Trump inaugural attracts record $107 million in donations

Posted April 20, 2017

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.

Trump's inaugural committee was due to file information about its donors with the Federal Election Commission by April 20 and said it would do so Tuesday - though it hadn't by 10 p.m.

Trump's inauguration crowd (l.) was memorably smaller than former President Barack Obama's in 2009 (r.).

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One of the largest checks came from one of Trump's earliest financial benefactors: Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who contributed $5 million. He and his wife came away with prime seats for Trump's swearing-in ceremony on January 20 and gained access to a private lunch with the new president and lawmakers at the Capitol. Several owners of National Football League teams gave $1 million, including Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Los Angeles Rams owner Stanley Kroenke, Houston Texans owner Robert McNair and a Trump friend who owns the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, whose team is visiting the White House on Wednesday.

He took a softer tone after meeting with drug company executives at the White House, asking them to lower prices and move manufacturing back to the USA, while offering to streamline the process for approving drugs and cut regulations on the industry.

Energy companies and executives donating to Trump's inaugural committee include Exxon Mobil, which contributed $500,000 in January and Clifford Forrest, the founder of Pennsylvania-based coal-mining company, Rosebud Mining.

Those megadonors contributed to Trump's monster inauguration haul of almost $107 million, the FEC forms show.

Businesses that donated at the $1 million level included Bank of America, Boeing, Dow Chemical, Pfizer, Allied Wallet, Access Industries, Qualcomm.

The committee doesn't need to publicly disclose how the money was spent.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that Exxon has asked the U.S. Treasury Department to give the company a waiver from U.S. sanctions against Russia to allow the company to resume drilling operations with the Russian-owned oil company, Rosneft.

Billionaire investor Paul Singer, for example, gave US$1 million after long expressing skepticism about Trump. By contrast, only $53 million was raised for the 2009 inauguration of President Obama. Though Obama's 2009 inauguration didn't accept corporate donations, his 2013 inauguration brought in money from AT&T; and Microsoft, among others.

In all, more than 45 individuals and companies donated at least $1 million each to the effort as Trump broke with the practice of most recent inaugural committees and placed no limits on corporate or individual donors. Griffin gave the Trump inaugural $100,000.

There are also few restrictions on where any leftover money might go after an inauguration, Fischer said.

Trump's inaugural committee has promised to "identify and evaluate charities that will receive contributions left from the excess monies raised".