Vegas kingpins spur Trump's inaugural committee to fundraising record of $106.7M

Apr 20, 2017, 08:52
Vegas kingpins spur Trump's inaugural committee to fundraising record of $106.7M

In total, Trump's inaugural committee raised a record-breaking $106.7 million, which funded and organized more than 20 events to celebrate his ascension to the presidency, the Washington Post reported. That's twice the previous record set by former President Barack Obama's first inauguration, reports Bloomberg News.

Among the biggest donors for the celebration of Trump's taking office in Washington were casino-owner billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, a filing of more than 500 pages made public Wednesday by the Federal Election Commission shows.

Casino mogul Steve Wynn donated entertainers and production work valued at $729,000 for the Chairman's Ball, where the band Alabama and Wynn's ShowStoppers performed, according to Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver. Trump also received large donations from corporations such as tobacco company Reynolds American ($1 million), Quicken Loans ($750,000), Chevron ($525,000), American Financial Group ($500,000), and Citgo Petroleum ($500,000).

Money donated to the Trump inaugural committee fell into two categories, University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato said. The committee doesn't need to publicly disclose how the money was spent.

Trump chose to specially thank Adelson and his wife Miriam - staunch Republicans and major supporters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - at a luncheon honoring congressional Republicans the evening before the inauguration.

Though this report shows how much money Trump's inauguration brought in, it does not detail exactly how that money was spent.

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The celebrity businessman's inaugural involved less hoopla than others in recent years. Trump's team also shortened its parade to about 90 minutes.

Verizon, Charter Communications and Comcast contributed a combined $600,000 to the Trump inaugural committee.

"We have a long history of celebrating American heritage, including support for Mount Vernon, Ford's Theater and presidential inaugural activities", Ford said in a statement. Trump attended Myra's funeral and called Kraft once a week for a year to check in on him, Kraft said. Kerrigan said the inaugural events may have served as an opportunity for donors to try to curry favor with the incoming president.

Inaugural officials didn't immediately return requests for comment Tuesday. President George W. Bush limited gifts at $100,000 in 2001 and $250,000 in 2005.

The hefty donations will likely raise questions about Trump perceivably being beholden to his donors. For example, he pledged in January 2016 to donate millions to veterans from a highly publicized fundraiser, including $1 million of his own money. Other seven-digit donors included the owners of four National Football League teams: Bob McNair of the Houston Texans, Shahid Khan of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots, who visit the White House on Wednesday to recognize their Super Bowl victory this year.