The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — It was huge.
Big money from billionaires, corporations and a roster of NFL owners poured into Donald Trump’s inaugural committee in record-shattering amounts — to pull off an event that was considerably lower-key than previous inaugural celebrations.
That leaves a bit of a mystery: What the $107 million was spent for and how much was left over — the excess, if any, to go to charity. It also raises a new round of questions about the influence of money in politics, this time for a president who promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington.
Contribution records from Trump’s inaugural committee, released Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission, show the president who railed as a candidate against the corrupting influence of big-money donors was only too willing to accept top-dollar checks for his swearing-in festivities.
Trump’s total take was about double the previous record set by Barack Obama, who collected $53 million in contributions in 2009, and had money left over to spend on the annual Easter egg roll and other White House events.
Trump’s top inaugural donor was Las Vegas gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who gave $5 million. He and his wife came away with prime seats for Trump’s swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20 and gained access to a private lunch with the new president and lawmakers at the Capitol. Phil Ruffin, another casino mogul and close friend of Trump, was among dozens of donors who gave $1 million each.Speech