We're paying how much for the inauguration?

President Barack Obama lifts prior restrictions on contributions for this year's event.

By Bruce Kennedy Jan 21, 2013 3:13PM

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference from the White House /Larry Downing/Reuters Maybe things haven't changed too much when it comes to the funding of presidential inaugurations.


In 1809, people wanting to go to the inaugural ball of President James Madison, hosted by his wife, Dolley, had to pay $4 each.


While we the people get to pay for the inauguration itself, along with the related public festivities, the government is turning to private donors to help foot the bill for the balls.


ABC News has broken down the costs as follows.


Swearing-in ceremony: $1.24 million.

Inaugural weekend:  $49 million. That includes public events like the inaugural parade, the sound system and big-screen TVs for the crowds on the National Mall attending the event, as well as concerts and money for the Smithsonian Institution to extend its public hours. And there are the mundane costs that come with every big public event, such as security, public toilets and the after-event clean-up.

The District of Columbia, along with Maryland and Virginia, are also requesting an additional $75 million in federal funds to pay for the police, fire and other services contributed to the event.

Balls and parties: approximately $45 million.

CBS News reports President Barack Obama's first inauguration committee brought in a record $53 million in donations from private citizens. But this time around, the Administration is accepting corporate funding as well.


"We know that we're breaking ground with limitations against lobbyists and PAC money," Stephen Kerrigan, head of the inaugural committee, told CBS, "and that we are the most transparent inaugural that we've ever had."

In 2009, Obama capped individual contributions at $50,000 and refused donations from both corporations and labor unions for his first inauguration.

That's all changed this year. The cap has been lifted, and donors have been lured with invitations to special events based on contribution levels of between $75,000 and $1 million. Big donations, for example, get you into the inauguration's two balls, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Wall Street, according to Massie Ritsch with the Center for Responsive Politics research group, is well represented in the inaugural funding "despite its recent troubles." Ritsch told ABC the financial sector contributed nearly $7 million in funds for the inauguration.


Here's a partial list of corporate leaders, celebrities and VIPs who reportedly donated the maximum $50,000 per person:


Los Angeles Dodgers president Jamie McCourt

Filmmaker George Lucas

Artist Dale Chihuly

Citigroup (C) managing director Raymond J. McGuire

Oracle (ORCL) president Charles E. Phillips Jr.

Actresses Halle Berry and Sharon Stone

Simon Property Group (SPG) co-founder Melvin Simon

Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steven Ballmer. His wife Connie also donated $50,000. (Microsoft owns and publishes moneyNOW, an MSN Money site.)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda.

Billionaire George Soros and his family reportedly cumulatively contributed $250,000 to the inauguration funding.

Analysts say that a lot of those private donors are doing more than just helping the nation celebrate a new transition in the nation’s government.

"There's no better way to sidle up to somebody and exchange business cards at an inaugural event and say, 'We really need some help with this tax break or this regulatory matter,'" Bill Allison of the watchdog Sunlight Foundation told CBS. "And that kind of access gets you, you know, the ear of people who can make decisions that can help you out."

More on Money Now

Jan 21, 2013 3:57PM
Our country is on the verge of default, yet  we spend more than $125 million dollars on a party. Come on everybody, lets celebrate...Ye haw.
Jan 21, 2013 4:48PM

This is a DAMN SHAME,with VETs out in the street,some going inyo foreclosure ect.,some Seniors

scraping by on their little SS checks and can not afford their Meds.

Our National Debt out of sight.our Nations ruin is likely with these NUTS in power.

Why is a big party on 2nd term,just swear him in and GO TO HELL TO WORK,FORGET THE PARADES,PARTYS NEW RAGS FOR Mrs.Obama.JUST GET OUR NATION RUNNING IN THE


Jan 21, 2013 3:51PM
Jan 21, 2013 3:31PM
Jan 21, 2013 4:53PM
king and queen Obama - makes me want to puke
Jan 21, 2013 4:51PM
that is the stupid way to spend money it should not cost a dime no wonder we are in a depression because were run by idiots
Jan 21, 2013 5:05PM

What are we celebrating? The contiued demise of the once great country of America.

We have people with no morals running our country, they dont care about the worker, he/she is a pawn in the game of getting myself/freinds and family wealthy and into the club.


One thing that everyone should relaize is that the buyers of our debt are buying based on how much can and will the american taxpayer pay, they are not loaning money to Obama, Pelosi or Boehner they are loaning the money to the taxpayers of America. If the taxpayers stop earning they start paying less, the 50,000 income folks are not covering the payments its the 200+ group that pays, as this group shrinks(and it will) so will the willingness of buyers of the American debt.

We are not on a path of if it is only a question of when.


Wall Street  "gave" 7 million to Obama, oh im sorry to the inaguration, I did not realize that wall street was in the business of giving money to any one, they invest money so I think it is correct to say they invested 7 million in the Obama inaguration. I wonder what the multiple return will be for this investment. I am sure that it will be the best 7 million that wall street  invests this year!


It is very sad to see what is happenning to America, a lot of good people are suffering because of the politicians buying of votes with taxpayer dollars. Reallocation has never worked and will fail this time also.



Jan 21, 2013 5:05PM

Most of you are right this moron spends this kind of money while this country goes down the drain.

I know the under and uneducated want him in there so they can let the rich pay for all their stuff.

Jan 21, 2013 4:50PM
He just doesn't get it does he?  Well at least we're half way through his term.  Hump Day and national squirrel day.
Jan 21, 2013 4:53PM

Hush now!  It takes a lot of partyin' to get up the gumption to save the middle class.



Jan 21, 2013 5:23PM
The money could be better spent on lie detectors for congress and the administration.
Jan 21, 2013 5:07PM
it costs a lot of money to continue with our WOULD BE DICTATOR
Jan 21, 2013 5:44PM

One set of rules for "THEM" and another set of rules for us. Yeah, it's time for a Revolution!!!


Jan 21, 2013 5:28PM
Really?  Our over inflated goverment spending this much on a party for all the over inflated government officials?  None of them suggested we save these millions of dollars to help our economy?  And we need to ask what is wrong with our government?
Jan 21, 2013 4:40PM
Obama lets us eat cake----how noble.
Jan 21, 2013 3:59PM
Who determines what is best.  MSN probably does.
Jan 21, 2013 3:36PM
Now I know why N Koreans print Super Bills.
Jan 21, 2013 4:57PM
Now I remember why I hate the Dodgers.
Jan 21, 2013 3:50PM


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