Obama Treads Path of Less Transparency, Larger Donations for Second Inauguration

Looking for big-money ball buddies


Planners of President Barack Obama's second inauguration announced last week he'd be accepting big corporate donors this time around, looking for individual donations of up to $1 million, up quite a bit from the $50,000-per-person limit placed back in 2009. But why bother with the pretense of "hope and change" any more when coverage of expanding executive power, corporate cronyism, warmongering and engaging in the same behavior as his predecessors seems to fall on deaf ears anyway? (Or maybe it hasn't, as the New York Times reports they're having trouble meeting fund-raising goals for this year's celebration)

So far, the Sunlight Foundation notes, they've wrangled in eight corporate donors, some of whom have business with the government:

United Therapeutics, the maker of an injectable drug to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, is continuing to seek approval of an oral version. The company faced a setback in October when the FDA did not approve the new drug. Its CEO vowed at the time to continue seeking approval "within the next four years."

The company does not have a political action committee but emerged as a surprising major donor to the Democratic National Convention in September, when it gave $600,000 to the effort, the fifth-biggest donor behind the likes of Bank of America and AT&T. 

To be fair, thanks to the massive federal regulatory apparatus, is there any corporation in America who doesn't have pending business with the government? Is there a corporation who would be able to donate to the Obama inauguration without an observer tying it back to some federal policy or other? But then, I recall how frequently federal regulations are fundamentally corporate protectionist regulations designed to grant them special favors and harm competitors and lose any sympathy.

The other less-than-hopeful change in the inauguration party funding that the Sunlight Foundation notes – they're declining to reveal the exact amount of each contribution as they did in 2009. They're providing a list of names of each donor who donates at least $200, but that's all. I guess that transparency award won't be put on display at the inaugural balls.