- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration will “open up as much of the National Mall as possible to accommodate more Americans than ever before,” and fundraising efforts for the Jan. 20 celebration will not raise money from political action committees or lobbyists.

The newly formed Presidential Inaugural Committee for Mr. Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden announced that restriction on donations Tuesday afternoon.

The pledge to limit contributions follows the way both the campaign and the transition team raised money.

However, unlike the $2,300 campaign maximum donation or the $5,000 maximum donation for the transition, the maximum donation allowed for the inauguration will be $50,000.

The committee said current law does not restrict donation size and noted the figure is still less than past inaugurations, where limits were as high as $250,000.

In a release, the committee said the event aims to “underscore their commitment to change business as usual in Washington and ensure that as many Americans as possible, both inside and outside Washington, will be able to come together to unite the country and celebrate our common values and shared aspirations.”

The co-chairs for the event are William Daley, Penny Pritzker, John Rogers, Patrick Ryan and Julianna Smoot. Mr. Ryan is a Republican who is overseeing Chicago’s Olympics bid for 2016.

“It is a distinct honor to chair the committee that will organize the celebration of next year’s historic inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. We are committed to ensuring that these activities are organized in a way that reflects the American people’s common values, shared aspirations and commitment to addressing our challenges as one, united nation,” the co-chairs said in a joint statement.

Detailed information can be found at www.pic2009.org.

Here are the biographies for the co-chairs, as provided by the committee:

William Daley is head of JPMorgan Chase’s Office of Corporate Social Responsibility as well as the firm’s Vice Chairman, Chairman of the Midwest and Chairman of the JP Morgan Chase foundation. He is the Chair of the Economic Club of Chicago and is on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2000. He also serves as member of the advisory board to President-elect Barack Obama’s transition committee.

Penny Pritzker, a business executive and entrepreneur for more than 20 years, is chairman of the board of four companies: TransUnion, Classic Residence by Hyatt, The Parking Spot and Pritzker Realty. Ms. Pritzker also served as Finance Chair of the President-elects campaign committee. As a civic leader, she’s focused on improving the health and education of young people through enterprising initiatives, such as Chicago Run and the Chicago Public Education Fund.

John W. Rogers, Jr. is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Ariel Investments and serves on the boards of three public companies: Aon Corporation, Exelon Corporation and McDonald’s Corporation. He also is a director of the Chicago Urban League, a trustee of the University of Chicago as well as a member of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Patrick Ryan, a Republican, is chairman and chief executive of Chicago 2016 and oversees all aspects of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics. He is the founding chairman of Aon Corporation. Ryan is chairman of the board of trustees of Northwestern University and serves as a life trustee of Rush University Medical Center. He is also an owner/director of the Chicago Bears football club.

Julianna Smoot served as President-elect Obama’s national finance director during his presidential campaign. She previously worked for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Thomas Daschle, and Sen. John Edwards.

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