Inaugural donations from corporations: Not okay in 2009, totally cool in 2013

Because accepting donations from those distasteful, money-grubbing corporations is just not acceptable — except, you know, when you really need the money.

In 2008/2009, President Obama’s inaugural committee (amidst much self-promoted fanfare, I might add) decided to buck precedent and announced that they would not be accepting corporate donations or individual donations in excess of $50k in a grandiose display of thwarting special interests.

Now, of course, the situation is quite different — worn-out donors and a still-‘recovering’ economy mean that the inaugural committee is totally okay with corporations and the wealthy possibly ingratiating themselves with Team Obama. It is what it is:

President Obama’s second welcome into office will be brought to you by Bank Of America, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.

Those three companies are among the many backers of Obama’s inaugural festivities, according to a list posted by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Other corporations donating to fund the president’s pomp and circumstance include AT&T and FedEx.

Organizations with lobbying arms that are backing the inauguration — which include labor unions in addition to major corporations — have spent $283 million lobbying since Obama first took office, according to an analysis from the Center for Public Integrity. …

This year though, Obama’s individual donors are worn out. The president won reelection thanks to the most expensive campaign in history, which clocked in $1.4 billion. After the pricey campaign, committee officials were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to raise the necessary funds for the festivities and so they opened it up to corporations, the New York Times reported in December.

Donors include labor unions like the American Federation of Government Employees, the American Postal Workers Union, and the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers; and in barely a week, 2,000 new donors joined the list, including FedEx and Bank of America.

Tim Carney has more on how major corporations that profit from President Obama’s policies are bankrolling his inauguration — and while the inaugural committee is required to keep records of amounts for the eventual FEC filing they’ll have to make, they seem perfectly content to stay mum for now, despite their munificent transparency promises:

So much for transparency — and scruples. This year, Obama is taking unlimited donations, including corporate cash. …

Southern Co., one of the country’s largest energy companies, has given $100,000 to the PIC, company spokesman Tim Leljedal tells me. What value do Southern Co.’s shareholders get from this expenditure? “This is really about supporting the celebration of the presidency,” Leljedal said.

Southern Co. is the biggest beneficiary of Obama’s push for loan guarantees for nuclear power plants, with an $8.3 billion guarantee in the works for a new Georgia plant.

Southern has also received more than half a billion in federal grants under Obama, including hundreds of millions in stimulus funding. This includes money for “smart grid” technology and “carbon capture” aimed at addressing global warming. Some of this taxpayer-funded profit is now flowing into Obama’s coffers.