WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Large U.S. companies and their executives helped President Donald Trump raise a record-setting $106.7 million for inauguration festivities in January, according to a U.S. government filing released on Wednesday.
That tally more than doubled the prior 2009 record of $53.2 million for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, which had topped the previous 2005 record of $42.3 million for President George W. Bush, government records showed.
The biggest donor by far to Trump's inauguration was Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate and founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp LVS.N. He gave $5 million, according to the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee's filing with the Federal Election Commission. Adelson declined comment.
Many of the companies that donated to Trump, a Republican, have significant matters pending before the U.S. government or have been invited to White House events.
Many of the companies which made donations to the 2017 event also donated to Obama’s prior inauguration.
Boeing had donated $1 million to the 2013 Obama inauguration, according to the OpenSecrets website run by the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog.
Money donated to the Trump inaugural committee falls into two categories, said Larry Sabato, political analyst at the University of Virginia.
“It’s either make-up money or it’s a continuation of support by people who are invested in Trump. You don’t give this kind of money to get a few tickets to inaugural balls,” he said.
Trump publicly criticized both Boeing and Lockheed Martin before his inauguration. In Twitter messages he said costs on Boeing’s new Air Force One plane were “out of control” and urged the federal government to “Cancel order!”
Trump in December sent a Twitter message saying the cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jet was also “out of control.”
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that inaugurations have “pretty much been a nonpartisan activity ... This is a time-honored tradition, and I think a lot of Americans and companies and entities are proud to support the inaugural.”
Financial services companies and executives were among the $1-million donors to Trump's big festivities, including Charles Schwab Corp SCHW.N, Bank of America Corp BAC.N, financier Henry Kravis and Cantor Fitzgerald Chairman Howard Lutnick. Their industry is eager for Trump to roll back regulatory reforms put in place after the 2008 financial crisis.
Coal and oil companies were also prominent donors. Clifford Forrest, owner of the Rosebud Mining Co, gave $1 million.
AT&T T.N gave nearly $2.1 million in cash and services. It is seeking approval from the Trump administration to acquire Time Warner Inc TWX.N. AT&T donated $4.6 million to the 2013 Obama inauguration, according to OpenSecrets.
“For many years, AT&T has contributed to our nation’s presidential inaugural celebrations,” said AT&T spokesman Mike Balmoris.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Kravis declined comment. Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Forrest and Lutnick did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Additional reporting by Mike Stone, Lisa Lambert and Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Bill Rigby
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