WASHINGTON – Donors including corporations and wealthy individuals gave $42 million to help finance President Bush's (search) inaugural festivities, a finance report filed Wednesday shows.
As with Bush's 2001 swearing-in, companies gave much of the money for galas and other celebrations around last January's inauguration (search). Federal law banned corporations from donating to Bush's re-election campaign, but they could give unlimited sums to his inaugural committee.
Dozens of businesses, interest groups and individuals gave $100,000 or more to earn recognition as inaugural sponsors and land tickets to exclusive inaugural-week events featuring Bush, first lady Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Many donors have lobbyists in Washington to pursue their interests with the Bush administration and Congress.
The range of companies giving $250,000 to serve as inaugural "underwriters" included The Home Depot, Exxon Mobil Corp., Burlington Northern & Santa Fe railroad company, FedEx Corp., Pfizer, Ford Motor Co., First Data Corp., the Wachovia Corp. financial services company and Time Warner.
The $100,000 donors included the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Waste Management Service Center, Union Pacific railroad corporation, Benson Mineral Group, SBC Communications (search), Well Care Health Plans, International Paper Co. and the Northrop Grumman Corp (search).
Bush's 2001 inaugural committee raised about $40 million for festivities that year.
The 2005 committee filed a finance report with the Federal Election Commission (search) on Wednesday.