20 Apr 2017

US reveals Trump inauguration donors

3:06 pm on 20 April 2017

Donations from large US companies and their executives helped propel spending on Donald Trump's Presidential inauguration to a record-setting $US106.7 million, according to a US government filing.

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US President Donald Trump was inaugurated on 20 January. Photo: AFP

That tally more than doubled the prior 2009 record of $53.2 million for President Barack Obama's first inauguration, which had topped the previous 2005 record of $42.3 million for President George W Bush, government records showed.

The biggest donor by far to Mr Trump's inauguration was Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate and founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp. He gave $5 million, according to the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee's filing with the Federal Election Commission. Mr Adelson declined to comment.

Many of the companies that donated to Mr Trump, a Republican, have significant matters pending before the US government or have been invited to White House events.

Many of the companies which made donations to the 2017 event also donated to Mr Obama's prior inauguration.

For example, aerospace and defense groups Boeing and Lockheed Martin each donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration fund, the filing said.

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.

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

"It's either make-up money or it's a continuation of support by people who are invested in Trump. You don't give this kind of money to get a few tickets to inaugural balls," he said.

Mr Trump publicly criticized both Boeing and Lockheed Martin before his inauguration. In Twitter messages he said costs on Boeing's new Air Force One plane were "out of control" and urged the federal government to "Cancel order!"

Mr Trump in December sent a Twitter message saying the cost of Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet was also "out of control."

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Wednesday inaugurations had "pretty much been a nonpartisan activity ... this is a time-honored tradition, and I think a lot of Americans and companies and entities are proud to support the inaugural."

Financial services companies and executives, who are eager for Mr Trump to roll back the 2008 regulatory reforms, were among the $1m donors to Mr Trump's big festivities, including Charles Schwab Corp, Bank of America, financier Henry Kravis and Cantor Fitzgerald chairman Howard Lutnick.

Coal and oil companies were also prominent donors. Clifford Forrest, owner of the Rosebud Mining, gave $1m.

AT&T gave nearly $2.1m in cash and services. It is seeking approval from the Trump administration to acquire Time Warner. AT&T donated $4.6m to the 2013 Obama inauguration, according to OpenSecrets.

"For many years, AT&T has contributed to our nation's presidential inaugural celebrations," said AT&T spokesman Mike Balmoris.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Kravis declined comment. Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Forrest and Lutnick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

- Reuters

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