Trump inaugural attracts record $107 million in donations

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 20, 2017

Trump's US$107 million is "an very bad lot of money - it's roughly what we spent on two", said Steve Kerrigan, CEO for Obama's inaugural committee in 2013 and chief of staff in 2009.

A disclosure filed with the Federal Election Commission shows over two dozen million-dollar checks from other donors, with Trump raising $107 million for his inauguration, double the previous record set by former president Barack Obama in 2009, the Times said.

Trump placed no restrictions on the amount of money donors could give.

"As we've done previously, General Motors supported the inauguration as an important event in our nation's political process", company spokeswoman Laura Toole said. But then, sometimes donations can fulfill another goal.

The report also shows the influence of large corporations, who can not give directly to candidates during the campaign: Bank of America, Pfizer, Boeing, Dow Chemical and AT&T each gave $1 million to support Trump during the lead-up to the inauguration.

He held three inaugural balls, compared with the 10 that Obama had at his first inaugural.

The money also bought time with the president and vice president - those donating more than $500,000 were treated to dinner with Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen.

It's not exactly new for a presidential inauguration committee to take in corporate money.

Per Wickstrom, CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation in Battle Creek, chipped in $100,000 on January 19, and Ciena Healthcare Management CEO and President Mohammad Qazi of West Bloomfield Township gave $50,000 on December 2. The Republican National Committee refused a contribution from the US citizen in 2000, citing news reports at the time that cautioned about his ties to Russian business.

"The amount of funds raised for the inaugural celebration allowed the president to give the American people, those both at home and visiting Washington, a chance to experience the incredible moment in our democracy where we witness the peaceful transition of power, a cornerstone of American democracy", the committee's chairman, Tom Barrack, said in a statement. Corporations, barred by federal law from donating to campaigns, can underwrite the costs of inaugural festivities. However, as Colby College professor and campaign finance expert Anthony Corrado told NPR, it could potentially give the funds to another 501 (c)(4) - perhaps one that promotes the president's agenda.

Trump's inaugural committee said it would "identify and evaluate charities that will receive contributions left from the excess monies raised".

For his part, Fischer thinks the Inauguration Day donations should have some of the strictures of campaign donations.

Trump plans to name the New York Jets' Woody Johnson, one of those million-dollar donors, to be the country's ambassador to the United Kingdom.

While the donors were high-profile, taxpayers can end up footing a large part of the inauguration bill.

Big money from billionaires, corporations and a roster of National Football League owners poured into Donald Trump's inaugural committee in record-shattering amounts - to pull off an event that was considerably lower-key than previous inaugural celebrations.

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