Billionaires, companies power Trump's record inaugural haul

  • Billionaires, companies power Trump's record inaugural haul

Billionaires, companies power Trump's record inaugural haul

US President Donald Trump raised twice as much money for his inauguration festivities as any previous president-elect in history, pulling in tens of millions of dollars from wealthy donors and large corporations eager to woo the nation's new chief executive in the days after his unexpected victory.

He gave $5 million, according to the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee's filing with the Federal Election Commission.

The total is almost double the record set by President Barack Obama eight years ago.

The report also shows the influence of large corporations, who can not give directly to candidates during the campaign: Bank of America, Pfizer, Boeing, Dow Chemical and AT&T each gave $1 million to support Trump during the lead-up to the inauguration.

Perhaps most notably, the billionaire behind the Dakota Access Pipeline - Kelcy Warren - gave $250,000 to Trump's inauguration committee in December.

Brendan Fischer of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit pro-transparency group, countered: "If you take Trump at his word that when political figures accept large amounts of money from corporate interests or special interests that they're indebted to those big donors, there's certainly reason to question what donors to Trump's inaugural committee might expect in return". Coal mogul Christopher Cline, principal owner of Foresight Energy Partners, gave $1 million.

The report is likely to only intensify questions about Trump's commitment to the populist ideas raised in recent weeks by several policy shifts and realignments among White House staff. AT&T made combined in-kind and cash donations of $2.1 million, and Microsoft's combined total was $500,000.

Russian-America businessman Alexander Shustorovich also was among the $1 million donors to Trump's inauguration committee. Kerrigan said the inaugural events may have served as an opportunity for donors to try to curry favor with the incoming president.

Boeing, which gave $1 million, was a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which Trump attacked on the campaign trail but recently praised and nominated former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-5th Dist.) as its president.

In a statement on Tuesday, the committee said it was still identifying charities toward which it would direct leftover money, though it did not detail how much was left.

At least President Trump broke one inauguration record. He lifted those caps in 2013, when he raised about $43 million for a lower-key event.

For Trump, the fast pace of fundraising appears to have continued past Inauguration Day.

Companies also gave huge in-kind contributions of goods and services, including $2.1 million from AT&T for mobile equipment and software, almost $500,000 in "vehicle expenses" from General Motors, $500,000 in equipment from Microsoft, $300,000 in food and beverages from Coca Cola, $257,000 from Pepsi and more than $500,000 in delivery services from FedEx. Four years before that, Obama had 10 official balls and raised more than $53 million, a record at the time.