More than 400 individuals and a handful of corporations have so far contributed $200 or more to the committee, according to the online list. The rolling disclosure goes beyond the law that requires that donations be disclosed within 90 days of the inauguration.
But the list of donors being posted online is limited. It contains only names of people and companies who contributed, and offers no information on how much each donor gave. There is also no hint at the donors’ occupations or where they’re from.
An AP review of those names, combined with government records and White House visitor logs, found more than 30 inauguration benefactors who apparently have had private meetings with Obama’s advisers, dined at state dinners or attended holiday parties with the president in attendance.
Donors to the 2013 inaugural party include Bertram Scott and Challis Lowe, two health care executives who've been to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., records show. Scott, a former president with Cigna, and Lowe, Ascension Health’s senior vice president for organizational development and human resources, attended White House receptions.
Beyond health care circles, inaugural supporters include David DesJardins, a former Google top staffer and political activist who met with deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough in March 2010. DesJardins contributed more than $100,000 in the recent election campaign to American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC supporting Obama’s a second term.
Irwin Jacobs, co-founder of tech giant Qualcomm and one of the biggest donors to Obama’s re-election effort, also is among the inauguration donors. The La Jolla, Calif., billionaire has given more than $2 million to pro-Obama super PACs and thousands more directly to Obama’s campaign and the Democrats.
An aide said Jacobs was out of the country and unavailable for comment. None of the other donors responded Tuesday to requests for comment.
Not all the donors have gotten what they wanted from Obama in his first term. For instance, AT&T has faced regulatory hurdles, including its decision to scuttle a merger with T-Mobile USA at a cost of $4 billion following opposition from the Obama administration. Microsoft donated even though Obama opposed an immigration bill that the company supported to expand visas for its workers.
The $1 million donations sought by Obama’s inaugural committee far surpass the record $250,000-range in contributions made by corporations and affluent financiers during the inaugurations of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and appear to the be the highest in the history of American presidential inaugurations, several inauguration analysts say.
The Federal Election Commission allows limitless contributions to presidential inaugurations, but recent presidents set self-imposed bars. Bush set a limit of $250,000 on inaugural contributions for his 2005 event and $100,000 for his 2001 event. Those caps did little to damp the flow from corporate contributors, as Bush reaped $42.5 million in inaugural donations in 2005 and $30 million in 2001. Despite the limits, several firms gave as much as $750,000 apiece by donating from corporate subsidiaries.
Clinton’s inaugural committee raised $23 million for his 1997 event, adding to a $9 million surplus left over from nearly $30 million in fundraising for his 1993 inauguration. In 1993, Clinton’s inaugural committee tried to sell $1 million corporate sponsorships to fund a televised gala, but didn’t get any takers, with the highest cash donations at $250,000 and a contribution of $1.5 million worth of communications equipment from Motorola. Clinton set a much tighter cap for his second inaugural, limiting contributions to $100 and selling ball tickets for a maximum of $3,000 each.
List of donors is available at http://www.2013pic.org/about/benefactors .
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