Trump's inaugural committee reports record-shattering fundraising of $107 million


Contributions from billionaires - including Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan - and corporations pushed President Donald Trump's inaugural committee to a new fundraising benchmark of $106.7 million, roughly twice the previous record set by former President Barack Obama's first inauguration.

Disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday showed the contributions from corporate executives, lobbyists and businesses, as well as small donors, totalled US$107 million (S$149.6 million). Wynn donated $729,217 through his Wynn Resorts.

Trump's committee has said that any leftover money from this year's inauguration will be given to charity, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Trump struggled to raise large sums of money for much of the campaign, though the report shows a large number of traditional donors and companies in recent months making amends by funding his inauguration. Trump's headliners included teen singer Jackie Evancho, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Radio City Rockettes. Kerrigan said the inaugural events may have served as an opportunity for donors who held back during the presidential campaign to try to curry favor by showing support for the incoming president.

After staying on the sidelines for much of the 2016 Republican primary, Adelson has embraced the new president and enjoyed a private White House dinner with him in February.

Brendan Fischer of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit pro-transparency group, countered: "If you take Trump at his word that when political figures accept large amounts of money from corporate interests or special interests that they're indebted to those big donors, there's certainly reason to question what donors to Trump's inaugural committee might expect in return". Obama limited contributions to $50,000 in 2009 but lifted that cap four years later.

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Other donors include some people who were once critical of Trump but may now seek a better relationship with the White House, including NY fundraiser Paul Singer, who once predicted Trump would trigger a global recession but gave him $1 million in early December.

The donations earned contributors exclusive access during inauguration weekend to Trump, his family, top administration officials and exclusive events conducted on January 20 and January 21 in Washington, D.C.

After raising about US$55 million in 2009, Obama used excess funds to help pay for the White House Easter egg roll and other events.

Trump's committee raised a record $106.7 million from private sources to fund six days of events surrounding his January 20 swearing-in. He promised to give any extra money to charity.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by Adelson, became the first major newspaper to endorse Trump for president in 2016. Investor and casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson spent $5 million.