Obama transition team on track to meet money goal

President-elect Barack Obama walks down a hallway in the Capitol Building following a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Vice President-elect Joe Biden, January 5, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donors have contributed at least $3.8 million to help pay for U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s transition to power, according to figures released on Monday that show him on track to meet his fundraising goal before taking office on January 20.

Obama raised a record-shattering $639 million during the presidential campaign that ended with his historic election as the first black U.S. president on November 4.

The fundraising calls kept coming as the transition team set a budget of $12 million to cover costs such as salaries and rent up to the inauguration. Taxpayers will contribute $5.2 million and the rest must be covered by donors who can each give up to $5,000.

As of December 15, some 54,000 donors had helped the transition team raise more than half of its $6.8 million goal.

Among the 218 donors who gave the maximum amount were Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman, Choice Hotels chairman Stewart Bainum and Gary Hirshberg, CEO of organic yogurt makers Stonyfield Farm.

Most donors gave far less -- an average of $70.62, according to the transition team.

The transition team has pledged to release the names of donors on a monthly basis to establish transparency. It is also refusing contributions from registered lobbyists, corporations, labor unions and other groups.

Separately, backers of the incoming Democratic president are now raising money to pay for inauguration festivities. Outgoing Republican President George W. Bush raised more than $40 million for his inauguration in 2005.

Unlike campaign contributions, inauguration contributions are not limited by law. Bush set a limit of $250,000 for individuals to pay for his second inauguration. Obama has set a $50,000 limit for donors to his inauguration.

Editing by Frances Kerry