Trump Remains Silent on Big-Money Donors to His Inauguration

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Front View of the White House

Corporate executives and other big-money donors reportedly poured millions of dollars in Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities. People familiar with the matter said the inaugural event’s price tag might climb to $200 million as the billionaire wants the festivities on Friday to be as lavish as possible.

Sources also said the president-elect got personally involved in every detail of the ceremony. A spokesperson for the Inaugural Committee described the businessman as a “brilliant man” who poses as an “average guy.”

Big Name Donors Pour Serious Cash in Jan. 20 Festivities

American tax payers will traditionally have to fork out $115 million for the official part of the festivities, viewing boxes, and enhanced security. Unlike previous festivities, private sponsors donated from $90 million to $100 million extra to the ceremony.

And unlike previous years, Trump did not disclose the identities of those donors. The move is uncommon as Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton haven’t made a secret out of the names of their inaugural donors.

Under Bush, Congress passed a law that required the country’s new commanders-in-chief to disclose the names of their contributors. The requirement had a deadline however: they must do it within 90 days after the Inauguration Day.

The names of some donors either surfaced or were released by the contributors themselves. For instance, Chevron acknowledged they made a $500,000 donation while Boeing vowed to shell out $1 million. JPMorgan Chase and AT&T admitted they donated some cash too. Other companies who sponsored the event include those who backed Obama’s inaugural or even those who turned their backs to the 2016 Republican National Convention: Deloitte, UPS, and Bank of America.

Analysts noted these companies donate big because they can gain influence and access. Experts think companies are so generous because they want something from the new Cabinet in return.

It is worth noting that Occidental Petroleum donated to Bill Clinton’s Inauguration. Later, the company settled with the Energy Department over a price-fixing case under Clinton’s watch. Moreover, AT&T which had donated to Obama’s festivities was so sure the new administration would approve a merger with rival T-Mobile it pledged to pay $4 billion in case of a breakup. In the end, the FCC and DOJ killed the deal.

Trump Silent on Other Issues

Trump’s silence does not come as a surprise as he has already named many campaign donors or lobbyists in key positions. According to a recent report, nine of his picks were campaign donors. Collectively, these donors poured $6 million in Trump’s campaign, but the bulk of the cash came from Linda McMahon who will now run the Small Business Administration.

Other campaign donors who landed key positions in the new Cabinet are incoming labor secretary Andy Puzder, treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, secretary of state Rex Tillerson, ambassador to Israel David Friedman, special adviser Carl Icahn, CIA director Mike Pompeo, and HHS secretary Tom Price.

Trump has also adopted a policy of ‘secrecy’ on various issues from the names of super fundraisers aka bundlers to his tax returns. Additionally, some of his picks for Cabinet positions failed to provide background information ahead of confirmation procedures in Congress. And on top of that, Trump threatened the media he might order an investigation into their sources of classified information.
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