- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama’s prolific fundraising carried on through Inauguration Day: His inaugural committee raised at least $53 million from donors for his swearing-in festivities.

That’s about $11 million more than President George W. Bush raised for each of his two Inauguration Days.

Obama’s inaugural committee filed a report Monday with the Federal Election Commission listing donors who gave $200 or more. The FEC requires inaugural committees to identify those contributors, but doesn’t make them detail other fundraising or their spending.

Obama had already voluntarily disclosed his biggest donors on the inaugural committee’s Web site. The committee accepted donations of up to $50,000 from individuals.

The top givers included several Hollywood celebrities. Among them: actors Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, Sharon Stone and Samuel L. Jackson and directors Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ron Howard and Robert Zemeckis.

Some top names in the high-tech industry also gave big. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda and Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie donated $50,000 apiece. Google chief Eric Schmidt contributed $25,000.

Those who gave $50,000 had special access to inaugural events such as candlelight dinners with Obama and his wife Michelle and members of Congress, and tickets to a ball, the swearing-in and the inaugural parade.

In addition to donations, the inaugural committee raised money from the sale of souvenirs. It sold dozens of items emblazoned with Obama’s name and image to help cover costs that included giant screens and portable toilets on the National Mall and the expense of 10 official balls.

Obama shattered fundraising records in the presidential race, pulling in $745 million.


On the Net:

Federal Election Commission: https://www.fec.gov/

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