Documents released this week by President Donald Trump’s inaugural organizers provide a glimpse of the big-dollar frenzy of influence-seeking and peacemaking surrounding Trump’s swearing-in, which raised $107 million, twice as much money as any other inauguration.
The casino magnate and philanthropist Sheldon Adelson wants some big things from the Trump administration: banning the online poker sites that compete with his luxury casinos, for example, and moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
And while President Donald Trump was not Adelson’s first choice during the Republican primary season last year, he has been generous since: The billionaire donated $5 million to the committee organizing Trump’s inauguration festivities — the largest single contribution given to any president’s inaugural committee.
Some of the country’s wealthiest Republicans and its largest corporations had similar impulses. Documents released this week by Trump’s inaugural organizers provide a glimpse of the big-dollar frenzy of influence-seeking and peacemaking surrounding Trump’s swearing-in, which raised $107 million, twice as much money as any other inauguration.
The stream of money is a striking contrast to the way Trump funded his campaign, chiefly with small donations and his own fortune. While some big checks for the inauguration came from longtime Trump friends and associates, much of the money came from the industries that have traditionally excelled at wielding Washington influence: telecommunications, tobacco and pharmaceutical giants, which have bankrolled presidential inaugurations for Republicans and Democrats alike. And a generous amount came from people who had been hostile to his candidacy.
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If the crowds at Trump’s swearing-in celebrations were relatively small, the checks paying for all the nonofficial festivities were not: Freed of many of the voluntary restrictions adopted by Trump’s predecessors, 48 people or corporations gave $1 million or more, according to the disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission. Besides Adelson, they included a trust controlled by the coal industry billionaire Joseph Craft III; the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco; and Robert Mercer, the billionaire investor and close ally of Stephen Bannon, a White House adviser.
The donor rolls also included a host of blue-chip American companies, like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Intel, Google and Bank of America, which contribute significant sums regardless of the incoming president’s political party.
Many of the companies and donors have major interests at stake in Washington in the coming months. At least $10 million — about one out of every $10 raised — came from coal, oil, and gas companies or their executives. They are the chief beneficiaries of Trump’s aggressive efforts to weaken federal rules aimed at limiting pollution in…