Four years ago Mr. Obama barred corporations from donating to his inauguration, a gesture meant to show that well-heeled interests wouldn’t have undue influence in his administration. For the 2009 events he raised more than $50 million from other donors to help cover the costs of celebrations.

But the climate is different now. The economy is still struggling, and the president’s campaign donors are drained from a long election season in which they were also asked to help fund the Democratic convention in Charlotte and congressional races.

Obama fundraisers and campaign advisers cite various reasons for accepting corporate money this time around. Dropping the ban on corporate contributions would ease the task of raising the tens of millions of dollars needed to pay for celebratory events that have become a fixture of presidential inaugurations.

They also describe the inauguration as more of a civic event than a partisan political affair.