Huge in­deed: $107M in dona­tions for Trump’s in­au­gu­ral

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - PAGE TWO - By JULIE BYKOWICZ and NANCY BENAC

WASH­ING­TON — It was huge. Big money from bil­lion­aires, cor­po­ra­tions and a ros­ter of NFL own­ers poured into Don­ald Trump’s in­au­gu­ral com­mit­tee in record-shat­ter­ing amounts — to pull off an event that was con­sid­er­ably lower-key than pre­vi­ous in­au­gu­ral cel­e­bra­tions.

That leaves a bit of a mys­tery: What the $107 mil­lion was spent for and how much was left — the ex­cess, if any, to go to char­ity. It also raises a new round of ques­tions about the in­flu­ence of money in pol­i­tics, this time for a pres­i­dent who promised to “drain the swamp” of Wash­ing­ton.

Con­tri­bu­tion records from Trump’s in­au­gu­ral com­mit­tee were re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

Trump’s to­tal take was about dou­ble the pre­vi­ous record set by Barack Obama, who col­lected $53 mil­lion in con­tri­bu­tions in 2009, and had money left to spend on the an­nual Easter egg roll and other White House events.

Trump’s top in­au­gu­ral donor was Las Ve­gas gam­bling bil­lion­aire Shel­don Adel­son, who gave $5 mil­lion. He and his wife came away with prime seats for Trump’s swear­ing-in cer­e­mony and gained ac­cess to a pri­vate lunch with the new pres­i­dent and law­mak­ers at the Capi­tol. Phil Ruf­fin, an­other casino mogul and close friend of Trump, was among dozens of donors who gave $1 mil­lion each.

At least eight NFL team own­ers kicked in big money for the in­au­gu­ra­tion. Seven, in­clud­ing Pa­tri­ots owner Bob Kraft, whose team won the Su­per Bowl and vis­ited the White House on Wed­nes­day, gave $1 mil­lion each. Kraft’s do­na­tion came via his lim­ited li­a­bil­ity com­pany.

Trump plans to name the New York Jets’ Woody John­son, one of those mil­lion-dol­lar donors, to be the coun­try’s am­bas­sador to the United King­dom.

TRUMP

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