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Presidential Inaugural Committee Sets $50,000 Donation Limit

The Presidential Inaugural Committee today announced that it has set a limit of $50,000 per donor as it formally launches its fundraising effort, far lower than past amounts as high as $250,000. The Committee will not accept contributions from corporations, political action committees, current federally registered lobbyists, non-U.S. citizens and registered foreign agents, it said in a statement.

The Committee, which will handle planning for the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden, also announced its co-chairs: William Daley, Penny Pritzker, John Rogers, Patrick Ryan and Julianna Smoot. Previously, Emmett Beliveau was named executive director and Josh Earnest is a spokesman.

There are about $9.74 million in taxpayer money available for the transition and inauguration, but Obama's team will need a lot more. President Bush raised $42.8 million for his inauguration ceremony in 2005, and experts have estimated that Obama will need more than that. Bush limited donations to $250,000.

"It is a distinct honor to chair the committee that will organize the celebration of next year's historic inauguration of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. We are committed to ensuring that these activities are organized in a way that reflects the American people's common values, shared aspirations and commitment to addressing our challenges as one, united nation," the Committee co-chairs said in a joint statement.

For more information on the Presidential Inaugural Committee, go to its Web site here.

(Read biographies of the co-chairs after the jump.)

William Daley is head of JPMorgan Chase's Office of Corporate Social Responsibility as well as the firm's Vice Chairman, Chairman of the Midwest and Chairman of the JP Morgan Chase foundation. He is the Chair of the Economic Club of Chicago and is on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2000. He also serves as member of the advisory board to President-elect Barack Obama's transition committee.

Penny Pritzker, a business executive and entrepreneur for more than twenty years, is chairman of the board of four companies: TransUnion, Classic Residence by Hyatt, The Parking Spot and Pritzker Realty. Ms. Pritzker also served as Finance Chair of the President-elect’s campaign committee. As a civic leader, she's focused on improving the health and education of young people through enterprising initiatives, such as Chicago Run and the Chicago Public Education Fund.

John W. Rogers Jr. is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Ariel Investments and serves on the boards of three public companies: Aon Corporation, Exelon Corporation and McDonald's Corporation. He also is a director of the Chicago Urban League, a trustee of the University of Chicago, as well as a member of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Patrick Ryan, a Republican, is chairman and chief executive of Chicago 2016 and oversees all aspects of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. He is the founding chairman of Aon Corporation. Ryan is chairman of the board of trustees of Northwestern University and serves as a life trustee of Rush University Medical Center. He is also an owner/director of the Chicago Bears Football Club.

Julianna Smoot served as President-elect Obama's national finance director during his presidential campaign. She previously worked for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Senator Thomas Daschle, and Senator John Edwards.

By David A Nakamura  |  November 25, 2008; 2:45 PM ET  | Category:  Fundraising , Presidential Inaugural Committee
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You mean to tell me I wasn't selected!!! I did a phenomenal job helping out with my family reunion and my company Christmas party, and I don't think those accomplishments should go unnoticed during this selection process!! Elitism indeed.

Posted by: forgetthis | November 25, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"The Committee will not accept contributions from corporations, political action committees, current federally registered lobbyists, non-U.S. citizens and registered foreign agents..."

Ohhhh.... what a breath of fresh air.


Yours sincerely, Daryl Atamanyk

Posted by: DarylAtamanyk | November 25, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that all the money for the festivities could be much more wisely spent. Aren't there people and companies (little ones) and projects and agencies that are desperately in need of money? I know it's just a few million, but it would feed a lot of homeless, or fund a good deal of cancer research, or send a bunch of cookies to our soldiers for xmas...

Don't get me wrong- I'm all for a big celebration. I think an Obama presidency is the best thing to happen for our country in a very long time. But if it's that easy to generate money as donations, let's use it for something that can really make a difference.

I know, I'm just a big party pooper :)

Posted by: gotalife | November 25, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama should really insist on a cupcake with a candle on top, a silly looking cone-shaped party hat and couple of noisemakers for his inauguration bash to usher in his new era of "liberal-conservative" economic policy, and donate all inauguration celebration contributions to soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Seriously though, the man deserves a great celebration, and although I did vote for McCain, the guy is growing on me. I won't start calling him names until he starts deserving it.

Posted by: EddietheInfidel | November 25, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, NO !!!

Now members of the former KGB will need to use made up names to make donations and corporate America will surely also find a way to contribute.

Asking for $5 on the internet is a far cry from a $50,000 donation cap here.

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | November 26, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Lets see here---nations economy being flushed down the tubes, people losing their jobs and homes left and right. Companies are closing, our government putting our great-great grandchildren in debt--and Obama is being conservative in accepting donations of $50,000 for his coronation?? He sang loundly and longly of "share the wealth"--how much of these limited donations is he going to spread around among those who need it???

Posted by: shep8851 | November 26, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

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