Ed Pilkington, Guardian, UK - When Barack Obama became president, in 2009, he kept his promise to shake up Washington by imposing a $50,000 cap on all donations to his inaugural fund, declining any financial gifts from corporations or trade unions and releasing full details of all the individuals who had contributed.What a lot has changed in four years. As Obama prepares to revel in his second inauguration, on Monday, there is no ceiling on what an individual can give, corporations and lobby groups are very welcome and the presidential inaugural committee has been going on a fundraising binge as though there was no tomorrow.
.. Take the web page that the presidential
inaugural committee posted a few months ago, called "Help America
celebrate". It invites individuals to become a "Washington premium
partner". As part of the package the donor – billed as an "institution" –
is offered 16 tickets to various official events, including four to the
inaugural ball. The price tag: $1m.
For $500,000 an institution
can opt for the John Adams package, which comes with eight tickets. The
most expensive package for an individual donor – as opposed to corporate
– is $250,000.
Not only is Obama inviting such huge sums from
individuals and corporations alike, he has also refused to disclose
details on the sums given by donors and has only belatedly agreed to
release their names.