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Corporations and lobbyists are some of the biggest sponsors of the unofficial inaugurals, USA Today notes, in what could be viewed as an end run around post-Abramoff ethics rules.
"These are lobbyist-sponsored soirees to have a great time and schmooze with members of Congress and congressional staff," said Craig Holman of Public Citizen. He said many of the events are "inherently unfair" because they aren't public. ...
Textbook publishers and educational-software providers, for instance, are helping to pay for a ball honoring Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the education committee.
The official inaugural balls aren't taking donations from lobbyists, but the Cincinnati Enquirer finds they're getting a lot of money from at least one big Clinton-backer.
In other inauguration news, Team Obama announced the president-elect's ball lineup for Jan. 20. The Green Ball didn't make the cut, but that might be for the best, as some garments by their "recycled couture" fashion show designer might concern the Secret Service.
Hopefully that ensemble will be left in the closet, because D.C. hospitals probably won't have time to give out many tetanus shots, MSNBC reports. More than double the normal amount of patients are expected during the four days of inaugural celebrations. The Red Cross is similarly concerned and plans to bring in 60,000 extra units of blood and set up as many as 52 aid stations, staffed by up to 500 volunteers.
Back on the green theme, there is a very excited paper mill in Wisconsin today -- Neenah Paper Whiting Mill to provide what the company describes as the "greenest premium paper in the world" for inauguration invitations.
Many staffers from Republican offices on the Hill will be taking in or helping with the inauguration, Politico reports:
Although they haven’t officially started working, the staffs for several incoming members already have their Inauguration Day schedules planned. Staffers for Representative-elect Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) will join other Illinois staffers in handing out tickets at the Capitol Hill Club. Staffers for Representative-elect Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) will keep his office open to provide assistance and directions for Mississippians or anyone else who might need some help.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) will up the entertainment ante by having staffers hand out hot chocolate and coffee. “The folks from South Georgia aren’t used to the cold,” explains Kingston’s communications director, Chris Crawford.
Finally, following the inauguration committee's annoucement of Obama's choice of transportation mode and swearing-in material, Media General Washington correspondent Sean Mussenden asks: How Lincolny is too Lincolny?
Christopher Dean Hopkins
December 24, 2008; 1:55 PM ET
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