WSJ: Obama Breaks Pledge on Inauguration Donations

Friday, 09 Jan 2009 12:14 PM

By Jim Meyers

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A full 90 percent of donations to fund Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration have come from well-heeled fundraisers — including Wall Street executives whose companies have received federal bailout money.

A total of 207 fundraisers have collected $24.8 million of the $27.3 million in donations disclosed by Obama through Thursday, according to an analysis by Public Citizen commissioned by The Wall Street Journal.

Slightly more than 2,000 donors accounted for the $27.3 million raised, but 378 of those people each contributed the maximum $50,000 allowed by Obama, raising almost 70 percent of the total, or $18.9 million, the analysis found.

Wall Street employees have been the largest single source of private donations, and many of the contributions have been channeled through financial-services executives who have put together bundles of donations worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The preponderance of large donors and the fact that so many come from an industry receiving government handouts comes as the president-elect has sought to keep his inauguration free of special interests,” The Journal observed.

Bundlers from the financial sector include executives from Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., two firms that have accepted billions of dollars each in bailout money from the federal government.

Obama’s presidential campaign smashed all previous fundraising records, raking in more than an astounding $650 million from some 3 million donors.

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