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