Obama's Inaugural Committee Plots the Celebration
Barack Obama's newly formed inaugural committee promised today it will not raise money from corporations, political action committees or currently registered lobbyists for the historic celebrations on Jan. 20 that will mark the dawning of the Obama administration.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee is boasting a bipartisan roster of co-chairs with deep Chicago roots. In addition to Democrats William Daley, Penny Pritzker, John Rogers and Julianna Smoot, the committee also will be led by Patrick Ryan, a Republican who owns the Chicago Bears Football Club and is leading Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics.
"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 co-chairs said in a joint statement.
Obama's inaugural committee appears to have even tougher restrictions on fundraising for the balls, concerts and other events surrounding the inauguration than his presidential campaign imposed. Besides prohibiting donations from corporations, as well as from PACs and lobbyists, the committee announced it will not accept money from non-U.S. citizens or registered foreign agents.
Furthermore, the PIC said, it will not accept individual contributions in excess of $50,000. (And as Obama's inaugural committee announcement points out, in past inaugurations, contribution limits have run as high as $250,000.)
About the Democratic co-chairs:
• Daley, the former Commerce secretary under President Clinton and an Obama team insider, is head of JPMorgan Chase's Office of Corporate Social Responsibility and the firm's vice chairman.
• Rogers is a close friend of the president-elect. He is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Ariel Investments and serves on the boards of Aon Corporation, Exelon Corporation and McDonald's Corporation. (Rogers' ex-wife, Desirée Rogers, will become the first ever African American White House social secretary.)
• Pritzker, a Chicagoan like Daley and Rogers, serves on the boards of TransUnion, Classic Residence by Hyatt, The Parking Spot and Pritzker Realty. She chaired the Obama campaign's record-busting national finance operation.
• Smoot served as Obama's national finance director during his presidential campaign.
The committee also announced a new Web site, which officials say will have updated information for the public on inaugural happenings.
No word yet on how many official inaugural balls there will be or what entertainment has been lined up. But the biggest of big names (hello, Bruce Springsteen) are being mentioned.
Mary Ann Akers
November 25, 2008; 12:34 PM ET
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