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Major corporations backed inaugural festivities

The committee for President Obama's second swearing-in raised a little more than $43 million, down from the first inauguration, a report says.

April 22, 2013|By Matea Gold, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — President Obama's second inaugural committee raised a little more than $43 million to put on the official festivities surrounding his January swearing-in, backed by major donations from some of the country's biggest corporations, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The total brought in by the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee was $10 million less than the amount raised in 2009 for Obama's first inauguration, a reflection of the scaled-down nature of this year's event. And it was nearly $7 million short of the committee's original $50-million goal.

The smaller haul came despite the fact that — in a reversal from 2009 — this year's inaugural committee accepted corporate donations, a decision that drew sharp criticism from campaign finance reform advocates.

The 2013 committee also took individual donations of more than $50,000, unlike four years ago, and did not disclose the amount given by contributors until the report was filed with the FEC on Saturday, three months after the inauguration.

In all, for-profit corporations donated $15.5 million to help put on this year's parade and official balls, about 36% of the money raised, according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau.

The biggest donation came from AT&T, which contributed $4.6 million in equipment and other in-kind services. Microsoft gave nearly $2.1 million in technology services, while Boeing and Chevron each gave $1 million in cash.

Other large corporate contributions came from Genentech ($750,000), Deloitte ($500,000), FedEx ($500,000), Bank of America ($300,000) and Coca-Cola ($430,000 in in-kind catering).

Labor unions contributed more than $1.5 million, with the United Assn. of Journeymen and Apprentices, International Assn. of Fire Fighters, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and National Education Assn. each giving $250,000.

The top individual giver was Tim Gill, a Denver-based gay rights activist and philanthropist, who chipped in $500,000. Venture capital investor Earl Stafford of Reston, Va., gave more than $280,000, and Emmanuel Irono, who runs a Washington-based company that provides contract staff for government agencies, contributed $270,000.

The vast majority of the top fundraisers for Obama's reelection campaign did not give money to the inaugural committee — a reflection of weariness after a costly and exhausting campaign, Democratic fundraisers said. Out of the 770 bundlers who brought in money for the president's 2012 campaign, just 124 gave money to help finance his second inauguration, an analysis by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau found.

The biggest givers included Oakland real estate investor Wayne Jordan and Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner, who each gave $250,000. Billionaire Penny Pritzker — a longtime Obama supporter who is being vetted as a potential candidate for Commerce secretary — gave $250,000 personally and another $250,000 through her company, PSP Capital Partners.

Among the businesses that made in-kind contributions was Chicago-based Eli's Cheesecake Company, which gave a $6,000 gift for "catering." The company contributed desserts, including a massive cheesecake served at a post-inaugural ball for staff that featured Lady Gaga, said Marc Schulman, president of Eli's.

"We probably served 6,000 people," he said. "It was a big crowd. It was a really nice party."

matea.gold@latimes.com

Times researcher Maloy Moore in Los Angeles and staff writer Katherine Skiba in the Washington bureau contributed to this report.

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