In 2009, President Barack Obama proudly banned corporations from donating to his inauguration festivities. But now, with his second term assured, Mr. Obama has decided to open up the corporate cash spigot and is enlisting the “one percent” to help fund his lavish three-day gala.
The Obama Administration claims it will publicly disclose the corporations that pony up funds for Mr. Obama’s second inauguration. But given the Obama Administration’s reputation for pay-to-play corporate cronyism, serious questions about transparency remain unanswered.
“The inauguration is an expo for the biggest money-in-politics players,” says Sunlight Foundation Policy Director John Wonderlich. “Will we know who is donating, reliably, in real-time, online? Probably not. And what's to stop donors with politically troublesome identities from laundering their donations through each other?”
One clue as to the corporations likely to donate to Mr. Obama’s second inauguration can be found in the industries represented by Mr. Obama’s top 2009 individual inauguration donors. Then, Mr. Obama received $4,596,538 from the Securities and Investment industry, $4,351,710 from Lawyers and law firms, and $2,333,223 from his Hollywood pals in the TV, movie, and music industries.
What will big corporations get for their cash? Besides access and possible future taxpayer-funded grants and bailouts, Mr. Obama’s 2013 inaugural committee is dangling the following insider perks in front of prospective institutional donors:
$1,000,000.00 Washington - Institution Contribution - Premium Partner
2 tickets to the Benefactors Reception + 2 tickets to the Co-Chairs Reception + 2 tickets to the Childrens Concert + Invitation to the Finance Committee's "Road Ahead" meeting + 4 VIP tickets to the Candle Light Celebration at the National Building Museum + 2 reserved bleacher seats for the Inaugural Parade + 4 tickets to the Inaugural Ball
$500,000.00 Adams - Institution Contribution - Premium Partner
2 tickets to the Benefactors Brunch + 2 tickets to the Childrens Concert + Invitation to the Finance Committee's "Road Ahead" meeting + 2 tickets to the Candle Light Celebration at the National Building Museum + 2 tickets to the Inaugural Ball
$250,000.00 Jefferson - Institution Contribution - Special Partner
2 tickets to the Childrens Concert + Invitation to the Finance Committee's "Road Ahead" meeting + 2 tickets to the Candle Light Celebration at the National Building Museum + 2 tickets to the Inaugural Ball
Mr. Obama raised a whopping $53 million in private funds for first inauguration, but his 2013 festivities are expected to be slightly smaller in scale. Still, taxpayers will pick up the tab for security, a bill that in 2009 ran $44 million, excluding military personnel and the Secret Service.
Americans will also be spared the massive rock concert that in 2009 featured U2, Bruce Springsteen, and Beyonce.
The three-day celebration will begin on January 19th with a “National Day of Service” and will run through January 21st when Mr. Obama is publicly sworn in for another four years.