Tags: inaugural | cash | obama

In Hard Times, Obama Raises $25M for Inaugural

Tuesday, 06 Jan 2009 12:14 PM

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WASHINGTON – Despite the economic hard times, money keeps pouring in for President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural festivities.

The inaugural committee has raised at least $27 million, donor information on its Web site Tuesday showed. Most of that has come in over the past three weeks.

If fundraising continues at that pace, Obama's inaugural committee will have no problem reaching or exceeding the roughly $40 million raised for each of President George W. Bush's two inaugural celebrations.

More than 2,000 donors are helping to finance Obama's Jan. 20 swearing-in festivities. At least 378 gave the maximum $50,000.

Top donors include financier and major Democratic donor George Soros, actors Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson, Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, directors Ron Howard, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and actor, singer and director Barbra Streisand.

The inaugural committee is releasing the names of those who give $200 or more. It is refusing money from labor unions, corporations, political action committees, foreigners and Washington lobbyists.

The committee isn't turning away contributions from those whose enterprises lobby in Washington, however.

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and five others at the Internet company gave $25,000 each. The inaugural committee received a total of $150,500 from six Microsoft employees, including the maximum $50,000 from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Also giving the limit were Thomas Strickland, UnitedHealth Group executive vice president and chief legal officer, and two Indian tribes with casinos, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in California.

Microsoft, Google, UnitedHealth and the two Indian tribes have all lobbied in Washington over the past year.

Other maximum donors include Louis Susman, who retired this month as vice chairman of Citigroup, a banking giant that has received a multibillion-dollar bailout from the U.S. government.

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