Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Trump Inauguration - Buying Access to the Oval Office

As Donald Trump and his team prepare for Friday's inauguration, the mainstream media reports that there are some issues finding performers willing to "bare their souls" at the inauguration of what is turning out to be one of the more controversial presidents in recent memory.  With or without a slate of "A list" celebrities, the inaugural events are going ahead and you can be part of the "inside action"....for a price, of course.

A brochure obtained by the Center for Public Integrity provides the sweaty masses and the wealthiest among us a glimpse of what can be had for donating to the 58th Presidential Inauguration.  There are five "underwriter" levels, starting at $25,000 and going all the way up to $1 million or more.  With each level, the perquisites vary, obviously getting better and better the more that donors are willing to fork over.

Here's what donors of $25,000 will receive:

Here's what donors of $100,000 will receive:

Here's what donors of $250,000 will receive:

Here's what donors of $500,000 will receive:

And, last but not least, here's what donors of $1,000,000 will receive:

You will notice that once you reach the $100,000 level, the perks really improve; at that level, you get an "intimate policy discussion and dinner with select Cabinet appointees", below that donation level, you're just another face in a big crowd.  When you donate $250,000, you get a candlelight dinner with appearances by the Trumps and Pences as well as a ladies luncheon where you can meet both Melania Trump and Karen Pence.  When you donate $500,000, you get an intimate dinner with the Vice President and his wife and at the $1,000,000 mark, you get four tickets to a Leadership Luncheon; an "exclusive event with select Cabinet appointees and House and Senate leadership".  Just imagine, a lunch with Mitch McConnell in attendance (I presume)!

All of the funds raised go into a non-profit that is set up for the specific purpose of ushering Donald Trump into the Oval Office.  We will eventually know who the donors are but not until after the inauguration takes place.

To give us a sense of who buys into inaugurations, here is a graphic from Open Secrets showing which industries donated to Barack Obama's 2013 Inauguration and how much they donated:

Here is a list of donors who donated more than $150,000 to the 2013 inauguration:

There are an additional 39 donors who ponied up $100,000 or more  

Obviously, no one (corporate or individual) is going to donate $25,000 or more to the incoming Trump Administration unless they are expecting something in return.  That's just the way that things work.  Tickets to private luncheons, receptions, balls, dinners and concerts simply aren't enough to justify spending the amount of money that well-heeled Americans are willing to spend on the Trump (or any other) Inauguration.  This is just another scheme that allows certain Americans to buy access to the Oval Office.

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