12-09-2012, 08:47 PM #1
Obama changes course and now okays Corporate $$$ for Inaugural
After the most expensive campaign in U.S. history, President Obama is dropping his principled objection to some forms of political fundraising to help pay for the post-election party.
ABC News has learned that the Presidential Inaugural Committee will accept unlimited corporate donations to help fund Obama's inauguration festivities next month, reversing a voluntary ban on the money he imposed on the inaugural four years ago and during the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Obama will also allow individuals to contribute up to the legal maximum for the 2013 inauguration - $250,000 - lifting a $50,000 cap he voluntarily imposed in 2008, sources said.
Officials said cost considerations for the 2013 festivities would mean less elaborate events than four years ago. There will not be a star-studded concert on the National Mall, for example, and there will be fewer inaugural balls.
A spokeswoman for the committee said Obama will still not accept donations from lobbyists or PACs, or allow any individuals or corporations to formally sponsor specific inaugural events, such as the parade.
Obama's reversal is not the first time he has dropped self-imposed campaign financing rules meant to "change business as usual in Washington." Earlier this year, Obama dropped his long-standing opposition to super PACs, giving his approval for top aides to support Priorities USA Action. During the 2008 campaign, he broke a standing promise to accept public financing for the general election.
Leading the fundraising effort for inauguration are four of Obama's most loyal surrogates and financiers: Former ambassador Matt Barzun, the Obama campaign's national finance chair and a top bundler; actress Eva Longoria, an Obama campaign co-chair and bundler; Jane Stetson, finance chairwoman of the DNC; and businessman Frank White.
News of Obama's shift on inaugural financing was first reported by Politico's Donovan Slack.
A nonpartisan government watchdog group, Public Citizen, assailed Obama's decision to accept unlimited corporate funding for his 2013 inauguration, calling the arrangement "Obama Inc."
"The American people have a right to expect something other than an inauguration brought to them by Bank of America," said Public Citizen president Robert Weissman.
"Every corporation's donations create a conflict of interest, because they all have business before the government in one way or the other," he said. "The problem with donations from lobbyists is that they expect something in return for their contribution. The situation is exactly the same with corporate contributors, virtually all of whom employ lobbyists."
Weissman called it doubly disappointing that the "corporate-funded" inaugural activities will fall on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in "Citizens United," which opened the door to unlimited corporate spending in campaigns - a decision Obama has decried.
Public Citizen appealed to Obama last week with a petition of 30,000 signatures to refuse corporate money for the inauguration.
12-09-2012, 08:54 PM #2
12-09-2012, 10:29 PM #3
And I'm sure those corporations are just happy to help foot the bill, no quid pro quo required.Buying "Broder" unlicensed sets and singles.
12-10-2012, 12:19 PM #4
Wow, I never saw this coming...I mean Obama has never been the type to say one thing and do something else...oh wait, I got that backwards, he has always been the type to say one thing and then do something else.
Momentary thought...I wonder if the liberals who hate the rich people that don't pay enough taxes will mind those rich people taking a tax deduction for helping pay for their messiah's Inagural celebration????
12-10-2012, 01:05 PM #5
I guess they will not
12-10-2012, 01:18 PM #6
Who says liberals hate the wealthy? I sure don't. I just think they need to ACTUALLY PAY their taxes.
And yes, that means I have a problem with deductions for political contributions, which I consider this to be.
12-16-2012, 08:07 PM #7
Obama Inauguration's Big Donor Packages Previewed
The biggest donors to President Barack Obama's second inauguration have been notified on what benefits will be available to them during that day's festivities.
Corporations and other organizations that donate in the highest bracket - $1 million - will have access to a children's concert, "benefactors reception," and four tickets to the official inaugural ball, among other perks. The bonuses were outlined in a solicitation from the Presidential Inaugural Committee to potential donors, and provided to the New York Times by an Obama fundraiser.
Private individuals who contribute the legal maximum of $250,000 will be given the same offerings as the million dollar donation from an "institution." Institutions can include corporations, unions, charities, and other organizations.
The benefits are separated into four individual "packages," each corresponding to the level of donation. Each is named after a former president: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison; a copy of the solicitation can be found here.
As reported by ABC News on Friday, the inaugural committee has reversed a voluntary ban on the donor money, imposed by Obama on the inauguration four years ago and during the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Taxpayers pay for the "official" events of any presidential inauguration: the actual swearing-in on Capitol Hill and inaugural luncheon. But all other events, including balls and the parade itself, must be funded by the president-elect and private donations.
This kind of financing is not new in Washington. President George W. Bush's 2005 inaugural, for example, had similar arrangements for donors including Time Warner, Wachovia, Home Depot, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. and Pfizer Inc., at $250,000 each. But this year's reversal is another departure from the pledges then-candidate Obama made during the 2008 election to keep certain kinds of political fundraising away from the Oval Office.
During his reelection Obama dropped long-standing opposition to Super PAC's in the face of the most expensive election in U.S. history. And previously in the 2008 campaign he broke a pledge to use public financing for the general election, again citing costs.
Committee officials say they will thoroughly vet any contributions and deny those from lobbyists, but some government watchdog groups are assailing the decision regardless.
"The administration asks to be judged in comparison to Bush, saying their record speaks for itself," the Sunlight Foundation's John Wonderlich said of Obama's record on transparency. "At some point, though, it's time to judge Obama in his own words. Obama said unlimited donations sully our democracy, threaten public service, and weaken representation - and has now chosen to embrace them."
12-16-2012, 08:18 PM #8
12-17-2012, 08:44 AM #9
12-17-2012, 08:48 AM #10
he is allowed, but he said he wouldn't and now he is.