Obama considers corporate funding for 2013 inauguration

Published November 23, 2012

| The Wall Street Journal

President Barack Obama's fundraising advisers have urged the White House to accept corporate donations for his January 2013 inaugural celebration rather than rely exclusively on weary donors who underwrote his $1 billion re-election effort.

People involved in his re-election campaign said White House staff and campaign advisers have been debating whether to accept corporate money to stage the events but haven't made a final decision.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies is responsible for the official swearing-in. Taxpayers pick up the tab for security and the costs connected to the ceremony on the west front of the Capitol, while Obama supporters cover various inaugural balls, concerts and parties.

The White House wouldn't release the cost of the ceremony or what the fundraising target is.

Four years ago Mr. Obama barred corporations from donating to his inauguration, a gesture meant to show that well-heeled interests wouldn't have undue influence in his administration. For the 2009 events he raised more than $50 million from other donors to help cover the costs of celebrations.

But the climate is different now. The economy is still struggling, and the president's campaign donors are drained from a long election season in which they were also asked to help fund the Democratic convention in Charlotte and congressional races.

Obama fundraisers and campaign advisers cite various reasons for accepting corporate money this time around. Dropping the ban on corporate contributions would ease the task of raising the tens of millions of dollars needed to pay for celebratory events that have become a fixture of presidential inaugurations.

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