Corporate donors to Trump inaugural revealed
Nearly two-dozen corporations gave upwards of $5 million in December alone to help fund President Donald Trump’s inauguration, helping contribute to the largest haul for an inauguration ever.
Dow Chemical and Pfizer each shelled out $1 million, and Amgen, Exxon Mobil, Altria, Microsoft and sugar company Florida Crystals gave $500,000 a piece in the weeks leading up to the event, according to disclosure forms that were submitted to the House and Senate.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee — an independent fundraising organization that foots the bill for items from port-a-potties to glitzy inaugural balls — does not have to disclose its donors for 90 days after the event.
However, lobbyists and entities that hire them must submit reports every six months detailing all political donations.
Reports indicate more companies gave to the inaugural festivities in January, bringing the total to at least $7 million, though the figure is likely much higher.
In January, Chevron, Boeing and Coca-Cola became big-money contributors, with Boeing giving $1 million to the inauguration and the oil giant contributing $500,000, according to The Associated Press and Fox News.
Many of the companies who donated have a tradition of making donations to presidential inaugurations, no matter which party is in power.
Coca-Cola, for instance, threw in an amount “in line” to the $430,000 it gave to Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural in cash and non-alcoholic beverages, but declined to name an exact figure.
Boeing also gave $1 million to help fund Obama’s swearing-in festivities in 2013.
Another Trump donor, Exxon Mobil, donated $250,000 to both Obama and President George W. Bush’s post-reelection inaugural committees. The company’s former CEO Rex Tillerson is now Trump’s secretary of State.
Dow Chemical, who is among Trump’s largest inaugural donors with a $1 million donation, also gave $250,000 to Bush’s 2005 inaugural.
A few weeks after the contribution, Trump named Dow Chemical’s CEO as the head of the American Manufacturing Council in his administration.
Trump lauded CEO Andrew Liveris as “one of the most respected businessmen in the world,” who is keeping jobs with the Michigan-based Dow in the United States.
Livernis praised Trump in turn.
“You’re paving the way with your administration and your policies to make it easier to do business in this country,” said Liveris, a native Australian, at the event announcing his appointment to the council. “Not a red-tape country, but a red-carpet country for America’s businesses. America first!”
Several companies that helped fund Trump’s inauguration did not give money to the reelection inaugurals of Obama or Bush, including Aetna, Anthem, MetLife Group, CVS Health and Monsanto.
Walmart and UPS also gave money to support Trump’s inauguration, according to Fox News, though the amounts remain unknown.
Trump’s presidential inaugural committee reportedly raised $90 million to put on the events surrounding his swearing in on Jan. 20, dwarfing the amount raised by his predecessors.
Obama raised $53 million for his first inaugural in 2009 — and ended up with cash left over. He held 10 inaugural balls in 2009, which were all funded by donations to the presidential inaugural committee, while Trump only threw three of the galas.
Bush took in $42 million following his election to a second term in 2004, with more than $20 million coming from corporations, industry groups, investment firms and lobby shops, according to a tally of federal records by The Hill. (Prior to that, donations to presidential inaugural committees were not required.)
“I can’t imagine how [Trump’s inaugural team is] going to spend that amount of money — and why they would even keep raising money,” Steve Kerrigan, the CEO for Obama’s 2013 inaugural told The Associated Press. “We planned the two largest inaugurations in the history of our country and we never spent anywhere near that.”
The event, following Obama’s reelection in 2012, raised $43 million.
Like Trump, Obama rode a populist wave into office, pledging to change the culture in Washington. Part of that included eschewing corporate donations for his 2009 inaugural. (Obama did take corporate donations for his second swearing-in ceremony.)
Excess funds from Trump’s inaugural committee would be donated to charity, according to The Associated Press, but the committee did not respond to an inquiry from The Hill about how much money may be left over or what charities would benefit from the proceeds.