Wanted: $1 million donations for Obama’s inauguration

posted at 6:51 pm on January 8, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

And the ‘dramatic reversal’ only continues to get more dramatic as the main event approaches. For his 2009 inauguration, Obama’s inaugural committee specifically banned donations from corporations and what they deemed excessive individual donations in a much-vaunted maneuver to demonstrate how special interests would not dominate his presidency… but meh, enough with the charade already, times are tough:

Planners of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration are making an unprecedented solicitation for high-dollar contributions up to $1 million to help pay for the celebration in exchange for special access.

The changes are part of a continuing erosion of Obama’s pledge to keep donors and special interests at arm’s length of his presidency. He has abandoned the policy from his first inauguration to accept donations up to only $50,000 from individuals, announcing last month that he would take unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations.

A fundraising appeal obtained by The Associated Press shows the Presidential Inaugural Committee is going far beyond his previous self-imposed limits – or apparently any fundraising in the modern history of American presidential inaugurations – by offering donors four VIP packages named after the country’s founding fathers. …

But the pressure is high to pay for the festivities after donors already contributed to the most expensive political race in U.S. history, a campaign that exceeded $2 billion. So far, health care executives and major Democratic Party donors – including those who’ve taken private meetings with Obama or his senior staff – are among those paying for the party.

Again, the fact that a president is seeking donations to fund some inaugural festivities would not be such a big deal, if Team Obama had not specifically made it such a big deal. The spirit of Hopenchange was pervasive enough in 2008 and early 2009 to fully fund as many glamorous parties as a brand new administration could ask for, so at the time the Democrats had no issues making much ado of the moral compass ostensibly directing them to reject all major and corporate donations — but now that they’re suddenly having trouble finding funds from a disenchanted audience after an expensive election cycle, it’s all suddenly okay again.

And as for all of those special and corporate interests that weren’t supposed to characterize Obama’s presidency? Riiiiight:

“This was a pure White House ask,” one GOP Senate aide familiar with the fiscal cliff negotiations told me when I asked how $60+ billion of special-interest tax breaks ended up in the fiscal cliff deal. I called and emailed the White House for days, but couldn’t get confirmation or denial.

But now Reuters seems to corroborate what my Republican sources told me:

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday said that Obama supported the overall package of tax breaks for businesses. He emphasized that the president favored the wind energy credit and tax benefits for research and development to encourage “job-creating research investments.”


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