Monday, 21 May, 2018

Billionaires, companies power Trump's record inaugural haul

Alfredo Watts | 20 April, 2017, 06:07

Trump's team shortened its parade to about 90 minutes.

Powered by billionaires and corporations, President Donald Trump raised $107 million for his inaugural festivities, documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show, and almost doubled the record set by President Barack Obama eight years ago. Trump's committee, helmed by private equity titan Tom Barrack, raised almost twice as much money as former President Barack Obama's first inauguration, which pulled in 53 million dollars.

Big money from billionaires, corporations and a roster of National Football League owners poured into Donald Trump's inaugural committee in record-shattering amounts - to pull off an event that was considerably lower-key than previous inaugural celebrations.

Trump's inauguration was expected to cost as much as $200 million, with costs split between the inaugural committee, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and federal and local governments.

In a statement, Trump's committee said it is in the process of identifying charities that will receive contributions from leftover funds. Trump's inaugural committee doesn't have to disclose what it spent the money on or how much was left over.

Trump held three inaugural balls, compared with the 10 Obama had at his first inaugural.

$106.7 million was contributed by individuals and corporations for the inauguration festivities, but it's of note that they were on the list and among the top donors.

Billionaire investor Paul Singer, for example, gave US$1 million after long expressing skepticism about Trump.

Trump's associates and longtime friends also contributed a significant amount of money.

Exxon officials did not immediately respond to an interview request about the donation. Their release promised more details about charitable giving at a later date, "when the organization's books are fully closed". For his second, he raised the limit to $1 million and allowed corporate contributions.

While presidents face fewer restrictions in their inaugural spending than they do for their campaigns, Trump's two predecessors applied more limits than Trump himself.

Trump's committee raised a record $106.7 million from private sources to fund six days of events surrounding his January 20 swearing-in.

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

The apparent policy reversals have angered many of Trump's supporters on the far-right.

The hefty donations will likely raise questions about Trump perceivably being beholden to his donors. He promised to give any extra money to charity, but didn't specify which ones.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that Exxon has asked the U.S. Treasury Department to give the company a waiver from U.S. sanctions against Russia to allow the company to resume drilling operations with the Russian-owned oil company, Rosneft.