Trump inaugural attracts record $107 million in donations

Trump's team shortened its parade to about 90 minutes.

Powered by billionaires and corporations, President Donald Trump raised US$107 million for his inaugural festivities, documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show, and almost double the record set by President Barack Obama eight years before. The previous record was held by President Barack Obama, who raised US$53 million for his 2009 inauguration.

Aetna Inc. and The Travelers Co. each contributed $100,000 in December, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Money donated to the Trump inaugural committee falls into two categories, said Larry Sabato, political analyst at the University of Virginia.

The committee doesn't need to publicly disclose how the money was spent.

The slimmed-down affair, which inaugural chairman Tom Barrack said aimed to capture the "soft sensuality" of Washington, raises questions about whether Trump spent the entire sum.

But despite the impressive dollar figure, Trump's festivities memorably attracted modest crowds, prompting an awkward inception for the White House as it disputed photographic evidence showing that Trump's crowd was far smaller than the one attending Obama's first inauguration. Adelson's contribution accounted for almost 5% of the record $107m the inauguration fund collected from wealthy donors.

Billionaire investor Paul Singer, for example, gave US$1 million after long expressing skepticism about Trump.

Trump placed no restrictions on the amount of money that donors could give.

The donations earned contributors exclusive access during inauguration weekend to Trump, his family, top administration officials and exclusive events conducted on January 20 and January 21 in Washington, D.C.
Their release promised more details about charitable giving at a later date, "when the organization's books are fully closed".

Boeing had donated $1 million to the 2013 Obama inauguration, according to the OpenSecrets website run by the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog. Trump has promised to roll back the regulations created to address the financial industry practices that helped lead to the Great Recession under President George W. Bush.

Obama accepted gifts only up to US$50,000 in 2009, while banning gifts from lobbyists and corporations altogether.

In the past, questions have been raised about Trump's follow-through on his commitments to make charitable donations.

For Trump, the fast pace of fundraising appears to have continued past Inauguration Day. "You don't give this kind of money to get a few tickets to inaugural balls", he said.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that Exxon has asked the U.S. Treasury Department to give the company a waiver from U.S. sanctions against Russia to allow the company to resume drilling operations with the Russian-owned oil company, Rosneft.

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