Private parties fund large part of inauguration
Events scaled back from ’09 celebration
WASHINGTON – The pomp surrounding the inauguration of the president of the United States can carry a hefty price tag, from the glitzy galas to all those inaugural balls.
Think of it this way: It can cost about the same as 150 Bentley cars, several dozen yachts or some $20 million shy of the cash needed for a Boeing 737.
But taxpayers aren’t on the hook for the fun stuff – the balls and other celebratory events – and this inauguration won’t be as big as the last one for President Barack Obama.
A solid chunk of the tab for the 57th inauguration next month will be picked up by loyal supporters and other private donors, as it has been for years. In 2009, Obama raised $53 million in private money for his inauguration, when a record 1.8 million people braved the winter chill to see him take his place in history as America’s first black president.
Previous inaugural committees have raised big cash, too, though not as much as Obama. President George W. Bush had about $40 million raised for each of his inaugurals. For President Bill Clinton, it was about $30 million in 1997.
But this time around, with the economy still sputtering out of the worst downturn since the Great Depression, Obama is scaling back the celebrations a bit.
The official activities will span three days, starting with a National Day of Service on Jan. 19 and culminating on Jan. 21 with the swearing-in, the parade and the balls. Last time, it was four days of events.
As for those inaugural balls, there won’t be as many this time. There were 10 official balls four years ago. This time, there will be three.
In 2009, a huge rock concert on the National Mall featured U2, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and many others. The planning for the 2013 inaugural doesn’t include a mall concert.
Unlike four years ago, Obama is accepting money from corporations to help pay for the festivities, and there are no limits on those donations. In 2009, the presidential inaugural committee capped individual donations at $50,000.
Security is picked up by taxpayers, but it’s harder to put a complete dollar figure on that. The Secret Service says it doesn’t discuss those costs.
For this inaugural, some public money has already been set aside.
• The Architect of the Capitol has $4.2 million to spruce up the Capitol grounds for the swearing-in ceremony.
• Nearly $2 million has been approved for U.S. Capitol Police.
• $1.2 million has been budgeted for the committee that stages the day’s activities on the Capitol grounds.
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