News & Politics

These Are the Hosts of the Event at Which Michelle Obama Was Heckled

Nan Schaffer and Karen Dixon own the Kalorama home at which the First Lady’s fundraiser took place.

Missing from all the reporting around the heckler at Michelle Obama’s fundraiser this
week in Kalorama was mention of the hosts themselves:
Nan Schaffer and
Karen Dixon, a high-profile couple in the LGBT community who followed the Obamas from Chicago
to Washington.

This wasn’t the first event the couple hosted for the Obamas in their home. According
Windy City Times, in February 2012, they hosted a $35,800-per-person fundraiser for President Obama’s
reelection campaign, which raised $1.4 million.

A member of the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, Schaffer is an animal-rights
activist and veterinarian who specializes in rhinoceros reproduction. Dixon is an
attorney who sits on the board of Lambda Legal, a gay-rights organization. The couple
was legally married in Vancouver in 2008 and held a splashy ceremony and reception
at Chicago’s Drake Hotel in July 2009.

Schaffer bought the six-bedroom, six-bath house where the fundraiser was held in
October 2010 for $6.4 million. The house has a private garden with a 40-foot heated
lap pool and sits on Tracy Place, one of the most prestigious streets in Kalorama.
Teddy and Vicki Kennedy’s old house, now owned by the Republic of Gabon, is next door.
Other neighbors include ex-Microsoft exec
Steven VanRoekel, now the federal chief information officer of the United States; Democratic heavyweight
and PR executive
John Rendin; and Republican power couple
Viet and Jennifer Dinh.

The heckler,
Ellen Sturtz, was affiliated with gay-rights group GetEqual, and was asking for an executive order
on gay rights. Mrs. Obama, clearly flustered, left the lectern and walked up to Sturtz,
saying, she could “listen to me or you can take the mike, but I’m leaving. You all
decide. You have one choice.”

Our prediction: After a fiasco like that, Schaffer and Dixon won’t be hosting any
more Obama fundraisers for a while.