Billionaires, companies power Trump’s record inaugural haul

Billionaires, companies power Trump's record inaugural haul

WASHINGTON — Powered by billionaires and corporations, President Donald Trump raised $107 million for his inaugural festivities, documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show, and nearly doubled the record set by President Barack Obama eight years ago.

After giving $5 million, Las Vegas gaming billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife had prime seats for Trump’s swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20 and gained access to a private lunch with the new president and lawmakers at the Capitol.

Two other casino moguls also gave generously: Phil Ruffin, a close Trump friend, donated $1 million, and Steve Wynn, now chief fundraiser for the Republican Party, gave $729,000 through his Wynn Resorts.

Health care, energy and beverage companies were among the many businesses giving $250,000 or more.

The inaugural committee’s 510-page filing about its donors is not yet available in a data-downloadable format, and converting it will take days or weeks, according to the FEC.

The committee doesn’t need to publicly disclose how the money was spent.

In a statement, the inaugural committee said the multi-day event “was one of the most accessible and affordable inaugurations for the public in recent history.”

Trump’s inaugural involved less hoopla than others in recent years.

He held three inaugural balls, compared with the 10 that Obama had at his first inaugural. Trump’s team shortened its parade to about 90 minutes. The longest parade, with 73 bands and 59 floats, lasted more than 4 1/2 hours, at Dwight Eisenhower’s first inauguration in 1953.

Trump’s inaugural team failed to attract the kind of pricey A-list performers who turned out in force for Obama. Trump’s headliners included teen singer Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Radio City Rockettes. The committee put on a free opening day concert and charged $50 per ticket to two of its balls. The Armed Services Ball was free.

The slimmed-down affair, which inaugural chairman Tom Barrack said aimed to capture the “soft sensuality” of Washington, raises questions about whether Trump spent the entire record-setting sum. He promised to give any extra money to charity, but didn’t specify which ones.

Trump’s $107 million fundraising total is “an awful lot of money — it’s roughly what we spent on two,” said Steve Kerrigan, who was CEO for Obama’s inaugural committee in 2013 and chief of staff in 2009. Kerrigan said the inaugural events may have served as an opportunity for donors who held back during the presidential campaign to try to curry favour by showing support for the incoming president.

Billionaire investor Paul Singer, for example, gave $1 million after long expressing skepticism about Trump. He’s since visited the president at the White House.

Inaugural officials didn’t immediately return requests for comment Tuesday. Their release promised more details about charitable giving at a later date, “when the organization’s books are fully closed.”

Trump placed no restrictions on the amount of money that donors could give. Obama limited contributions to $50,000 in 2009 but lifted that cap four years later.

After raising about $55 million in 2009, Obama used excess funds to help pay for the White House Easter egg roll and other events, his former inaugural committee chief executive officer said.

For Obama’s second inaugural in 2013, his committee raised about $43 million.

Former President George W. Bush raised $40 million to $42 million for each of his two inaugurations.

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

In the past, questions have been raised about Trump’s follow-through on his commitments to make charitable donations. For example, he pledged in January 2016 to donate millions to veterans from a highly publicized fundraiser, including $1 million of his own money. Much of that money was distributed in May 2016, after The Washington Post pressed him about whether he had followed through on his promise.

___

Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/nbenac and Julie Bykowicz at http://twitter.com/bykowicz

Nancy Benac And Julie Bykowicz, The Associated Press

Just Posted

‘Grief dreams’ can offer path for faster healing

Researchers presenting findings in Chilliwack of how to tap into dream power

Drugs, cash, Taser seized at Chilliwack suburban home

RCMP credit alert neighbours for prompting investigation that led to seizures in Eastern Hillsides

Chilliwack Giants and Valley Huskers strengthen ties

Chilliwack Minor Football’s midget team returns as a feeder for the junior football Huskers.

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for Chilliwack woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from local group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Knuckles coming to Chilliwack for Montreal Canadiens alumni game

Chris Nilan and Stephane Richer are the latest Habs alums to sign on for the fundraiser match.

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Semi rollover on Highway 3

Highway 3 is reduced to single-alternating lanes

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

Most Read