried to cover up the story and comments attributed to him by Cahill, who is now 33 and a former member of a dissident group opposed to the peace process.