WSJ: Obama Mulling Corporate Donations for Inauguration

Friday, 23 Nov 2012 10:17 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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President Barack Obama’s advisors say the White House should accept corporate donations for his inauguration celebration in January, rather than hit up donors who underwrote his $1 billion campaign

Four years ago, Obama barred corporations from donating, in a bid to show he would not be beholden to big business.

Administration officials haven’t made a final decision, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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The president was able to raise more than $50 million from other sources for his 2009 inauguration, but things are different now. Donors are drained from constant requests for money for the election and the Democratic National Convention. While the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies pays for the swearing-in and taxpayers pick up the tab for security and other costs that come with the ceremony, presidential supporters pay for the inaugural balls, concerts and parties are paid by presidential supporters.

In 2009, Obama’s private fundraising also paid for the large TV screens set upon the National Mall. And while he wouldn’t accept corporate donations, Public Citizen, a watchdog group, said he still got money from “prominent Wall Street figures,” including top executives from Wachovia, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. He also got a total of $770,000 in contributions from six people in financial services who bundled their contributions.

Other presidents have had different rules for financing second inaugurations. George W. Bush placed no ban on corporate money and took in $42 million. Bill Clinton limited contributions to $100 but had more than $9 million left over from his first inauguration.

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