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Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors

The official Inaugural website lists the corporate donors to Bush's inaugural celebration.

The donations are raising eyebrows in the media.

Critics call the arrangement too cozy, while others say the lavish spending is inappropriate in a time of war and as South Asia recovers from a devastating tsunami.

Bush told reporters Thursday he sees no problem with either how the money is raised or how it is spent. "There's no taxpayer money involved in this," he said.

Who pays isn't really the issue. It's what they expect to recoup from their investment.

As of Jan. 14, 42 corporate contributors chipped in $250,000 each, the self-imposed maximum donation accepted by the committee. Unlike campaign contributions, there's no legal limit to how much a donor can give.

Financial services companies and their executives have donated more than any other industry, with 26 financial services firms donating more than $4 million. The industry could reap a windfall if Congress approves Bush's plan for private investment accounts as part of Social Security. It also has an interest in Bush's goal of extending the tax cuts of his first term. Energy companies and their executives contributed more than $2.7 million. They've worked closely with the Bush Administration for years to pass an industry-friendly energy bill that remains stalled in Congress.

Here's what's wrong with it:

Critics say that for-profit companies don't give money away without a reason involving self-interest.

"It's part of their government relations and influence program," said Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that monitors money in politics. "They're doing it to gain access to the White House and to members of Congress." The access works on two levels, Noble said. First, there's the immediate access that donors get from rubbing shoulders with the powers-that-be at inaugural activities such as luncheons and balls.

Beyond that, it's an investment in establishing relationships down the road, so that they will be heard when key issues come to the fore.

I don't really care that major donors get tickets to special events attended by Bush and Cheney. I care about their influence when it comes to legislation and policy. A $40 million inauguration seems excessive, especially for a second term president. The country is at war. Many at home are out of work and struggling financially just to survive. The tsunami left millions in need. Bush should have toned it down.

Update: Monday's New York Times has this report on the lobbyists who will be attending unofficial parties. More money being spent.

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  • Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 08:24:47 PM EST
    Bush's sponsors will be getting a nice little return on their investment, just like they have been getting. And the rednecks that voted for him will be getting screwed even harder. But that's OK they can take it.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 09:33:59 PM EST
    This year's inaugural bought for you by the objective and unbiased folks at Time Warner. Time Warner. We do more with less.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#3)
    by scarshapedstar on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 09:43:03 PM EST
    I wonder how many bulletproof vests you can buy for $40 million. Oh well, at least we can pray that someday an actual Christian occupies the White House.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 10:03:42 PM EST
    No taxpayer money involved? Who's paying for DC's covering the security for this? Didn't we just learn the other day that the mayor was told to use his homeland security funds to pay for inauguration security?

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 10:13:50 PM EST
    Did you know there's a whole site devoted to the Clinton Library? In fact, they've got a NY Sun report on the funding for the library. What do you think those donors - many of them Saudis - could ever want from a former President?

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jan 16, 2005 at 10:44:43 PM EST
    Is the laden family on the list?

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 02:10:07 AM EST
    The inauguration will probably do what it is supposed to do: convince 51 percent of US voters that they have done the right thing. The message to the rest of the world... let's not talk about it. The US have lost it.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 02:56:23 AM EST
    The US have lost it. Um... we already knew that.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#9)
    by pigwiggle on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 05:43:17 AM EST
    This year I bought ĎThe Buying of the PresidentÖĒ Iím certain there is some de facto quid pro quo for donations, campaign or otherwise. There is little difference between the donors to either presidential campaign; only slight difference in the amount. I hope your indignation will extend to your party of choice as well; of course with the exception of the Greens, Iím sure Cobb didnít get a corporate dime.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 06:35:57 AM EST
    It's a free country, after all. That seems to be a concept some will never understand.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 06:45:51 AM EST
    Pigwiggle's right, both big parties line up at the feedbag of corporate money and forget that "by, of, and for the people" part while stuffing their pockets like a bunch of raging gluttons.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 07:02:30 AM EST
    No taxpayer money involved? Give me a break. They're contributing a fraction of the tax cuts they got (and will get). I wish I could get the kinds of ROI they get.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 08:01:22 AM EST
    Doctor Ace: And if not free, then certainly to be purchased at a price far below cost. After all, what are firneds in high places for?

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 08:02:19 AM EST
    Yeah, "firneds". That would be "friends".

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jan 17, 2005 at 01:20:29 PM EST
    Bush doesn't see a problem how the money is raised or spent?!? Yeah, that sounds like something dumdum W would say!

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 09:46:31 AM EST
    Why aren't corporations picking up some of the security costs? They are the ones gaining by this presidency, not the citizens of DC, who are being stuck with a big security bill. While one in five DC residents lives in poverty, I'm sure they are happy to know the caviar and lobster tails will be heavily guarded, paid for by their district's funds!

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 18, 2005 at 06:08:41 PM EST
    If Kerry had won the election, im sure this would not even be a problem. The media would have just skipped over it. People say why dont they put the money towards the war - well it would only pay for 3-4 hours of the war anyways. Yes, i agree that maybe less could have been spent and more given to the tsunami aid, but it is the independent companies money and they can do whatever they please with it. There are tons of millionaires spending their money, wasting even, but you dont hear the media calling on them to donate and not waste money do you. The only reason this is an issue is because the liberal media wants it to be an issue. As for tax money, about 1.25 million was given to the whole ordeal, and is supposed to pay for inauguration ceremonies only. The rest is donated and is just a big party. most of the money is made back in ticket sales and such like. The president works harder than almost any other person in the world anyways, so i would say he deserves a party. How much do all those awards shows cost (grammies, emmies, golden globe, oscars, etc.) It just pisses me off that the liberal media has to be the way it is and that retards are dumb enough to listen to it all.

    Re: Inauguration: Bush's Corporate Donors (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:29:51 AM EST
    Whether it's a liberal media, a conservative media or just plain media, it still doesn't make sense to throw a big party while US soldiers are dying in Iraq for the sake of the President/republican party's "political gains."