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Wall Street leads Obama’s inaugural donors list; pumps in $7.1 mn for most expensive ceremony

The Wall Street has emerged as the top donor for President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural programmes...

Written by Press Trust Of India | Washington | Published: January 19, 2009 12:28:13 am

The Wall Street has emerged as the top donor for President-elect Barack Obama’s inaugural programmes,pumping in more than seven million dollars,says a study. Obama will be assuming the office as the 44th president of the United States of America on Tuesday.

“The struggling finance,insurance and real estate sector still managed to pull together at least 7.1 million dollars in contributions for Obama’s inauguration,leading all sectors in giving,” research group Center for Responsive Politics said in a recent report. According to the study,individuals associated with Microsoft,Google and Citigroup and many more companies are among the upcoming event’s biggest contributors. As an organisation,Vikram Pandit-led Citi,which has decided to split itself into two separate businesses,has contributed 60,000 dollars,the report said.

Moreover,individuals with “Wall Street ties” have pumped in over 3.6 million dollars for the inaugural festivities. “Individuals with Wall Street ties — 118 of them — have contributed more than 3.6 million dollars,or an average of 30,534 dollars each,” the report noted.

Further,the entertainment industry has donated 1.7 million dollars,with 2,75,000 dollars coming from individuals associated with Dreamworks SKG alone. The film studio’s principals,Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg,were among the 50,000-dollar donors,along with their wives.

Meanwhile,reports suggest that Obama’s inaugural ceremony is expected to be the most expensive of all US presidents and is estimated to cost about $150 million.

The Center’s analysis was based on data downloaded from the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s website on January 13. The study pointed out that financier George Soros and his extended family contributed at least 2,50,000 dollars.

“The miscellaneous business sector,which ranges from retailers to liquor companies and advertising firms,is next,donating 4.9 million dollars,followed by 3.3 million dollars from the communications and electronics sector,which includes technology companies. “Lawyers and lobbyists have given three million dollars,” the report noted.

However,the Center pointed out that Obama is refusing contributions from registered federal lobbyists but accepts money from their family members and co-workers who are not registered. “While Americans are hoping for real change in Washington,many deep-pocketed donors are hoping money still buys them access and influence,” the Center’s Executive Director Sheila Krumholz said.

“If history is any guide,these wealthy individuals,as well as the corporations and industries they represent,may more than recoup their investment in Obama through presidential appointments,favorable legislation and government contracts,” it added.

According to the research group’s website,the committee must report its fundraising to the Federal Election Commission no later than 90 days after the inauguration on January 20.

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